War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0856 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

down around Colonel Hamilton, who for a part of the time bore the colors himself.

Colonel Barnes, of the Twelfth, received a hurt, which, although he did not leave the field, in a great measure disabled him for the rest of the day.

The nature of the ground rendered it impracticable to preserve or re-establish regularity in the first line. I, therefore, ordered Colonel Edwards to hold the Thirteenth ready to receive the enemy with a steady fire at short range if they should descend the hill-side through the pine thicket. The Twelfth, not being at the time so heavily pressed as the First, I left to continue the struggle. The First I ordered to reform at some distance in rear of the Thirteenth, retiring around the left of that regiment. The Fourteenth Regiment, Colonel McGowan's, now arrived on the field at the moment it was so greatly needed.

By General Lee's order I had sent my aide-de-camp, Captain Harry Hammond, across the valley of the Chickahominy to relieve this regiment from duty on the post so long occupied by it and to guide it to the brigade. Captain Hammond met at the river Captains Wood and Taggart, sent forward with their companies by Colonel McGowan to endeavor to communicate with me. The bridge at which they met was one constructed by the enemy opposite Dr. Friend's house, and torn up and burned by the enemy the night before. Leaving his horse at the river, Captain Hammond got across on foot and carried the order to Colonel McGowan, who at once led his regiment across the valley, and hastily repairing the bridge, marched on for the battle-field under a constant fire from one of the enemy's batteries.

Stopping the fire of Crenshaw's battery for a short time to allow a passage through the guns, I ordered the Fourteenth forward. Tired as they were, by two days and nights of outpost duty and by a rapid march under a burning sun, they recovered strength at once and advanced with a cheer and at the double-quick. Leading his regiment to the right of the Thirteenth and across the hollow, Colonel McGowan arrived just in time to repulse the advancing enemy and prevent them from establishing a battery at the edge of the open ground on the brow of the hill. The Fourteenth was formed along a fence up the hill, on the other side of the hollow, and maintained its position gallantly to the end of the battle. After it had held it some time alone other troops came up, and in concert with a North Carolina and Georgia regiment the Fourteenth made a charge across the open field for the purpose of taking a battery. In this charge Colonel McGowan was bruised by a grape-shot and for a short time disabled. The distance to the battery being too great, and the fire both direct and cross too heavy, our troops halted and lay down to shelter themselves, then retired, and the Fourteenth resumed its position near the brow of the hill, where after the close of the battle it lay on its arms.

Meanwhile Colonel Edwards held his position with the Thirteenth. The enemy did not venture to charge directly down the hill upon his position, but kept up a constant fire, which caused considerable loss. Colonel Edwards threw forward his right company, deployed as skirmishers, to dislodge the enemy from the pines in front and on the right, and then ordered the rest of the regiment to take a position a little in advance at the foot of the hill beyond the boggy stream. From the difficulty of crossing the bog and the incessant roar of cannon and musketry, his commands not being well heard, a separation of the regiment took place. A part of the left wing effected the movement intended by Colonel Edwards, and maintained the new position until the