War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0823 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

Lieutenant Colonel P. B. Whittle and myself were present. I have been prevented by sickness from furnishing the report at an earlier date.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Thirty-eighth Virginia Regiment.

[Colonel] R. H. CHILTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.



SIR: Having been absent for some weeks after the engagement at Malvern Hill, July 1, the last of the series of battles around Richmond, on account of sickness, I beg leave to submit the following report of the part my regiment acted on that occasion, and respectfully request that it be filed with the report of the general commanding,as I consider the report furnished by Major Joseph R. Cabell incomplete in many particulars:

My regiment (the Thirty-eighth Virginia Volunteers) formed the advance of Brigadier General L. A. Armistead's brigade, General Huger's division, which was the leading brigade on that day. We proceeded cautiously, feeling our way and reconnoitering diligently to prevent falling unexpectedly upon the enemy, who might have been in ambush in many of the swamps and thick woods through which we had to pass. Coming to the woods fronting Malvern Hill we soon became aware of his presence, when we were formed in the woods opposite his position, and skirmishers thrown out from each regiment to feel the enemy's skirmishers and learn somewhat the strength of his position and numbers, my skirmishers being under the command of Major Joseph R. Cabell.

The skirmishers soon engaged the enemy, each holding his position, no order as yet having been given to advance. During the skirmishing General Armistead and myself reconnoitered the position of the enemy from good stand-point, and with the assistance of a strong glass readily detected his presence in force and the advantages of his position.

Major-Generals Magruder and Longstreet came up in turn and observed the enemy from the several points to which I conducted them, and left perfectly satisfied, as I supposed, of the impossibility of charging them from the position which our advance (Armistead's brigade) held, unless supported by a large amount of artillery, as Major-General Magruder remarked it would require thirty pieces of the heaviest caliber. This I supposed had been determined upon, us the colonels commanding the regiments were immediately ordered to pull down the fencing in their front, preparatory to advancing our skirmishers, supported by the regimental reserves, so as to force back the enemy's skirmishers, with a view of bringing up our artillery. So soon as the fencing was removed the order was given to drive in the enemy, which was being done in the most successful manner, when I received an order, or rather General Armistead, with hat off and arm uplifted, ordered us to charge; where and upon what I was at a loss to imagine. It could not have been to support our skirmishers; they needed none, for they were driving the enemy's pickets before them. It could only then have been the main position of the enemy upon which we were to charge. The charge was made most gallantly by my regiment and a portion of the Fourteenth and Fifty-third Virginia Regiments, under the lead of their respective colonels, up the hill, across the extensive plateau, and through the valley, until we arrived at the hill nearest