War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0613 Chapter XXIII. ENGAGEMENT AT WEST POINT, VA

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About 4 p.m. the whole line was ordered to charge a battery on the extreme right of the enemy. The charge was made through the wheat field and up a steep hill of wood-land beyond, the troops marching in line and at a double-quick. Orders were given to keep our left closed with the Twenty-fourth Virginia and on our right to keep our right closed with the Twenty-third North Carolina. After marching about 1,200 yards I found that the companies on the left had become detached. Having no guide, and finding no enemy, I marched the remaining seven companies by the left flank in the direction of the sound of the firing, and rejoined the other three companies at our own battery.

Here I received orders, through the aide of General Early, to march on the battery. I marched through the open field under a heavy fire of the enemy, which was returned by a portion of the regiment. Having proceeded about 250 yards at a double-quick, and having formed in line of battle under the fire of the enemy, orders were received from General Hill to retire to the woods, about 100 yards distant, which was done, the regiment reforming in the woods. Orders were then received from General Hill to retire to my first position in the wheat field, which were promptly obeyed.

The officers and men of my command were much exhausted by marching at double-quick in line of battle over so great a distance, up hill and through thick undergrowth, but behaved throughout, but behaved throughout with the greatest coolness and gallantry.*

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

POWHATAN B. WHITTLE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Thirty-eighth Virginia Regiment.

Captain

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, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement.]

----,---,--, 1862.

There is a mistake in this report in stating that the brigade was moved to the attack in double-quick time. This regiment, having fallen behind in marching through the wheat field, was ordered to double-quick until it got up with the other regiments, it being then about 50 yards behind.

J. A. EARLY,

Brigadier-General.

MAY 7, 1862.-Engagement at West Point (Barhamsville), or Eltham's Landing, Va.

REPORTS, ETC.

Numbers 1.-Brigadier General William B. Franklin, U. S. Army, commanding division.

Numbers 2.-Return of Casualties in Union forces.

Numbers 3.-Captain Richard Arnold, Fifth U. S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery.

Numbers 4.-Captain Josiah Porter, Battery A, Massachusetts Light Artillery.

Numbers 5.-Captain William Hexamer, Battery A, New Jersey Light Artillery.

Numbers 6.-Lieutenant Emory Upton, Fifth U. S. Artillery, commanding Battery D, Second U. S. Artillery.

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*List of casualties omitted above is embodied in Numbers 61.

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