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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 391 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

hurled against them. A like result was anticipated by Randol's battery, and the Fourth Regiment was request not to fire until the battery had done with them. Its gallant commander did not doubt his ability to repel the attack, and his guns did indeed mow down the advancing host; but still the gaps were closed and the enemy came in upon a run to the very muzzles of his guns. It was a perfect torrent of men, and they were in his battery before the guns could be removed. Two guns that were indeed successfully limbered had their horses killed and wounded and were overturned on the spot, and the enemy dashing past drove the greater part of the Fourth Regiment before them. The left company (B) nevertheless stood its ground with its captain, Fred. A. Conrad, in front of it, as did likewise certain men of other companies.

I had ridden into the regiment and endeavored to check them, but with only partial success. It was here my fortune to witness one of the fiercest bayonet fights that perhaps ever occurred on this continent. Bayonet wounds, mortal or slight, were given and received. I saw skulls crushed by the butts of muskets, and every effort made by either party in this life-or-death struggle, proving indeed that here Greek had met Greek. The Seventh Regiment was at this time on the right of the Fourth, and was too closely engaged with a force, also of great superiority in numbers, to lend any assistance to the gallant few of the Fourth who were struggling at their side. In fine, these few men, some 70 or 80, were borne bodily off amongst the rebels, and when they reached a gap in the fence walked through it, while the enemy, intent on pursuing those in front of them, passed on without noticing them.

It was at this moment, on witnessing this scene, I keenly left the want of re-enforcement. I had not a single regiment left to send to the support of these so overpowered. There was no running; but my division, reduced by the previous battles to less than 6,000, had to contend with the divisions of Longstreet and A. P. Hill (considered two of the strongest and best among many of the Confederate army, numbering that day 18,000 or 20,000 men), and it was reluctantly compelled to give way before heavier force accumulated upon them. My right was, as I say, literally forced off the ground by the weight simply of the enemy's column.

The center and left were still at times engaged, and the only staff officer left with me was Lieutenant E. Beatty, who was now wounded at my side and forced to leave me, after maintaining his position for some time. My orderly, a most faithful man, Sergt. Simeon Hertz, was also mortally wounded at my side, and I was left with but two men of my cavalry escort, Corporal King and one private. I now rode to the rear to endeavor to rally a force, and on the road-side 200 yards in rear of my right I found two regiments of Berry's brigade, Kearny's division. I requested these regiments to move forward and support my men, but their orders, I was informed, would not admit of their leaving their ground. After some time General Kearny came up. He at once formed two lines in the woods on the right of the road and moved forward, saying to me as he rode on, "If you can bring on another line in a few minutes I think we can stop them."

By this time the sun had set, and the firing, now confined entirely to the right of my division, was becoming slack and interrupted. In a little while Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, Pennsylvania Reserves, came up and reported to me that he had collected about 500 men, with whom he was then advancing. I rode on with him up the road so as to bring this little command upon the left of Kearny. On arriving at the point


Page 391 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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