by their batteries on the opposite side, and all approach to it barred by detachments of sharpshooters, concealed in a dense wood close by.
A battery of twenty-eight guns from Hill's and Whiting's artillery was placed by Colonel S. Crutchfield in a favorable position for driving off or silencing the opposing artillery. About 2 p.m. it opened suddenly upon the enemy. He fired a few shots in reply and then withdrew from that position, abandoning part of his artillery. Captain Wooding was immediately ordered near the bridge to shell the sharpshooters from the woods, which was accomplished, and Munford's cavalry crossed the creek, but was soon compelled to retire. It was soon seen that the enemy occupied such a position beyond a thick intervening wood on the right of the road as enabled him to command the crossing. Captain Wooding's battery was consequently recalled and our batteries turned in the new direction. The fire so opened on both sides was kept up until dark. We bivouacked that night near the swamp.
A heavy cannonading in front announced the engagement of General Longstreet at Frazier's farm and made me eager to press forward; but the marshy character of the soil, the destruction of the bridge over the marsh and creek, and the strong position of the enemy for defending the passage prevented my advancing until the following morning. During the night the Federals retired. The bridge was rapidly repaired by Whiting's division, which soon after crossed over and continued the pursuit, in which it was followed by the remainder of my corps.
At White Oak we captured a portion of the enemy's artillery, and also found another hospital with about 350 sick and wounded, which fell into our hands.
Upon reaching Frazier's farm I found General Longstreet's advance near the road. The commanding general soon after arrived, and in pursuance of his instructions I continued to press forward. The head of my advancing column was soon fired upon by the enemy, who nevertheless continued to fall back until he reached Malvern Hill, which strong position he held in force. General Whiting was directed to move to the left and take position on the Poindexter farm; General D. H. Hill to take position farther to the right; Taylor's brigade, of General Ewell's division, to move forward between the divisions of Hill and Whiting; the remainder of Ewell's division to remain in rear of the first line. Jackson's division was halted near Willis' Church in the wood and held in reserve.
General D. H. Hill pursued the route indicated, crossing an open field and creek. His troops were then brought in full range of the enemy's artillery and suffered severely. Brigadier-General Anderson was wounded and carried from the field. The division was halted under the cover of a wood, which afforded an opportunity for a more particular examination off the ground in front. The enemy in large force were found strongly posted on a commanding hill, all the approaches to which in the direction of my position could be swept by his artillery and were guarded by infantry. The nearest batteries could only be approached by traversing an open space of 300 or 400 yards, exposed to the murderous fire of artillery and infantry.
The commanding general had issued an order that at a given signal there should be a general advance of the whole line. General d. H. Hill, hearing what he believed to be the signal, with great gallantry pressed forward and engage the enemy. Not supported by a general advance, as he had anticipated, he soon saw that it was impossible without support to sustain himself long against such overwhelming numbers.