War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0934 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

by swelling the stream of the Chickahominy, increased the probability of our having to deal with no other troops than those of Keyes. The same cause prevented the prompt and punctual movement of the troops. Those of Smith, Hill, and Longstreet were in position early enough, however, to be ready to commence operations by 8 a. m.

Major-General Longstreet, unwilling to make a partial attack, instead of the combined movement which had been planned, waited from hour to hour for General Huger's division. At length, at 2 p. m., he determined to attack without those troops. He accordingly commenced his advance at that hour, opening the engagement with artillery and skirmishers. By 3 o'clock it became and heavy.

It the mean time I had placed myself on the of force employed in this attack with the division of General Smith, that I might be on a part of the field where I could observe and be ready to meet any counter-movements which the enemy's general might make against our center of left. Owing to some peculiar condition of the atmosphere the sound of the musketry did not reach us. I consequently deferred giving the signal for General Smith's advance until about 4 o'clock, at which time Major Jasper S. Whiting, of General Smith's staff, whom I had sent to learn the state of affairs with General Longstreet's column, returned, reporting that it was pressing on with vigor. Smith's troops were at once moved forward. The principal attack was made by Major-General Longstreet with his own and Major General D. H. Hill's divisions, the latter mostly in advance. Hill's brave troops, admirably commanded and most gallantly led, forced their way through the abatis, which formed the enemy's external defenses, and stormed their intrenchments by a determined and irresistible rush. Such was the manner in which the enemy's first line was carried. The operation was repeated with the same gallantry and success as our troops pursued their victorious career through the enemy's successive camps and intrenchments. At each new portion they encountered fresh troops belonging to it and re-enforcements brought on from the rear. Thus they had to repel repeated efforts to retake works which they had carried, but their way to the Seven Pines, having driven the enemy back more than 2 miles through their own camps and from a series of intrenchments, and repelled every attempt to recapture them with great slaughter. The skill vigor, and decision with which these operations were conducted by General Longstreet are worthy of the highest praise. He was worthily seconded by Major-General Hill, of whose conduct and courage he speaks in the highest terms.

Major-General Smith's division moved forward at 4 o'clock, Whiting's three brigades leading. Their progress was impeded by the

enemy's skirmishers, which, with their supports, were driven back to the railroad. At this point Whiting's own and Pettigrew's brigades engaged a superior force of the enemy. Hood's, by my order, moved on to co-operate with Longstreet. General Smith was desired to hasten up with all the troops within reach. He brought up Hampton's and Hatton's brigades in a few minutes. The strength of the enemy's position, however, enabled him to hold it until dark.

About sunset, being struck from my horse severely wounded by a fragment of a shell, I was carried from the field, and Major General G. W. Smith succeeded to the command.

He was prevented from renewing his attack on the enemy's position next morning by the discovery of strong intrenchments not seen on