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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 728 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

and prepared to bivouac for the night, but were almost immediately ordered to the support of General Longstreet, then engaged with the enemy at Frazier's farm. On the way we were halted and permitted to rest until 11 p.m. when we continued the march to Frazier's farm, arriving just in time to take our position by daylight on the morning of July 1. About 8 a.m. we advanced in line of battle as far as the Willis Church road, where the forces of General Jackson passed to our right, and we were ordered back along the Long Bridge road several miles to the rear, where we remained in line of battle until 4 p.m., when we were ordered forward to the open field on the farm adjoining Crew's farm. Here we remained under the fire of the enemy's artillery until about 6 p.m., when I was directed by an officer of Major-General Magruder's staff to advance and attack the enemy's battery. Having no specific instructions and no knowledge of the ground or position of the enemy, I left the brigade in line of battle through a wood for half a mile toward the right of the enemy's line of fire, exposed all the while to a front, and flank fire of artillery which could not be avoided. During this march I passed three lines of troops who had preceded me in the attack. Arriving immediately in front of that portion of the enemy where I determined to assail him, I was indebted to your assistance, captain, for finding my way to a ravine which led immediately up to the plateau upon which the enemy was formed. Availing myself of this shelter, I led my command up to the Willis Church road. Here the enemy occupied the open field in two lines in force in my front, forming an obtuse angle, facing toward the road in such a manner as to flank any force which might ascend the brow of the hill in my front. Between these two lines of the enemy at the point of intersection a battery of artillery was placed, pouring over our heads a crushing shower of grape and canister, while the infantry lines blazed with a constant stream of fire. Still farther to my right the artillery on the hill near the orchard enfiladed my line, and their infantry, in Crew's farm to my right rear, were engaged with some of our forces whose line of battle was parallel to my own.

In the position we occupied a fence and thick hedge in front of the road formed a considerable obstacle to an advance along the center of my line, while the rising ground in front screened the enemy from view, except on my extreme right and left. The Second Regiment, which extended to near the parsonage, having open ground in front, engaged the left line of the enemy with some effect; but the rest of the command were powerless to accomplish anything in their then position, and I was satisfied that any farther advance at that point would insure the destruction of my command unless some change was made in the enemy's position. The nature of the ground affording considerable protection to the men, I determined to hold them there, in the hope that some diversion by an attack either on the right or left might be created in our favor.

After some time a galling fire was opened from our rear, killing and wounding the men and producing a general feeling of uneasiness in the whole command. Captain Holmes, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Dwight, acting assistant inspector-general, of my staff, went back in person to arrest the fire. Major Rutherford, of the Third Regiment, attempted to do the same, and Corpl. T. Whitner Blakely is especially commended by Colonel Nance for having volunteered for the same dangerous duty. Finding that the fire still continued for some time, doing us more damage than that of the enemy, I ordered the command to retire by the route we came to next road in our rear.


Page 728 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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