force by the Charles City road, and at half past 2 o'clock the attack was made down the road on General Slocum's left, but was checked by his artillery. After this the enemy in large force, comprising the divisions of Longstreet and A. P. Hill, attacked General McCall, whose division, after severe fighting, was compelled to retire.
General McCall, in his report of the battle, says:
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About half past two my pickets were driven in by a strong advance, after some skirmishing, without loss on our part.
At 3 o'clock the enemy sent forward a regiment on the left center and another on the right center, to feel for a weak point. They were under cover of a shower of shells and boldly advanced, but were both driven back-on the left by the Twelfth Regiment and on the right by the Seventh Regiment.
For nearly two hours the battle raged hotly here. * * * At last the enemy was compelled to retire before the well-directed musketry fire of the reserves. The German batteries were driven to the rear, but I rode up and sent them back. It was, however of little avail, and they were soon after abandoned by the cannoneers. * * * The batteries in front of the center were boldly charged upon, but the enemy were speedily forced back. * * * Soon after this a most determined charge was made on Randol's battery by a full brigade, advancing in wedge-shape without order, but in perfect, recklessness. Somewhat similar charges had, I have stated, been previously made on Cooper's and Kerns' batteries by single regiments without success, they having recoiled before the storm of canister hurled against them. A like result was anticipated by Randol's battery, and the Fourth Regiment was requested no to fire until the battery had done with them. Its gallant commander did not doubt his ability to repel the attack, and his guns did, indeed, mow down the advancing host; but still the gaps were closed, and the enemy came in upon a run to the very muzzle of his guns. It was a perfect torrent of men, and they were in his battery before the guns could be removed. Two guns that were, indeed, successfully limbered had their horses killed and wounded and were overturned on the spot, and the enemy dashing past drove the greater part of the Fourth Regiment before them. The left company (B) nevertheless stood its ground, with its captain, Fred. A. Conrad, as did likewise certain men of other companies. I had ridden into the regiment and endeavored to check them, but with only partial success.
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There was no running; but my division, reduced by the previous battles to less than 6,000,had to contend with the divisions of Longstreet and A. P. Hill, considered two of the strongest and best among many of the Confederate Army, numbering that day 18,000 or 20,000 men, and it was reluctantly compelled to give way before heavier force accumulated upon them.
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General Heintzelman states that about 5 o'clock p.m. General McCall's division was attacked in large force, evidently the principal attack; that in less than an hour the division gave way, and adds:
General Hooker being on his left, by moving to the right repulsed the rebels in the handsomest manner, with great slaughter. General Sumner, who was with General Sedgwick in McCall's rear, also greatly aided with his artillery and infantry in driving back the enemy. They now renewed their attack with vigor on General Kearny's left, and were again repulsed with heavy loss.
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This attack commenced about 4 p.m.,and was pushed by heavy masses with the utmost determination and vigor. Captain Thompson's battery, directed with great precision, firing double charges, swept them back. The whole open space, 200 paces wide, was filled with the enemy. Each repulse brought fresh troops. The third attack was only repulsed by the rapid volley and determined charge of the Sixty-third Pennsylvania, Colonel Hays, and half of the Thirty-seventh New York Volunteers.
General McCall's troops soon began to emerge from the woods into the open field. Several batteries were in position, and began to fire into the woods over the heads of our men in front. Captain De Russy's battery was placed on the right of General Sumner's artillery, with orders to shell the woods. General Burns' brigade was then advanced to meet the enemy, and soon drove him back. Other troops began to return from the White Oak Swamp. Later in the day, at the call of