War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0837 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

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Gregg, the Branch, and then Anderson successively became engaged. The incessant roar of musketry and deep thunder of the artillery told that the whole force of the enemy was in my front. Branch becoming hard pressed, Pender was sent in to his relief. Field and Archer were also directed to do their part in this murderous contest. Braxton's battery, accompanying Archer, had already opened. They were ordered to turn the enemy's left. These two batteries, under their heroic leaders, moving across the open field, met the enemy behind an abatis and strong intrenchments at the base of a long, wooded hill, the enemy being in three lines on the side of this declivity, its crest falling off into a plateau, and this plateau studded with guns.

My front now presented a curved line, its convexity toward the enemy. Desperate but unavailing attempts were made to force the enemy's position. The Fourteenth South Carolina, Colonel McGowan (having hurried upon from picket duty on the other side of the Chickahominy and arriving in the thick[est] of the fight), on the extreme left, made several daring charges. The Sixteenth North Carolina, Colonel McElroy,and Twenty-second, Lieutenant-Colonel Gray,at one time carried the crest of the hill and were in the enemy's camp, but were driven back by overwhelming numbers. The Thirty-fifth Georgia, Colonel Thomas, also drove through the enemy's lines like a wedge, but it was all of no avail. Greeg and Branch fought with varying success, Gregg having before the vaunted Zouaves and Sykes' regulars. Pender's brigade was suffering heavily, but stubbornly held its own. Field and Archer met a withering storm of bullets, but pressed on to within a short distance of the enemy's works, but the storm was too fierce for such a handful of men. They recoiled and were again pressed to the charge, but with no better success. These brave men had done all that any soldier could do. Directing their men to lie down,the fight was continued and help awaited. From having been the attacking I now became the attacked, but stubbornly, gallantly was the ground held. My division was thus engaged full two hours before assistance was received. We failed to carry the enemy's lines, but we paved the way for the successful attacks afterward, and in which attacks it was necessary to employ the whole of our army that side the Chickahominy.

About 4 o'clock re-enforcements came up on my right from General Longstreet and later Jackson's men on my right and center, and my division was relieved of the weight of the contest. It was then continued on more equal terms, and finally the extreme left of the enemy's line was most gallantly carried by Hood's brigade.

At 7 o'clock the general-in-chief in person gave me an order to advance my whole line and to communicate this order as far as I could to all commanders of troops. This was done, and a general advance being made, the enemy were swept from the field, and the pursuit only stopped by night-fall and the exhaustion of our troops. The batteries of Crenshaw, Johnson, Braxton, and Pegram were actively engaged; Crenshaw and Johnson pretty well knocked to pieces. Pegram with indomitable energy and earnestness of purpose, though having lost 47 men and many horses at Mechanicsville, had put his battery in condition for this fight also.


Sunday, the 29th, having been placed under the order of Major-General Longstreet, I recrossed the Chickahominy, Longstreet's division leading.