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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 669 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

commanded perfectly the meadow on our right and the field in our front, except the open ravines formed by the undulations of the ground. Beyond the hill to the rear of that occupied by the enemy, since known as Malvern Hill, firing had taken place in the morning from a battery posted in that direction, which also commanded the meadow or a considerable portion of it.

The field in which the batteries nearest to us were placed is called Crew's farm, and the best line of approach to these batteries seemed to be to the right and front, under the cover of the hills formed by the falling off of this field into the meadow.

General Armistead having informed me that General Longstreet would send him two batteries, I deemed such an artillery force inadequate, and soon after ordered Lieutenant Colonel S. D. Lee, chief of artillery, to bring up from all the batteries thirty rifled pieces of possible. With these I hoped to shatter the enemy's infantry. But as they did not arrive the interval was, perhaps, too brief before I was ordered to make the attack. Returning rapidly to the position occupied by the remainder of my troops I gave Brigadier-General Jones the necessary orders for the advance of his division, composed of Anderson's and Toombs' brigades, one of which (Anderson's) had already occupied the position lately held by Cobb. While this was being done a heavy and crushing fire was opened from the enemy's guns of great range and metal.

About this time I received an order from Colonel Chilton stating that an order had been given to General Armistead, when his artillery fire had broken the enemy's lines, as it probably would do, to "charge with a yell," and directing me to do the same. (See inclosure Numbers 5.) I again gave orders to hasten the movements of the troops, and superintended them in person as far as it was possible. The enemy's fire by this time became intense.

I then received an order from General Lee, through Captain Dickinson, assistant adjutant-general, to advance rapidly, press forward my whole line, and follow up Armistead's successes, as the enemy were reported to be getting off; General Armistead having repulsed, driven back, and followed up a heavy body of the enemy's skirmishers. (See inclosure Numbers 6.) Captain Dickinson informed me by note at the same time that Mahone's and Ransom's brigades, of Huger's division, would be ordered up immediately.

Having completed the necessary arrangements for my three divisions, and not feeling myself at liberty to hesitate under the stringency of my instructions, I galloped to the front, and at the request of General Wright, again reconnoitered the enemy in company with himself and General Armistead from the meadow on the right and the hill in front, and arranged with them a simultaneous attack from that portion of the line under my command.

Soon after, Mahone's brigade having arrived and the hour growing late, I gave the order that Wright's brigade, supported by Mahone's, should advance and attack the enemy's batteries on the right; that Jones' division, expected momentarily, should advance on the front, and Ransom's brigade should attack on the left; my plan being to hurl about 15,000 men against the enemy's batteries and supporting infantry; to follow up any successes they might obtain, and, if unable to drive the enemy from his strong position, to continue the fight in front by pouring in fresh troops; and in case they were repulsed to hold strongly the line of battle where I stood, to prevent serious disaster to our own arms. This plan was substantially carried out, producing the favorable results which followed.


Page 669 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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