War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0780 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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manner as to prevent a surprise, to resist an assault, and to re-enforce Featherston, whom a march by the left flank had placed in my front. Maurin's battery I posted on an elevation in the rear, whence it might fire without affecting our men and yet attain the enemy, who occupied another eminence across Beaver Dam Creek. Scarcely had I completed my arrangements when, by the light of the earliest dawn, the enemy began the attack. Featherston, being in advance, received the first shock. As rapidly as possible I hurried my troops to his assistance. We assumed the aggressive, and after an obstinate resistance of two hours the enemy were pushed back until our brigades were prepared to pursue them across Beaver Dam Creek; but General Wilcox arrived meantime with his brigade and determined not to take this step until a bridge could be constructed for the passage of the artillery. While we were engaged in that business Major-General Longstreet came up and assumed personal direction of our movements.

In this affair at Ellison's Mill my command sustained a considerable loss. The battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Coppens and the Third Regiment Virginia Volunteers were especially distinguished.

Arriving at Hogan's house in pursuit of the enemy I was directed by Major-General Longstreet to conduct my brigade as an advance guard. I had not proceeded more than a mile when the enemy were observed in the woods on Dr. Gaines' farm. I detached a few companies to drive in his nearest skirmishers and to dislodge his sharpshooters from their cover. This was effected without much difficulty. A line of skirmishers extending along the entire front of the woods in rear of Dr. Gaines' house discovered to me the position in which the enemy had resolved to offer battle.

Of this position about 11 o'clock I attempted a reconnaissance. I deployed my entire brigade under a galling fire from the enemy's battery over the river and advanced across the field a distance of half a mile to within range of the enemy's infantry. I found him in very great force.

A few hours afterward Captain Meade, of Major-General Longstreet's staff, delivered me an order to engage the enemy. Immediately I moved from my position at Gaines' house straightforward to the wood in which the enemy was concealed. Ascending the hill in front of his position, my men were staggered by a terrific volley at the same time that they suffered severely from the battery across the Chickahominy. I was compelled to retire them to the cover of a ravine in my rear. After the lapse of a few moments I again moved them forward, and again they encountered a fire which it was impossible to endure. This time, however, they were not arrested before they had rushed down to the edge of the wood where the enemy lay.

In these assaults I sustained a very great loss-as much almost from the enemy's artillery as from his infantry fire. A single shell killed and disabled 11 of my men.

Meanwhile Wilcox had come to my assistance. Then Featherston and Picket appeared. Forming line on the acclivity of the hill which screened us from the enemy we moved forward, but for several minutes of painful suspense we were held in check by the deadly volleys poured upon us. At last, with a terrific yell, our brave men rushed down the hill, leaped the ditch, and drove the enemy from his position at the point of the bayonet. Emerging from the woods, they encountered and awful fire of grape and canister from several batteries in the field before them. Nevertheless they pressed on, drove the enemy from his second line, and captured his artillery. So the field was won.