War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0627 Chapter XXIII. ENGAGEMENT AT WEST POINT, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

corps, with reports of commanders under him, describing an engagement with the enemy on the 7th instant, between Barhamsville and Eltham's Landing-the latter place being nearly opposite West Point, on the south side of the Pamunkey River.

At Barhamsville the line by which my command was retiring formed an angle, at which the trains were much exposed to the enemy. Owing to difficulties in getting artillery and baggage over the roads I had been directed by General Johnston to halt there until the troops in the rear could be brought up. During this halt a fleet of transports, protected by gunboats, appeared at the head of York River, and from them the enemy commenced landing troops.

After examining their operations I selected a position for the division of General Whiting, and directed him to prevent the enemy from advancing upon Barhamsville until all the trains had passed.

The nature of the ground at the point chosen by the enemy for their gunboats rendered an attack at that time and place not advisable, and I preferred to let them land and move out beyond the protecting range of their heavily-armed iron-clad vessels. The latter it was supposed they would attempt during the night or early next morning.

The command proper of Major-General Magruder, then under Brigadier General David R. Jones, was placed at my control by general Johnston, and he directed the commands of Major-Generals Longstreet and Hill to be brought within close supporting distance.

On the morning of the 7th, after becoming satisfied that the enemy did not intend to advance in force from under the projection of their gunboats, I directed General Whiting to drive their skirmishers from the dense woods and endeavor to get position in the open ground between the woods and the river, from which he could reach their place of landing and their transports with his artillery fire.

After quite a sharp contest the enemy were driven back through the woods for a mile or more, when it was found that from the positions attained the range was too great for our fire to reach the transports, and that the troops and material already landed were completely covered from view by a bluff bank near the edge of the river. I then directed the troops to be withdrawn out of reach of the fire of the gunboats and to resume their position nearer Barhamsville. The enemy remained close under cover, protected by their gunboats.

Referring to the reports of the several commanders for details, it is only necessary for me to state that the Texas Brigade, under command of Brigadier General John B. Hood, supported on the right by the Hampton Legion and the Nineteenth Georgia Regiment, of Colonel Hampton's brigade, were selected and ordered forward by General Whiting, to drive the enemy from the woods then occupied in front of their landing. Later in the day the Tennessee Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Anderson, was placed in position to support and cover the left flank of the Texans.

All the troops engaged showed the finest spirit, were under perfect control, and behaved admirably. The brunt of the contest was borne by the Texans, and to them is due the largest share of the honors of the day at Eltham.

The Texas Brigade lost 8 killed and 28 wounded. In the other portions of the command there were 12 wounded and none killed.

The loss sustained by the enemy is not accurately, but it was much greater than ours.

The number of prisoners taken and sent to Richmond was 46.