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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 668 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Having been provided with three guides-soldiers, born in the immediate neighborhood, who knew thoroughly all the roads-I put my troops in motion, right in front, to march on the Quaker road, which was nearly parallel to that on which Jackson marched, with a view of forming a line of battle to the left, and thus occupying that road, and thus resting my left on Jackson's right. General Longstreet having expressed some doubt as to the road in question being the Quaker road I examined the guides separately, and was satisfied that they were right. I informed him that if he would give me an order to move by any other road I would obey it with pleasure. This be declined to do. I therefore marched, as originally ordered, about 1 1/2 miles on this road. General Longstreet, who had now overtaken me, expressed again his convictions that this could not be the Quaker road, and desired that I should return to another road parallel to this, but nearer to Jackson's right. An order to the same effect having been communicated by a staff officer of General Lee about this time, I marched in the new direction. It turned out, however, in point of fact, that the road to and along which I had been marching, following the guides, was and is the Quaker road, the only one universally known as such by the people in that country. (See the affidavits of the three guides and of Mr. Binford, inclosure Numbers 4.)

General Lee then directed me to place my troops on the right of Huger's, who in the mean time had formed on the right of Jackson. This I did as far as the ground would permit, placing my three divisions en echelon to the right and rear.

I had scarcely made these arrangements when I received an order from General Longstreet to support General Armistead on his right. Barksdale's brigade being already to his right and rear, I ordered Cobb's to his immediate support, preceded by the Sixteenth Georgia Regiment, armed with Enfield rifles, which he placed still farther to his right flank as skirmishers to protect it, while the infantry of Cobb's Legion was posted to protect the artillery.

The enemy had for some time previous opened a heavy cannonade on the positions occupied by my troops, from the effects of which a caisson exploded and we were in danger of losing our men. Having proceeded to the front in advance of Cobb's brigade, I reconnoitered the enemy's position in company with Lieutenant Phillips and Colonel Edmonds, sent by General Armistead. From two points in the open field the enemy could be well seen. I found a part of General Armistead's brigade lying in order of battle under the brow of a hill covered by wood, through which a road passed parallel to the edge of a field occupied by the enemy. The woods through which my troops had to pass to reach this road was very dense and the ground very difficult. I immediately selected this road as the best position to form troops designed to operate against the enemy, while the hill and wood in front afforded a strong position for a permanent line of battle. In this reconnaissance I found the enemy to be strongly posted on the crest of a hill, commanding an undulating field between us, which fell off to our right into a plain or meadow, a portion of the latter bordering on the Quaker road, from which I had just returned.

The enemy having reached these heights and placed himself in communication with his gunboats on the river, I was satisfied from the position of his lines, and from the cheering which had taken place when his troops were thus reassembled, that the whole army of McClellan was in our front. His batteries of artillery were numerous and were collected into two large bodies, strongly supported by infantry, and


Page 668 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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