War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0583 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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to move and support the two redoubts fronting the enemy, both of which were already occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Steedman with three companies of that regiment. Major Mattison, with his battalion, was ordered to take post on the left of Colonel Bratton in a skirt of woods, and all the artillery ten with me in Fort Magruder were placed, supported by Colonel Giles, with six companies Fifth Regiment, to reply to the enemy's guns from the left, the fire in front having nearly closed.

Major Foster having retired from his redoubt, supposing it untenable, and the enemy threatening an advance on the left, he was ordered to report to Colonel Bratton.

Prompt re-enforcements having been sent by the commanding general, I replaced Major Foster with three companies of the Fourteenth Alabama, under Major Royston, and placed Captains Dearing's and Stribling's batteries and three pieces of Donelsonville Artillery, under Lieutenant Fortier, in position to answer the heavy fire from the enemy's left battery and a new battery from their right center, which now opened a terrible cross-fire.

Captain Dearing for a while singly met the two batteries, and deserves great credit for his handsome conduct, and assisted by the other batteries, the pieces of the enemy on their left and right center were compelled to cease their fire and any farther advance prevented in that direction.

At this time our gallant comrades on the right had driven the enemy step by step until his line lay exposed to our enfilade fire from Fort Magruder. Here, assisted by fallen timber and a strong position, he stubbornly resisted the advance of our troops. Seeing the critical moment, I changed front promptly with all the artillery under my command and opened from the right battery and Fort Magruder a heavy cross-fire of cannon and rifles. In a few minutes the enemy's line gave back, and our gallant right pressed then and completed the victory.

By orders from the commanding general Captain Stribling's battery was placed on the right of Fort Magruder to fire upon the enemy in the woods, and was supported with coolness and efficiency by Major Anderson, commanding six companies of Palmetto Sharpshooters. About this time the attack upon the enemy's right was made by a portion of General D. H. Hill's division in which, through some mistake and the orders of the officer commanding the attack the two redoubts occupied by Colonel Bratton's regiment were for a time left unoccupied by the advance of that regiment and a part of the Fifth South Carolina Volunteers.

My thanks are due Lieutenant Love for promptly reporting the fact, and I immediately reoccupied the left breastwork with Major Mattison's battalion, he having very properly refused to leave the post I had given him in charge except on my order, and I sent two companies of the Fourteenth Alabama to re-enforce him.

Lieutenant-Colonel Steedman, with a discretion and good judgment shown repeatedly during the day, had advanced under what he deemed compelling orders, very carefully covering his breastworks, and upon the repulse of the left resumed his position.

Nothing of special interest occurred after this. The enemy at all points kept up an annoying fire until night closed the scene.

I must speak in the highest terms of the conduct of the batteries and troops under my command; the coolness and determination evinced under a trying fire, for the most beyond our range, augurs well for the future.