eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XI | Pages range from 1 to 994

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 238 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

as urged and warned beforehand to do, by the flanks of the battery, thus leaving its field of fire clear, the third assault might have been repulsed and the guns saved; but, as is usual, the supports had in the first place taken up their positions in the rear of the guns, amongst the carriages, where they could by no possibility be of use except to repel an attack with the bayonet, and from which position they are almost always sure to fire through the battery. When in this case the supports were repulsed in their sortie they rushed through the battery for their former positions, depriving the artillery of the power of self-defense.

I have always found it difficult to get infantry troops ordered to support batteries to take positions on the flanks. They insist upon being either in front or rear of the batteries. Generally the commanders of these supports rank battery commanders, and the latter are unable to correct the evil. It is desirable that artillery officers should always be consulted as to the positions to be occupied by their supports. If this is not done, it would be better in most cases to give them no special support, but leave them to the chance assistance of troops in their neighborhood. Lieutenant Randol's guns were well defended by the gunners, and their loss reflects no discredit on either men or officers.

On the 30th that part of the reserve still at headquarters marched to Malvern Hill, and were posted on the height, on the west of the plateau and in front of the brick house. On the extreme left of the plateau, overlooking the valley, was stationed Smead's battery of light 12-pounders; then Voegelee's and Carlisle's 20-pounders; then Edwards' and Weed's, between whom and the house on the heights were two New York batteries not belonging to the reserve. About 4 p. m. the enemy commenced shelling the plateau from a point of wood at Turkey Creek across the valley. He was immediately answered, his fire silenced, his horses kiled and men driven off, leaving two guns in our possession.

On the 1st of July the positions were held by these batteries very much as on the day before, the line of the left being strengthened by the siege guns under Colonel Tyler. On the right of the plateau were stationed Wolcott's and Snow's batteries of the reserve, and Frank's battery of New York artillery, temporarily serving with it. Facing the wood which stretches along the Valley road dividing the plateau was placed Grimm's 32-pounder howitzers. The horse artillery, the remaining Napoleon guns, Diederichs' and Knieriem's 20-pounder Parrotts were held in reserve near the brick house used as a hospital. Ames' and Livingston's were stationed on the left front of the line of battle, near the road and in front of Griffin's brigade. During the conflict of the afternoon such changes were made as exigencies required. Wolcott's, Diederichs', and Knieriem's batteries re-enforced General Sumner on the right. Snow's and Frank's were posted to support Couch's division. Edwards' was sent to the front to strengthen the position occupied by Ames. Weed's, Carlisle's, and Smead's were posted upon the road by which the enemy, should be succeed in forcing our left, would debouch upon the plateau.

Toward night his efforts to accomplish this were fierce and persistent, and the whole of the reserve was called into action. By direction of General Porter I brought up all the horse artillery under Colonel Hays and Grimm's 32-pounder howitzers, and pushed forward to the front of Malvern Heights, where they were immediately brought into action at the point of the enemy's main attack, and took a decisive part in the final struggle for the mastery of the position, following up the


Page 238 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon