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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 769 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

position of the enemy's forces. Soon after Captain Dearing's battery came into position directly in front of us, and opened fire with such destructive effect that one of the enemy's batteries was soon forced to retire to another position, leaving, as it afterward appeared, a limber upon the field. We were then exposed to a most furious cannonade for an hour or more, sustaining, however, but little damage.

About 5 o'clock Colonel Hunton gave the other to charge, to which the respective regiments responded with alacrity; but after proceeding across an open field, exposed to grape to grape and shell, we entered a skirt of woods, where we were halted and then ordered to march by the right flank, which was done until the brigade had crossed to the right of the Darbyntown road, when we changed direction to the front, but over such broken ground and through an almost impassable marsh, as well as encountering a brigade in full retreat, which forced its way through our ranks, that the command was thrown into confusion. After passing through the marsh the line was again formed, but before starting forward a column of the enemy posted in the woods on our right flank opened fire upon us, while the batteries threw a shower of grape into us through the open field in front, to avoid which and gain cover we marched by the left flank-by order of Colonel Strange, who at this point took command by request of General Pickett's aide, as Colonel Hunton had become separated from the command, not being able to keep up on account of exhaustion, proceeding from his enfeebled condition-to a point of woods which afforded shelter to within a few hundred yards of the enemy's batteries. I then ordered the brigade forward in line of battle under cover of this wood, and on emerging from it discovered a large force approaching one of the batteries, which seemed deserted. Thinking our forces were in the woods in front engaging the enemy, as there was hot firing there, I assumed that those in their rear were friends, until convinced to the contrary by the open, honest display of the old flag, whereupon I ordered a fire, and a charge drove them from the battery back to their line in the woods beyond. I regret, though, that in this fire we had to kill nearly all the fine horses attached to the battery.

Upon capturing this battery, Adjutant McCulloch, of the Eighteenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, asked my permission to turn the guns on the retreating enemy; but being satisfied that we had friends in front, and not knowing the exact position, I prohibited it, for fear of doing more damage to our own troops than to the enemy. I gave permission afterward, just before dark, to turn the guns upon the foe, which was done, and a continuous fire kept up until about 8.30 p.m., when night closed the conflict.

Among those whose names deserve special mention for courage and daring I find commended by their commanders Adjt. R. McCulloch, lieutenant Company B, and Ex-Lieutenant Richard Ferguson, volunteer, Eighteenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers; Private John Lightner, Company B; Privates --- Bowyer, N. W. Herndon, and William Campbell, Company F, Nineteenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers; Lieutenant J. W. Jones, Company B, and Private Rozall Lockett, Company G, Fifty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

I would also bring to your notice the name of Captain Charles Pickett, assistant adjutant-general, who acted with the most conspicuous gallantry, carrying a flag my side at the head of the brigade on foot (having lost his horse), and urging forward, all the time forward, until shot down seriously wounded, and then begging those who went to bear

49 R R-VOL XI, PT II


Page 769 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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