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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 815 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

and dashing over the hill reached another hollow or ravine immediately in front of and, as it were, under the enemy's guns. This ravine was occupied by a line of Yankee infantry, posted there to protect their batteries. Upon this we rushed such impetuosity that the enemy broke in great disorder and fled.

During this little engagement the enemy's batteries in front of us, and to which we had approached within a few rods, were moved off around and behind the barn and stables which stood [on] the side of the hill, and were again put in position upon the crest of the hill just in front of Crew's house. But for our encountering the infantry of the enemy in the ravine we should have certainly captured this battery, but the delay occasioned by the fight there enabled them to move off their guns to a safer and better position. The firing had now become general along the left and center of our line, and night setting in, it was difficult to distinguished friend from foe.

Several of my command were killed by our own friends, who had come up on our immediate left, and who commenced firing long before they came within range of the enemy. This firing upon us from our friends, together with the increasing darkness, made our position peculiarly hazardous; but I determined to maintain it all hazards as long as a man should be left to fire a gun. The fire was terrific now beyond anything I had ever witnessed - indeed, the hideous shrieking of shells through the dusky gloom of closing night, the whizzing of bullets, the loud and incessant roll of artillery and small-arms, were enough to make the stoutest heart quail. Still my shattered little command, now reduced to less than 300, with about an equal number of General Mahone's brigade, held our position under the very muzzles of the enemy's guns, and poured volley after volley with murderous precision into their serried ranks.

Night had now thrown her black pall over the entire field,and the firing ceased except from a few of the enemy's guns, which continued at intervals to throw shell and grape around the entire circuit of the field. Our forces had all retired and left us (Mahone and myself) alone with our little band to dispute the possession of the field with the insolent but well-chastised foe. Upon consultation we determined to remain where we were, now within 100 yards of the enemy's batteries, and if any of the foe should be left when morning dawned to give him battle again. We had lost too many valuable lives to give up the decided advantage which we had won from the enemy.

Just at this time a portion of Colonel Ramseur's North Carolina regiment, having got lost upon the field, was hailed by me and ordered to fall in with my brigade. A strong picket was advanced all around our isolated position, and the wearied, hungry soldiers the themselves upon the earth to snatch a few hours' rest. Detachments were ordered to search for water and administer to our poor wounded men, whose piercing cries rent the air in every direction. Soon the enemy were seen with lanterns busily engaged in moving their killed and wounded, and friend and foe freely mingled on that gloomy night in administering to the wants of wounded and dying comrades.

After getting our disposition made for the night I wrote a dispatch to General Magruder informing him of what I had done and my present condition, asking that my worn-out and exhausted men might be relieved. Again at daylight I renewed the application.

Early on the morning of July 2 General Ewell rode upon the field, and, coming to the position where my men lay, I reported to him and was relieved from further watching on the field, and immediately collected


Page 815 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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