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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 40, Part 1 (Richmond, Petersburg)
Page 789 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

On the advancing column the Twenty-third and a part of the Twenty-second South Carolina Regiments, on the right, and the Seventeenth and part of the Eighteenth South Carolina Regiments, on the left, opened from our parapets a most destructive fire. The flanking arrangements of our works on both sides of the breach afforded peculiar advantages. Soon the fire along the line of the division, extending far out on each flank wherever the enemy's could be reached, swept the ground in front of the crater. To the men of Wise's brigade, occupying the eminence south of the Baxter road about 200 yards from the crater, the enemy's masses moving on the open ground up to the breach, presented a most inviting and accessible target, upon which their fire took unerring effect. Wright's battery, of four guns, admirably located, and intrenched on the left of Elliott's brigade and in rear of our lines, poured its whole column of fire in the right flank of the enemy's masses. The position of this excellent battery was perhaps unknown to the enemy, and the superior manner in which it was served, the rapidity of the fire, and the terrible effect on the enemy's forces no doubt greatly astonished and demoralized them.

One gun of Davidson's battery, commanded by Lieutenant Otey, occupying a position on our main line on the right of the Baxter road-admirably adapted to throw canister-shot into the enemy's left flank, and with Wright's battery to sweep the ground in front of the breach with a destructive cross-fire--opened with a few rounds, and for some reason, not explained to me, became silent, and was deserted by the officers and men. This battery was connected with my command on the night of the 28th of July by the extension of my line to the right, and did not comprise a part of the artillery properly serving with this division. The battery was, however, subsequently manned and officered by Wise's brigade, under instructions from Colonel Goode, and did excellent service.

Major Haskell's mortar batteries, in charge of Captain Lamkin, consisting of four Coehorns on the Jerusalem plank road, one Coehorn and two 12-pounder mortars in the ravine some 200 yards to the left and in rear of the breach, and two mortars to the left of Wright's battery, were all opened promptly upon the enemy's columns. The practice of the four mortars on the plank road was admirable. Its shells were dropped with remarkable precision upon the enemy's masses clustering in disorder in front of and in the crater. Some three mortars on the right of the Baxter road, commanded by Lieutenant Langhorne, also opened early in the engagement, and continued to fire at intervals with good effect until its close.

As soon as I was aware that the enemy had sprung the mine and broken my line near the center I immediately communicated with the brigades in both wings of the division and directed them to extend their intervals and re-enforce the wings of Elliott's brigade, so as to give as great strength as possible to the forces on which the weight of the enemy's columns must first all. At the same time I dispatched staff officers to the two divisions on my flanks for re-enforcements. From the left I received through Captain Saunders, aide-de-camp, the response that no re-enforcements could be furnished, as the line was already too weak. Captain Smith, acting aide-de-camp, who went to the right, promptly reported that General Mahone was moving up to our support with two brigades.

As soon as the enemy occupied the breach they attempted to advance along our trenches upon the flanks of our broken line; but our men, sheltering themselves behind the angles and flanks of our works, in


Page 789 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 40, Part 1 (Richmond, Petersburg)
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