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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 772 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

leading through a heavy pine forest, in which it was again supposed the enemy would be found.

Having cleared this forest, we arrived at the house of Dr. Gaines. Beyond this house as we approached it was an open field of at least a mile in extent and terminating by a heavy forest and marshy ground bordering the Chickahominy. On commanding heights beyond the Chickahominy we saw what we supposed to be both our own and the camp of the enemy. Slightly to the left of Dr. Gaines' house the field was bounded by a small growth of trees and the field again extended to the left, leaving a thin belt of timber to the right and fringing the banks of a small stream; the ground falling rapidly to this stream after ascending gradually for 100 or 200 yards, as it was approached from the Gaines house, and after crossing this little stream the ground rose quite steep nad was covered with a belt of timber more than 100 yards deep, and in rear of this then came a field extending again as far as the Chickahominy. In the open field extending beyond the house of Dr. Gaines the enemy's skirmishers could be distinctly seen, some about 500 yards and others 800 or 1,000 yards, the near line of skirmishers being in front of the timber skirting the small stream above described. At Dr. Gaines' was found a deserted battery, which commanded the open field and the road passing this house down to and across the Chickahominy.

We had now advanced from Mechanicsville about 6 miles. The enemy's skirmishers were seen in our front and we were here halted, with instructions to engage the enemy's skirmishers, but to advance no farther for the present, and not to enter into a general action. General Pryor threw out skirmishers to the front, and firing for a short time the enemy's skirmishers withdrew. A battery (Pryor's) was now brought to the front, and from a commanding position in front of the Gaines house fired across the open fields to the forest beyond and bordering on the Chickahominy. The enemy were seen in this woods but no fire came from this quarter in reply to our artillery, but a battery upon an eminence beyond the Chickahominy soon began to return our fire. This was a battery of heavy rifled guns, beyond the range of the pieces of our battery, which was now withdrawn.

The enemy's skirmishers again appeared in small numbers within 500 or 600 yards of us and on the crest of the hill in front of the small stream above referred to. When fired upon they would fall back behind the crest of the hill and would soon be out of sight. The enemy's battery of rifled guns on the heights beyond the Chickahominy continued to reappear on our left should be driven in and followed to their supports, and at the same time that I should hold my own, Pryor's, and Featherston's brigades in readiness to commence the attack on the enemy when firing should be heard on our extreme left. One of General Pryor's regiments was ordered to advance again the skirmishers, the remainder of this brigade being held in reserve in close supporting distance. My own and Featherston's brigades were brought up near and in rear of Pryor. Pryor's regiment advancing against the skirmishers, they soon fell back over the crest of the hill, pursued by this regiment. Reaching the hill in pursuit of the enemy, it here came in full [view] of the enemy in position and drew upon itself a heavy fire of musketry, thus revealing the fact that the enemy


Page 772 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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