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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 225 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

rapidly that it appeared as if their reserves were inexhaustible. The action now extending throughout our entire lines, the brigades of McCall were successively thrown forward to give support to Morell's hard-pressed division. The promised re-enforcements (Slocum's division) arrived just as the last of McCall's troops had been sent in to the relief of those of Morell's battalions whose ammunition had been exhausted, or to take the place of those which had been nearly cut to pieces. Newton's brigade, of Slocum's division, being in the advance, was promptly led, regiment after regiment, to the right of Griffin's brigade, of Morell's division, and the left of Sykes' division into the thickest of the fight by its gallant commander, and was soon followed in the same manner by Taylor's brigade, each regiment relieving the regiment in advance as soon as the ammunition of the latter was exhausted.

In the mean time Sykes, hard pressed on the right, maintaining his ground with all the obstinacy of the regulars and the spirit of the volunteers, required support, and Bartlett's brigade, of Slocum's division, was sent to his relief. A portion, however, of Newton's brigade had already been pushed in to the assistance of his left.

Previous to the arrival of Slocum's brigade, Reynolds, having repulsed the enemy in his front, and hearing the tremendous contest on his left, had, acting under a true maxim and with the generous spirit of a soldier, moved to the sound of cannon, and led his men, regiment after regiment, where our hard-pressed forces required most assistance. As each regiment entered the woods to the relief of their exhausted companions the effect was immediately shown by the enemy being driven before them, as evidenced by the sound of musketry growing more and more distant. Some regiments which had been withdrawn after having exhausted their ammunition reformed, replenished their boxes, and returned, in one case even for the third time, to this unequal contest. For each regiment thrown into action there seemed to be two or three fresh regiments brought up by the enemy, but our men maintained their own, and necessarily repulsed them until the last regiment had been advanced.

As if for a final effort, just as darkness was covering everything from view, the enemy massed his fresh regiments on the right and left and threw them with overpowering force against our thinned and wearied battalions. In anticipation of this our artillery, which till now had been well engaged at favorable points of the field in dealing destruction upon the enemy or held in reserve, was now thrown to the front to cover the withdrawal of our retiring troops. The batteries already engaged continued playing on the coming horde, while the others (in all about eighty guns) successively opened as our troops withdrew from in front of their fire, and checked in some places, in others drove back, the advancing masses.

All appeared to be doing well, our troops withdrawing in order to the cover of the guns, the enemy retiring, and victory, so far as possession of the field was concerned, had already settled upon our banners, when, to my great surprise, the artillery on the left were thrown into confusion by a charge of cavalry coming from the front. With no infantry to support, these and the other batteries limbered up and moved to the rear-some with deliberation and only after dealing destruction to the enemy; others in haste, but without confusion, leaving the battle-field with no enemy upon it. The explanation of this is that although the cavalry had been directed early in the day to keep below the hill and under no circumstances to appear upon the crest,

15 R R-VOL XI, PT II


Page 225 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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