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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 671 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

devoted officer General Ransom led his brigade forward, having obtained the requisite authority, and gave further support to the left of our line, while General Jones, having overcome the grant difficulties of the ground over which he had to pass, gallantly supported the troops on our right with Colonel Anderson's brigade, of his division, the other, General Toombs' brigade, having obliqued to the left, where it was formed in the road, and lent its support to some of the reserve troops which were brought into action.

Toward the close of the action I received another order from Colonel Chilton to "press the enemy on my right," stating that General McLaws' division "had gone in fresh." (See inclosure Numbers 8.) That division not having reached the wood bordering on the open field in advance, I dispatched Major [W.] Hyllested, of the Zouave Battalion, acting temporarily on my staff, to hasten it forward, and bring up two batteries of artillery, which I desired to have on hand for anything that might occur. Not being able to find the commander of the division, General McLaws, and it being near dusk, Major Hyllested gave the orders directly to the commanders of brigades. These brigades were in line of battle at Mrs. Carter's house, with an interval of about 100 yards between them for the passage of artillery. These commanders, Kershaw and Semmes, with the gallantry and promptness which have characterized them on every occasion, advanced with their brigades at once, General Semmes to the right and General Kershaw to the left, increasing their interval as they passed through the dense woods which intervened between them and the enemy's position, and going into action on the right and left of the position occupied by myself. Their engagement with the enemy was not known to me until 8.30 o'clock, at which time Major Hyllested, who had gone still farther to the rear for artillery, reported to me their advance to the front. These gallant leaders engaged the enemy with vigor and devotion, and, though the batteries were not carried, contributed much to the rout, panic, and demoralization which marked the enemy's escape from the battle-field at an early hour of the night.

Previous to the arrival of General McLaws' division I had sent for re-enforcements, having determined to retain the ground we had gained in front if possible and to hold the strong position of the wood and ravine at all hazards to guard against any reserve. Troops were sent me from General A. P. Hill's command, and two brigades kept at hand to be used in case of necessity. I regret that I have been unable as yet to procure the reports of their commanders.

Darkness had now set in and I thought of withdrawing the troops, but, as we had gained many advantages, I concluded to let the battle subside and to occupy the field, which was done to within 100 yards of the enemy's guns. Pickets were accordingly established by Brigadier-Generals Mahone and Wright, whose brigades slept on the battle-field in the advanced positions they had won. Armistead's brigade and a portion of Ransom's also occupied the battle-field.

The enemy retreated precipitately during the night from this strong place, which he intended to occupy and which he had commenced to fortify, having reached his gunboats, the latter taking part in the battle. He left on the battle-field his dead and wounded, spiked and abandoned two pieces of artillery, leaving caissons, ambulances, wagons, and large quantities of medical, commissary, and ordnance stores in our hands. He threw into the ravines a large amount of ammunition and strewed the roads with thousands of muskets, cartridge boxes, &c., in his flight down the river. (See inclosure Numbers 9.) He was forced to retire a


Page 671 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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