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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 813 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

received no order for this advance of my brigade, and being convinced the movements was not a judicious one, I ordered my brigade to halt just before emerging from the woods and fall upon the ground, as the enemy's shells were falling in a pitiless storm all around us. Just as I got my men quiet I was officially notified that General Armistead had ordered the advance, and I moved my brigade on. Emerging from the woods we passed into the open, set at this point with clover, and continuing the ascent some 50 or 60 yards we reached the summit of the hill, where we found the fire from the enemy's guns to incessant and well directed that I deemed it prudent to halt and make my men lie down in the high clover. Meanwhile Grimes' guns had been silenced by the loss of his horses and men and he was forced to retire, leaving one of his pieces.

I immediately ordered my brigade to fall back and seek cover under the woods in the ravine and reported to General Armistead what I had done. In this ill-timed advance my loss was very severe. Part of my brigade - the Fourth Georgia and a small portion of the Twenty-second Georgia, under Major [Joseph] Wasden, and a few of the Third Georgia, under Captain (Acting Lieutenant Colonel) R. B. Nisbet-had advanced on the extreme right so far as to pass over the crest of the ridge and were lying in a hollow about 200 yards in advance of the line of woods. These were permitted to remain, as they were comparatively secure from the effects of the enemy's shell.

General Armistead directing, I ordered up another battery (Moorman's, I think) and good it in position a little under the crest of the hill in the clover field and opened upon the enemy. The superior number and metal of the enemy's guns, in addition to his strong position, gave him the decided advantage of us, and very soon this battery was forced to retire.

Meanwhile Captain Pegram's battery was ordered up, and, taking position 200 yards to the left of Moorman, opened a well-directed fire upon the enemy, which told with fearful effect upon them. But this chivalric commander, by the retiring of Moorman's battery, was left alone to contend with the whole force of the enemy's artillery. Manfully these gallant men maintained the unequal conflict until their severe losses disabled them from using but a single piece; even then, with one single piece, they firmly held their ground and continued to pour a deadly fire upon the enemy's line until, seeing the utter hopelessness of the contest, I ordered them to cease firing until I could get more guns in action.

It was now 3 p.m. We had been fighting since 11.30 a.m., and still the enemy continued to pour volley after volley upon us from their whole line. Another battery was soon ordered up, and again the gallant Pegram opened with his single gun, himself assisting to work it. Still the superior number and caliber of the enemy's guns enabled him to pour a continuous and galling fire upon our artillerists and keep the skirt of woods in which my men lay wrapt in a sheet of flame and hail from their immense shells.

Again our few guns were silenced, and I rode from the scene convinced that with the small force at our command further demonstrations against the enemy in his stronghold were utterly futile and highly improper. These views I urged upon General Armistead,who entirely concurred in opinion with me and ordered the firing to cease. I immediately reformed the shattered fragments of my brigade, at least that portion of it not already in advance in the hollow in the field.

I regret to state that in reforming I was unable to find the Twenty-second


Page 813 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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