War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0971 BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES. Chapter XXIII.

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ultimo, up to the time at which the command of the brigade was tuined over to Col. John B. Gordon, of the Sixth Alabama Regiment: On the morning of the 31st the brigade was stationed on the Charles City road, ~A miles from the l)OiUt on the Williamsburg road from which it had been determined to start the columns of attack. Between 10 and 11 a. m. I received an order thronoli an officer of Major-General Hills staff to put my brigade in mot.ioii under an officer of my staff, and to proceed in i~erson by the shortest route to General Hills quarters, then on the field, from which the attacking columns were to start. I obeyed this order promptly, and iipoii reporting to Major-General Hill ascertained that the order sent through the officer alluded to had been erroneously deliverednot misunderstood, Thr all the officers of my staff, including my vohuiteer aide, Lent. Greene Peyton, heard and understood it as I did. Finding that the movement of my brigade under this order was premature, with Major-General Hills approval I sent a staff officer to remand it to its original position. A short time after this I received a verbal or(ler from General Hill to conduct my command at once to the point at which the attack was to be made. Hastening to execute this order, I iouu(l the brigade on the road, and after carefully giving the instructions for battle which had just been given me by Major-General Hill to the commanding officers of regiments, conducted it by the route designated in orders toward the Williamsburg road. The progress of the brigade was considerably de- layed by the washing away of a bridge near the head of White Oak Swamp, by reason of which the men had to wade in water waist-deep and a large number were entirely submerged. At this point the charac- ter of the crossing was such that it was absolutely necessary to proceed with great caution to prevent the loss of both ammunition and life. In consequence of this delay, and notwithstanding the men were car- ried at a double-quick time over very heavy groun(l a considerable distance to make up for it, when the signal for attack was given only my line of skirmishers, the Sixth Alabama and another regiment, the Twelfth Mississippi, were in position. Having received, while on the march, several messages from General Hill urging me to move forward I warned him before the signal was given, through Captain Tayloe, of his staff, and also through an orderly, whom lie had sent to ascertaiim my l)osition, that I could not possibly reach the point from which we were to start within less than half an hour. When the sigmial was given my line of skirmishers and the Twelfth Mississippi Regiment moved to the attack and immediately thereafter the action began. Under these circumstances, as each of the remainimig regiments caine up I caused it to mnove forward to the attack, so that my brigade moved to the field of battle en ichelon and in the following order: 1st, Sixth Alabama Regi- ment, Colonel Gordon commanding deployed as skirmishers, covering time whole front of the brigade; 2A, Twelfth Mississippi, Col. W. H. Taylor, moving with its left on the Williamsburg road; 3d, Heavy Artillery Battalion Capt C. C. Otey commnandimig; 4th, Fifth Alabama Regiment, Col. C. & Pegues commanding; 5th, Twelfth Alabamnallegi- ment, Col. It. T. Jones commanding. The King William Artillery Capt. Thomas H. Carter commanding, I ordered to proceed by th~ shortest route to the Williamsburg road, and to follow the left of the brigade along that road after the whole of the brigade had advanced. Ascertaining the position of the right of the Twelfth Mississippi Regiment, I endeavored to move the remaining regiments rapidly into line of battle with it; but finding that this regiment was pressed, I moved the Fifth Alabama directly to its support. The ground over