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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 612 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

About sunset an order was received by General Ewell, in my presence from General Jackson, through a staff officer, to send my brigade to the right to the support of Major General D. H. Hill and the brigade was immediately put in motion and marched, under the guidance of an officer sent for the purpose, across the road and through the woods, passing along the side of a ravine covered with trees and thick undergrowth, until the head of it reached a small road leading across an open bottom on a creek. Here the brigade was halted for a few minutes until the guide could ascertain the route to be pursued, when it was again put in motion, and as the head of it arrived in the open bottom, by the guide's direction the brigade was started across the bottom, and General Ewell and myself, with my staff officers, were directed to cross by a detour to the right over an old dam, as the only practicable way for horses. On arriving at the point where it was expected to meet the head of the brigade nothing could be seen of it, a thick brush-wood excluding it from view.

In the mean time a large number of men, retreating from the battle-field, began to pass along the road into which we had then got, and filled the brush-wood mentioned, producing great confusion and rendering in impossible for me to ascertain whether the brigade was passing through this brush-wood. After many fruitless efforts to ascertain this fact I rode toward the route over which the brigade was started as far as I could, and found a very deep ditch filled with skulkers from the battle-field, over which it was impossible for me to pass with my horse. I then rode around to a point where I could get a view of the place at which I separated from the brigade, and seeing none of it passing, I rode forward on the road leading to the battle-field with the hope of finding the brigade emerging from the woods farther on. It was then getting dark, and I found the road filled with a large number of men retreating in confusion, being mostly from General Toombs' Georgia Brigade. These troops, aided by my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Gardner, I endeavored to rally, but found it very difficult to do so.

During my exertions to rally these men the Twelfth Georgia Regiment, of my own brigade, came up, under the command of Captain James G. Rodgers, and I marched it off, accompanied by Colonel Benning, with a few men from his regiment, of Toombs' brigade. These men were formed in line by direction of General Ewell, who had preceded me with some men rallied by him in a field over which a considerable body of our troops had charged in the early part of the engagement and in rear of some regiments then engaged with the enemy. Here I was soon joined by the Thirty-first and Twenty-fifth Virginia Regiments, which were brought up by my aide, Captain S. H. Early who had gone to the rear to look for the brigade. With these regiments I remained on the field during the night in the position designated by General Ewell, Major General D. H. Hill being present at the time they were posted and for some time thereafter.

During the march the brigade was exposed to a terrific cannonading and shells were constantly bursting over and around it. For some time the regiments, with me on the field, which were ordered to lie down, were exposed to the fiercest artillery fire that I have ever witnessed. About the close of this fire Brigadier-General Ransom, with a portion of his command, retired to the rear past my position, leaving none of our troops in front of me. A short time after the cessation of the fire we heard very distinctly the rumbling of wheels, indicating a movement of the enemy's artillery, and a large number of lights were seen


Page 612 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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