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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 800 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

general's request I beg to report the conduct and casualties of this brigade in the battle of Malvern Hill, Tuesday, July 1:

As directed by him, the brigade was reported to Major-General Magruder, who ordered that it should take position immediately in rear of Brigadier-General Wright's brigade, already in position, for the purpose of a combined charge upon the line of the enemy's batteries, which he had arranged to make by simultaneously movement from our front and flanks.

The brigade, although prompt in moving to the position assigned it, and in doing which was exposed to the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, adroitly posted behind wheat shocks in the valley on our right, had not gotten into place when the order came from General Magruder, who, I presume, supposed all was ready with us, that the charge assigned to our forces (General Wright's brigade and my own) should be made. It was now about 5 p.m. The order was responded to with spirit and alacrity by our troops, but with less order and effect than was desirable and would otherwise have been secured, owing to the circumstances which I have adverted to.

Our troops, however, went forward with an earnest over a succession of steep hills and ravines, until coming up within a few hundred yards of the enemy's left batteries, where they encountered his advance troops in large force, strongly positioned behind the crest of hills under cover of his guns.

At this time there were no other troops engaging the enemy in our view or in supporting connection, and here for about two hours the fire and fury of battle raged with great obstinacy and destruction on both sides, our men finally succeeding in driving the enemy from the heights occupied in our front and immediately under his guns and upon his reserves at that point, and occupying the position from which he had resisted our advance with such obstinacy and deadly effect.

It was now near night, when it was discovered that the enemy had advanced from his right across the field and had enfiladed our position. Our men were then suffering severely form his fire in this direction, when, opportunely for our protection and perhaps rescue from utter destruction, our troops came upon him from the right of the line, disconcerting this plan of his and driving him back with great slaughter upon his line of artillery and reserves. In the mean time the portion of our command which had driven the enemy from our front and occupied his position pressed on until more intimately engaged, many of them falling side by side with his men and near his batteries.

Utter darkness now covered the scene and the tragedy closed, leaving General Wright and myself with the remnants of our shattered brigades in possession of the ground which they had at a heavy sacrifice of kindred blood, but with spirit and gallantry, won. General Wright and myself, conjointly as equals and not as his senior, arranged and positioned for the night all the various troops which were now within the reach of our authority, first establishing our picket line, and then giving such attention to the wants of the wounded around us as our capacity and resources would admit.

These more exigent dispositions completed, General Wright and myself made a reconnaissance of the enemy's operations, when it was readily discovered that he was rapidly, though in evident good order, abandoning his liens, which information was promptly communicated to General Magruder.

At an early hour next morning a large body of the enemy's cavalry made their appearance on the line which he had occupied with his


Page 800 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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