War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0789 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

to get ready to march at once and move over to the Charles City road. General Mahone, who was on that road, was ordered to move down it, General Armistead to follow him, Generals Wright and Ransom to follow.

Soon after Generals Wright and Ransom got their brigades in motion a message was received from General Magruder, at Fair Oaks Station,that the enemy were advancing on him in force and asking me to support him with two brigades. Ransom's brigade was at once recalled and I marched with it back to the Seven Pines. Wright's brigade was ordered back.

The day was intensely hot and this marching and counter-marching exhausted the men. I met General Magruder, who insisted the enemy were advancing in great force, and he desired my assistance, asking me to form line of battle, left on railroad and right at Seven Pines. I had commenced moving the troops into position when I saw a line in my front, and inquiring what troops they were, was informed it was McLaws' division.

At the same moment I received a dispatch from General Lee, whom I left at my late headquarters, saying it was very important I should proceed at once down the Charles City road, and, if my assistance was not necessary to General Magruder, to move on. As the enemy had abandoned their works and retired I could not conceive their attack was a serious one, but the demonstration was only to delay us, and as General McLaws occupied the ground I might leave, and sent a message to General Magruder that under my orders I had decided it was not necessary for me to stay. I had halted General Wright near French's house, and I sent him orders to resume his march to the Charles City road, and General Ransom was sent off in the same direction at once.

In the mean time Mahone and Armistead had advanced down the road. In the evening Ransom and Wright followed. I reached the head of the column late in the afternoon near Brightwell's (on map), when our flankers on the left were fired on by the enemy. We pushed light troops into the woods and examined the country. It appeared the enemy had not retired from the camps on our left, and as I went down the road I was leaving Kearny's division behind me. I was informed there was a road, called the New road, running along the edge of White Oak Swamp, and Kearny's division was on the other side of the swamp. A boy who had been over the swamp on a message and prisoners captured gave me this information.

I ordered a battery of artillery, supported by the Forty-fourth Alabama Regiment, to protect the junction of the New road with the Charles City road, and directed Brigadier-General Wright to proceed at daylight June 30 down the New road to find the enemy and guard our left flank and the main body to proceed down the Charles City road.

The troops bivouacked in their position while it was dark and resumed the march at daylight. Mahone advanced cautiously, captured many prisoners, and killed some cavalry scouts, one bearing an order to Kearny to retire and keep a strong battery of artillery with his rear guard. After passing Fisher's house (map) we found the road obstructed by trees felled all across it. General Mahone found it best to cut a road around the obstructions. For such work we were deficient in tools. The column was delayed while the work was going on, and it was evening before we got through and drove off the workmen, who were still cutting down other trees. As we advanced through the woods and came to an open field on high ground (P. Williams' on map) a