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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 566 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

the York River Railroad, and, marching by the Williamsburg road, we turned off at the White Oak Bridge fork and reached the bridge about noon, finding it destroyed and the enemy drawn up beyond in line of battle. Batteries were brought up and a heavy fire opened upon him, silencing his battery completely. Our fire was directed by Major Whiting, of the staff. Sundry ineffectual attempts were made during the day to repair the bridge, but the enemy keeping up a distant and random fire of shell about the crossing, the men would not work. During the afternoon the furious battle of Frazier's farm was raging between the enemy and the troops of General Longstreet. It could be distinctly heard, and indeed was scarcely 2 miles from us. Our delay at White Oak was unfortunate. Next morning, the enemy having retired, the bridge was repaired and the troops passed, my division in the advance. Marching by the road to Turkey Bridge on the Turkey road, we presently fell in with the line of skirmishers of Major-General Magruder's troops, moving in line of battle by the Charles City road. They halted for us to pass. The troops were marching by a flank. The commanding general of the corps, Major-General Jackson, would not allow the dispositions to be made to advance with skirmishers deployed and in line, but caused the troops to press on until the head of column closed on the advance guard, a regiment of cavalry, in a thick wood near Crew's farm, about 11 a.m. On the farm the enemy were found very strongly posted. They immediately opened with shell on the woods, every portion of which was under their fire. The result was, the cavalry came to the right-about and broke through the long column of troops which filled the road, now enfiladed by the fire. Though suffering loss, they formed to the right and left with precision and promptness.

To our left was a very large wheat field, on the farm of Mr. Poindexter, which afforded a good view of the enemy's position and fair opportunities for artillery. Batteries were ordered up. The enemy's position, naturally commanding, was materially strengthened by the judicious distribution of this artillery. The first battery ordered into Mr. Poindexter's field found itself exposed to a vastly superior cross-fire, and was soon compelled to retire with loss. Balthis' battery, better posted and better covered by the ground, fought well and continued the action until their ammunition was exhausted. Other batteries were ordered up. The position to be taken by the artillery rendered were ordered up. The position to be taken by the artillery rendered infantry support necessary, and I was directed by General Jackson to form my line with my right on the road in the wood, advancing to the edge in front and holding that. This was done by the Third [Law's] Brigade. The line continued by Hood extended across Poindexter's field, the men lying concealed by the wheat and the roll of the ground. I had been strengthened by the Third Brigade, of Jackson's division proper, under the command of Brigadier-General Hampton. This was held in reserve. Trimble's brigade, of Ewell's division, supported my extreme left. This disposition I was directed to maintain, the general attack of our forces being understood to be made as soon as practicable on the extreme right, the enemy's left. In the mean time it became apparent from our position that the enemy had divined the movement; their artillery fire, which had been very server upon my batteries and troops, ceased, and heavy columns were discovered in movement for disposition on their left. After some time the movement of baggage and troops in retreat by the Turkey Bridge road could be plainly observed.

After the attack commenced on the right my division, with the exception


Page 566 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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