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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 390 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

on the right, Seymour's on the left, and Reynolds', now commanded by Colonel S. G. Simmons, of the Fifth, in reserve; Randol's (regular) battery, six 12-pounder Napoleon or light 12-pounder guns, on the right, in front of the Fourth Regiment; Kerns' and Cooper's batteries opposite the center, and two German batteries, belonging to Morell's division, of 20-pounder Parrott's, of four guns each, commanded by Captains Diederich and Knieriem, on the left, all in front of the infantry line. The country on my new front was open, embracing a large farm, intersected toward the right by the New Market road, and a small strip of timber parallel to it. The open front was about 800 yards; its depth about 1,000 yards. It was a beautiful battle ground, but too large for my force to find cover or protection on both flanks.

My disposition having been made I calmly awaited the approach of the enemy. About 2.30 o'clock my pickets were driven in by a strong advance, after some skirmishing, without loss on our part. At 3 o'clock the enemy sent forward a regiment on the left center and another on the right center, to feel for a weak point. They were under cover of a shower of shell and boldly advanced, but were both driven back on the left by the Twelfth Regiment and on the right by the Seventh Regiment. After this, in order to strengthen the left, I rode forward with the Rifles and put them in a narrow strip of timber on the left and front. Soon after this the left was threatened by a very heavy column, which had passed through the woods beyond the farm. I at once changed front a that flank by sending Colonel Simmons with two regiments to re-enforce Seymour. This movement was promptly made, but not a moment too soon, for a furious attack with artillery and infantry was almost immediately made on that flank. I at the same time directed Captain Biddle, assistant adjutant-general, to ride to the left and change the direction of the fire of the two German batteries against the enemy on the flank. This order was gallantly executed, but I regret to state that just at the moment the enemy's fire happened to be poured in with terrible effect, and this brave and valuable officer fell mortally wounded, being pierced by two Minie balls and slightly wounded by a third.

For near tow hours the battle raged hotly here, and under a perfect storm of shot and shell the gallant and much-to-be-lamented Colonel Seneca G. Simmons fell also mortally wounded. At last the enemy was compelled to retire before the well-directed musketry fire of the Reserves. The German batteries were driven to the rear, but I rode up and sent them back. It was, however, of little avail, and they were soon after abandoned by the cannoneers.

It must not be supposed that the enemy were inactive along the center and on the right of my line during all this time. The batteries in front of the center were boldly charged upon, but the enemy was speedily forced back, when I re-enforced this part of the line with the two regiments of the reserve still remaining on the ground. The contest was severe, and put the steadiness of these regiments to the test. They both suffered much, but particularly the First Regiment, whose lieutenant-colonel, H. M. McIntire, lost his left leg below the knee.

In the course of this struggle I had the pleasure of having presented to me a regimental color borne off from the attacking regiment.

Soon after this a most determined charge was made on Randol's battery by a full brigade advancing in wedge-shape, without order, but in perfect recklessness. Somewhat similar charges had, as I have stated, been previously made on Cooper's and Kerns' batteries by single regiments without success, they having recoiled before the storm of canister


Page 390 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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