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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 162 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

held this place for several hours after the retreat commenced, and manned the works on the right of the road, for the purpose of preventing the enemy from hurrying us.

Colonel Brown, Twentieth Indiana Volunteers, greatly distinguished himself. His regiment lost some killed and wounded, as the enemy shelled the works toward the last, and parties of his advance and our rear guard became engaged.

Fearing lest the roads to the White Oak Swamp Bridge and Brackett's Ford might be unduly clogged with troops, I proposed crossing at Jordon's Ford, 3 miles below my camp. I had reconnoitered it in the morning, and found that the enemy was in force on the central road but not on the Charles City road, and did not then seem to be on the lookout. General Robinson was to cover my retreat, and was cautioned against the enemy's troops arriving from across the Williamsburg road. General Birney, with his brigade, was to lead the march; General Berry to follow.

It was found, after crossing the double arm of the swamp at Jordon's, that our moves had been expected, and it being problematical whether the relative position of the lines of retreat justified a full engagement after a successful skirmish of the advance pickets, and on learning that the road to Brackett's was then free, I withdrew the troops and proceeded by that ford. General Berry's brigade, however, finding Fisher's Ford unobstructed, passed by that route.

This same night, by 10 p.m., the whole division was encamped on and near the Charles City road, at a point subsequently during the battle occupied by General Slocum.

In the morning of the 30th June I drew up in a very strong position on the Charles City road. Subsequently I was assigned to guard the New Market road and country thence to the Charles City road, a space of near 2 1/2 miles.

In taking up my line of battle, General Robinson, with the First Brigade, was posted on the left, his left on the New Market road, supporting Thompson's battery. General Birney divided the distance with him to the Charles City road. General Berry was in reserve. General Slocum was to the right of my line of battle, General McCall to its left. The enemy's attack commenced on General McCall at about 2 p.m. At about 3 p.m. it seemed to be fully developed, but as I rode over to visit it, it did not seemed to be fully developed, but as I rode over to visit it, it did not seem to me to be unduly threatening further than from the shape of his line, its left greatly refused. It had disadvantages for myself, although advantages for those to whom the enemy must present its flank in making an attack on him.

At 4 p.m. the attack commenced on my line with a determination and vigor and in such masses as I had never witnessed. Thompson's battery, directed with great skill, literally swept the slightly-falling open space with the completest execution, and moving them down by ranks would cause the survivors to momentarily halt; but almost instantly after increased masses came up and the wave bore on. These masses coming up with a rapid run, covering the entire breadth of the open ground some 200 paces, would alone be checked in their career by the gaps of the fallen. Still no retreat, and again a fresh mass would carry on the approaching line still nearer. If there was one man in this attack there must have been ten thousand, and their loss by artillery, although borne with such fortitude, must have been unusual. It was by scores. With the irrepressibility of numbers on they persisted. The artillery, destructive as it was, ceased to be a calculation.


Page 162 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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