War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0565 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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delaying the movement of our army. Orders were therefore given to General Anderson to organize columns of attack upon the enemy's positions and batteries, using the brigades of Wilcox and A. P. Hill and such of his forces as could be spared from the redoubts, the attack to be supported by Pickett's brigade. We could not afford to rest longer under the enemy's long-range guns and superior artillery and we were wasting much ammunition. General Anderson was ordered to seize the first opportunity to attack the most assailable position of the enemy.

Soon after giving these orders I rode to the field, and arrived in time to witness the successful issue of the first guard assault. The attacking and most ably seconded by the gallant brigadiers and other officers, Pickett's brigade taking part in the attack.

The advanced positions so extended my lines that I found it necessary to bring other forces upon the field. I ordered Brigadier-General Colston's brigade forward, and sent to Major General D. H. Hill for one of his brigades. Meantime our troops continued to press forward and drove the enemy steadily back-soon so rapidly that Brigadier-General Stuart ordered his cavalry forward, taking it for a rout. He led his command forward in gallant style. I gave him instructions, however, to move with great caution, as I did not think that the enemy was yet in confusion. Exercising due caution, he soon found himself under a severe fire of fresh troops. Taking advantage of the ground, he put his cavalry into a safe position and withdrew them.

At 3.30 o'clock I received messages from some of the brigadiers that their ammunition was getting short. Ours being in our wagons, and therefore unavailable, my only means of furnishing it was to get fresh troops. I consequently sent to Major-General Hill for the balance of his division. Colston's brigade and two regiments of Early's brigade, of Hill's division, were ordered forward through the woods at our right, to report to Brigadier General A. P. Hill.

About this time General Johnston joined me, but with his usual magnanimity, declined to take command. His presence, however, with an occasional valuable suggestion, were enough to insure success.

Major General D. H. Hill joined me about the same time, and was anxious to take an active part in the battle, having with him the balance of his division.

Occasional efforts were made by the enemy to regain his lost positions, and one of them bore some appearance of success, when a well-timed fire from Colonel Jenkins, with his artillery and sharpshooters, staggered the advancing forces, and our troops soon drove them back.

By the time that Colston's brigade and the two regiments of Early's brigade reached our front our forces had advanced as far as we could well venture, considering the surrounding circumstances. These re-enforcements enabled us to hold our new position with comparative ease.

A diversion against our left flank was made about 5 o'clock and Major-General Hill was ordered to watch it, leaving Brigadier-General Featherston's brigade as my reserve. General Hill soon reported that it was time to make the attack there, and I ordered him to fell the enemy with caution. He arranged his forces for the attack with excellent judgment, but in the hurry of bringing the troops into action some of the officers failed to take due advantage of the ground and exposed them to a fire which was not absolutely necessary, and the effort to drive the enemy from that part of his position failed. This mishap could have been remedied by an extreme flank movement and complete victory won; but, as I have intimated before, we were not in a condition