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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 776 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

us. One of our batteries was placed in position on the road in front, and, replying to the fire of the enemy, continued for nearly an hour, but as a heavy forest intervened little effect was produced on either side.

At length, near 6 p.m. (5.40 o'clock), I saw the brigade (Pickett's) on my right advance across the open field in front, and I was ordered to form line in the same field, the line being at right angles to the road upon which we had been marching. The brigade was soon formed in line as directed, and I was then informed that General Featherston's brigade had been ordered to extend to the left, with the view of communicating with General Huger, and that I must also close in to the left; but a minute afterward I was ordered by General R. H. Anderson to advance with my brigade to the support of other brigades, then engaging or moving forward to engage the enemy. Twice was the order given to close to the left and twice to move forward, my brigade being in the mean time in line and under a brisk artillery fire of shot and shell. Finally I was directed to obey General Anderson's order and to move to the front.

The order was now given to forward, and the brigade was marched in line across the field to the woods. Finding this so thick with undergrowth that a forward movement in line of battle was impracticable, the order was given for the regiments to move by the right of companies to the front. Marching in this manner they made their way slowly for 100 or 200 yards until the woods became more open. At this place I met General Anderson, and was ordered by him to press on directly to the front. I was aware that the enemy was in my front, but as to the distance, his strength, the position of his batteries and their supports I knew nothing. I had no knowledge as to the character or topography of the ground over which I had to march in the execution of my orders. Marching directly to the front as ordered, and being guided alone by the artillery fire of the enemy, the shot and shell from which passed over and often very near, without, however, causing any casualties, I had not advanced more than 200 yards when I found that two of my regiments were on the right and two on the left of the road (Long Bridge road) which ran in the direction of my line of march. The woods on either side were so thick as to prevent my seeing well the extreme right and left regiments. The road, now descending slightly for some distance, at length crossed a small stream, in the bed of which rails had been thrown to fill it up, so as to allow wagons and artillery to pass. This stream on the right of the road was boggy, and with a dense growth of trees in it, rendering it difficulty for the regiments on this side to make their way through it. We were now under a close fire of artillery, the grape shot coming thick and fast through the trees.

Having crossed the little stream above referred to (on the left the woods were less dense, being small and scattered pine), and ascending slightly for some distance, we came to a field on the left of the road, and the enemy's infantry, in the woods on the left of this field, opened a brisk and close fire upon the left regiment of my line. This regiment (the Eighth Alabama) halted and engaged the enemy at this point. In this field, about 300 yards to the front and 100 yards to the left of the road, was a house, and beyond the house about 200 yards more was a six-gun battery of the enemy. This battery had an open field of fire, the ground in front being perfectly level.

The Eight Alabama being engaged with the enemy, the Eleventh Alabama, the next regiment to it, continued to advance, and entering


Page 776 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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