War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0782 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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relieved by me. My brigade was placed in the position vacated by General Ripley's command, which was a ridge of woodland some 600 yards in length, with an average breadth of some 1,000 yards, and entirely surrounded by an open field.

My brigade got into position about 3 o'clock in the morning in the edge of the woodland fronting Beaver Dam Creek. Beaver Dam Creek was not more than from 100 to 200 yards in front of the portion of my command in line of battle, and from my position to the bank of the creek was a gradual declivity. After crossing the creek immediately in my front the ground rose by a gradual ascent to a continuous ridge, the summit of which commanded the position occupied by me as well as the open ground surrounding my position. Upon this summit the enemy had planted his artillery and thrown up breastworks, dug rifle pits, &c., extending down in the direction of the creek. General Pryor, with his brigade, was ordered to take position in my rear, to support me in case of an attack. He took position in the field not far in my rear very soon after I did. The brigades of Generals Ripley and Pender and Colonel Colquitt, which had previously occupied the ground, were withdrawn so soon as my brigade and General Pryor's got into position.

Between daylight and sunrise on the morning of the 27th the enemy opened a very brisk fire of musketry on my brigade from the right to the left. We were anticipating the attack. Three companies of skirmishers had been thrown out to the front of my lines, and the entire brigade had been ordered to rest in line with guns in hand. The brigade advanced in line of battle a few steps only in the direction of the creek, and were halted in the edge of the woods near the open field and returned the enemy's fire. Here they remained in position about one hour, during which time the firing was rapid on both sides and continuous. The enemy appeared to be in greatly superior numbers, judging from the firing, and obstinate and determined to drive us back, if possible. As soon as the sun arose and I saw the nature of the ground in front and the position of the enemy beyond the creek, I directed Captain Smith's battery (Third Richmond Howitzers), attached to my brigade, and return the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was then playing on us sharply. This was the most elevated and practicable position on the field for artillery. I then ordered my men to charge the enemy's lines. This order was promptly executed from right to left, the men moving forward in an unbroken line and with great rapidity, driving the enemy before them until they reached Beaver Dam Creek. This creek could be crossed at only a few places, a fact unknown to me, but known to the enemy. Finding it impossible to cross the creek in line on account of its precipitous banks, the command was ordered to halt at the creek, where it was to some extent protected by the bank of the creek and its skirting. The impossibility of passing the creek in line for the reason stated, and the consequent necessity of reforming under the enemy's fire from his breastworks and rifle pits, now in easy range, would have involved a loss so heavy that I was induced to halt the men in this partially protected position. From my position on the creek a very heavy fire on both sides was kept up for an hour or an hour and a half, when the enemy retired from his works and retreated rapidly in the direction of Gaines' farm, or Cold Harbor, down the Chickahominy. After my brigade had reached the bank of Beaver Dam Creek I directed General Pryor to bring his brigade into action, who informed me that his brigade had been sent