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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 842 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

ordered to support that of Brigadier General J. R. Anderson in an attack upon what proved to be the enemy's center at Gaines' Mill. Forming line of battle in a wood to the right of the road, both brigades moved forward (mine in second line) and debouched into an open field about 200 yards from the enemy's line. Giving the command to charge, we rushed forward and opened fire within 100 yards of the enemy, with was continued until forced by an overpowering fire from greatly superior numbers to fall back for support, which was received.

I again formed and moved forward to the attack, General Archer's brigade forming on my right. Both brigades gallantly responded to the call and rushed forward, and gaining the crest of the hill were again stopped by an infantry fire that nothing could live under. The men, however, did not retire, but, falling on their faces, maintained, until support came up, a brisk and destructive fire upon the enemy. As events afterward proved, the enemy were in heavy force at this point; were admirably sheltered behind temporary obstacles, such as abatis,&c., and were safe from expulsion by any less force than that which came to my assistance late in the evening.

In this affair, from the long and determined character of the contest, my loss was heavy, Lieutenant Colonel H. H. Walker, Fortieth Virginia, a most gallant and meritorious officers, being twice wounded.

It was late on the evening of the 30th when I was notified to move upon the field of battle as soon as possible. Putting the column in motion at the double-quick, we were soon upon the theater of action. Forming in line of battle, the Fifty-fifth and Sixtieth Virginia on the right of the road and the Forty-seventh Virginia and the Second Virginia Battalion on the left, the command was given to cheer heartily and charge. About 300 yards directly in our front were two of the enemy's batteries, posted in an open field na on the right and left of the road we were advancing on. I had heard that these batteries had been several times during the day taken and retaken, a constant struggle being maintained for their possession. At this time they were held by the enemy, but the horses being killed or wounded, he was unable the remove the guns. The whole line now rushed forward under heavy fire, beat the enemy back from the guns into the woods beyond, and pushing him on the right of the road back half a mile. The two regiments on this side [of] the road, the Fifty-fifth and Sixtieth Virginia, were at this time in the enemy's rear, having penetrated through his center in the eagerness of pursuit, but were withdrawn before he could profit by the circumstance.

Lieutenant-Colonel Christian was wounded and Major Burke was killed, both of the Fifty-fifth Virginia.

Colonels Mallory and Starke behaved very handsomely here.

The charge was impetuously made, and was an instance where bayonets were really crossed, several of the enemy being killed with that weapon and several of the Sixtieth now being in [the] hospital bearing bayonet wounds upon their persons. It is proper to stat that the Fortieth Virginia, Colonel Brockenbrough, forming my extreme left, became detached on account of the inequalities of the ground and was not under my eye. The colonel reports, however, meeting with an overwhelming force and his loss heavy. My brigade held that part of the battle-field until relieved late at night by some fresh troops, I having in the mean while sent to the rear for horses and removed all the captured guns and equipments to a place of safety.

I omitted to mention that the Forty-seventh Virginia, Colonel Mayo, after getting possession of the guns on the left of the road, manned two


Page 842 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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