War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0359 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

About 3.30 p.m. the enemy renewed his efforts, and the action soon became general throughout the entire extent of the lines. At this time the brigade was disposed as follows: The Fourth, still on the extreme right, was supporting Weed and Tidball; the Third in its position observing the road; the Twelfth along the fence running to the edge of the woods fronting the house, and the Fourteenth in the corn field facing toward this woods.

Seeing a considerable force of the enemy coming up from the ravine to the left, and moving up through the field to the left of that occupied by the Twelfth and Fourteenth, I directed the Fourteenth to change front to the rear, with the view of flanking him, and then to charge as he fell back. This was done, and the two battalions crossed the intervening fence and advanced in as handsome a line of battle as I ever saw on drill, driving the enemy from this field and killing many of them. I then advanced the Third into the field on the right and threw it into the edge of the wood in front, in order to repel any effort to turn my right. Having done this, I observed a company of pickets coming up from the Cold Harbor road without an officer, and upon inquiring whose, it was found that it was Captain Lay's Twelfth Infantry, who, the sergeant stated, had been taken sick and was then with the Fourth Infantry. This officer has since been arrested under charges for gross dereliction of duty on a subsequent occasion.

The battle now raged with varying success until night-fall, when all the troops were withdrawn from the field and the most of them were thrown across the Chickahominy. The conflict in this part of the field throughout the entire day was characterized by the most indomitable energy, perseverance, and gallantry of our troops. Every time that a regiment of the enemy was repulsed a fresh body came to take its place, whilst we occupied our original ground with the same forces that first went into action. Here it was that we met with the most of our loss, and yet my brigade maintained its ground against greatly superior odds for nearly eight hours.

During the entire action the Fourth Infantry, under command of Captain J. B. Collins, covered the two batteries, and at its close formed in rear of them and marched there, when they were withdrawn, about 8 p.m. On the march to the rear, which was not commenced until the batteries were nearly out of ammunition, the Fourth on three several occasions formed, fronting the enemy and checking his advance, whilst the batteries were enabled to pass successfully obstacles that seriously impended their progress and threatened their capture. This regiment did not cross the Chickahominy, but took up a position covering the Grapevine Bridge on the north side, which it maintained that night. The next morning, after partially destroying that bridge, it crossed by the Woodbury Bridge to Camp Lincoln. Major Delozier Davidson commanded the regiment until after it was posted as the support to the batteries, when without giving notice of this intention to any one, he absented himself, leaving his horse with his orderly, and has not been seen or heard of since.

Our loss was very severe, and among others was that of the brave and lamented Major Rossell, commanding the Third Infantry, and the gallant and dashing Clitz, commanding the Twelfth, who was twice severely wounded, and is now supposed to be a prisoner in Richmond. My command behaved admirably, and fully maintained the reputation of the regulars. The two old regiments (the Third and Fourth) maintained their previous reputation, and the new battalions (the Twelfth and Fourteenth) earned one for themselves. In the latter part of the