War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0493 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

right and engaged the enemy furiously. The First and Fourth Brigades of Jackson's own division, filled the interval between Ewell and A. P. Hill. The Second and Third were sent to the right. The arrival of these fresh troops enabled A. P. Hill to withdraw some of his brigades, wearied and reduced by their long and arduous conflict. The line being now complete, a general advance from right to left was ordered. On the right the troops moved forward with steadiness, unchecked by the terrible fire from the triple lines of infantry on the hill, and the cannon on both sides of the river, which burst upon them as they emerged upon the plain. The dead and wounded marked the way of their intrepid advance, the brave Texans leading, closely followed by their no less daring comrades. The enemy were driven from the ravine to the first line of breastworks, over which our impetuous column dashed up to the intrechments on the crest. These were quickly stormed, fourteen pieces of artillery captured, and the enemy driven into the field beyond. Fresh troops came to his support and he endeavored repeatedly to rally, but in vain. He was forced back with great slaughter until he reached the woods on the banks of the Chickahominy, and night put an end to the pursuit. Long lines of dead and wounded marked each stand made by the enemy in his stubborn resistance, and the field over which he retreated was strewn with the slain.

On the left the attack was no less vigorous and successful. D. H. Hill charged across the open ground in his front, one of his regiments having first bravely carried a battery whose fire enfiladed his advance. Gallantly supported by the troops on his right, who pressed forward with unfaltering resolution, he reached the crest of the ridge, and after a sanguinary struggle broke the enemy's line, captured several of his batteries, and drove him in confusion toward the Chickahominy until darkness rendered farther pursuit impossible.

Our troops remained in undisturbed possession of the field, covered with the Federal dead and wounded, and their broken forces fled to the river or wandered through the woods.

Owing to the nature of the country the cavalry was unable to participate in the general engagement. It rendered valuable service in guarding Jackson's flank and took a large number of prisoners.

On the morning of the 28th it was ascertained that none of the enemy remained in our front north of the Chickahominy. As he might yet intend to give battle to preserve his communications, the Ninth Cavalry, supported by Ewell's division, was ordered to seize the York River Railroad, and General Stuart, with his main body, to co-operate. When the cavalry reached Dispatch Station the enemy retreated to the south bank of the river and burned the railroad bridge. Ewell, coming up shortly afterward, destroyed a portion of the track.

During the forenoon column of dust south of the Chickahominy showed that the Federal Army was in motion. The abandonment of the railroad and destruction of the bridge proved that no further attempt would be made to hold that line; but from the position it occupied the roads which led toward James River would also enable it to reach the lower bridges over the Chickahominy and retreat down the peninsula. In the latter event it was necessary that our troops should continue on the north bank of the river, and until the intention of General McClellan was discovered it was deemed injudicious to change their disposition. Ewell was therefore ordered to proceed to Bottom's Bridge to guard that point, and the cavalry to watch the bridges below. No certain indications of a retreat to James River were discovered by our forces on the south side of the Chickahominy, and late in the