War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0664 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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The enemy, having ascertained the general disposition of our troops-opened a brisk artillery fire upon the railroad and our center, unfor, tunately mortally wounding the gallant General Griffith, commander of the Third Mississippi Brigade, who was borne from the field and died the next morning. The enemy's fire was responded to with effect by the railroad battery, as well as by Carlton's battery, which that practiced artillerist Lieutenant Colonel Stephen D. Lee had placed in advance in a commanding position in front of our center.

The enemy was now reported advancing, and this report being confirmed after a reconnaissance by Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, I galloped to the right of the line to see General Huger, who had arrived with two brigades, and to give him such information as would enable him to dispose his troops in the best manner for the protection of our right flank. Having accomplished this, I returned to the left and threw forward the left wing of General Griffith's brigade and the whole of General Cobb's, in order to occupy a more commanding position and a wood which skirted a field across which the enemy would have to march. This had no sooner been done than I received information from Major-General Huger that his two brigades would be withdrawn, as I understood, for other service, and subsequently a note reached me from General Jones stating that Major-General Jackson regretted that he could not co-operate with him, as he had been ordered on other important duty. (See inclosure Numbers 1.)

Thus, the forces which General Lee had left to operate against the enemy being reduced from some 35,000 or 40,000 to some 13,000 men, I was compelled to abandon the plan of capturing any large portion of the enemy's forces, and directed that Semmes' brigade (McLaws' division) should be placed on the Williamsburg road, and Cobb's on the left of the railroad in line with Kershaw's; Jones' division being on the extreme left, and Barksdale's brigade marching in reserve behind the center. I ordered the whole to move to the front and each commander to attack the enemy in whatever force or works he might be found. This was executed promptly and in beautiful order, though the ground was difficult and the wood dense.


Kershaw's brigade soon became engaged with the enemy, who took refuge in the works on the Williamsburg road, from which he was driven in gallant style by the infantry advance and by the excellent artillery practice of Kemper's battery. Retreating from work to work, pursued by our line, which swept through his camps with little interruption, the enemy was at last driven as far as Savage Station, where a strong line of battle was formed ready to receive us. He also occupied the wood in front of the station. Here Kershaw's brigade engaged him frankly and furiously, and was gallantly supported by Kemper's battery and Semmes' brigade on his right.

Taking my position on the railroad bridge, which commanded a good view of the fight and of the enemy's line of battle, I directed the railroad battery, commanded most efficiently by Lieutenant Barry, to advance to the front, so as to clear, in some degree, the deep cut over which the bridge was thrown, and to open his fire upon the enemy's masses below, which was done with terrible effect. The enemy soon brought the fire of his artillery and infantry to bear upon the railroad battery and bridge, while he advanced a heavy line of infantry to support the troops already engaged to capture our artillery and turn our