previous next

[101] through the country a few miles above, and enters the Williamsburgh road just beyond the battle-field.

The plan of the battle was this: Generals Hill and Longstreet were to attack in front, and when the enemy were repulsed, Gen. Whiting was to march down theNine-mile road, but came unexpectedly upon a large body of the enemy, who had crossed the Chickahominy and entrenched themselves. This was on the left of the railroad, and east of the New-Bridge, or Nine-mile road, as it is known in country parlance.

Col. Jenkins commanded a brigade, composed of the Fifth South-Carolina regiment, Col. Bratton, and the Palmetto Sharp-shooters, Lieut.-Colonel Walker. The former commander, Brig.-General R. A. Anderson, commanded a division in the fight. He has not resigned. The Gen. Anderson who resigned is from Tennessee, and his place as commander of the Tennessee brigade was assigned to Brig.-Gen. Robert Hatton, who was killed.

While proceeding down the New-Bridge road, endeavoring to get to the rear of the enemy, who were falling back before Gen. Longstreet, General Whiting's division was attacked by the enemy on the left flank in overwhelming force, causing him to change front, and for two hours engaged in a contest which, considering the short space of time, was perhaps the severest of the war. Some idea of its character may be formed from the fact that Hampton's Legion lost, in killed and wounded, a slight fraction over one half its members. The charge of this body of men was gallant and daring beyond all description. The other regiments did not suffer so heavily, but all show a long list of casualties. Night found the combatants in the precise position where the fight began two hours before, neither side having yielded an inch. The enemy of course fought with great bravery. In this fight we have given but a few of the casualties. Colonel Wade Hampton was slightly wounded in the foot, Dr. E. S. Gallard, Medical Director to General Smith's corps, was severely wounded in the arm. It was amputated yesterday. Ie was a surgeon well known throughout the army, very able and much respected. Col. Giles, of the Fifth South-Carolina, was killed, also Col. Lightfoot, of the Twenty-second North-Carolina. Undoubtedly another day will give us the movements of particular brigades and regiments not now obtained. Up to this time the enemy have been held in check at this battle-field, our troops merely falling back a short distance to gain a better position.

To return to the right. During the night Gens. Hill and Longstreet were reinforced by Huger's division. The enemy also were largely reinforced. Early in the morning the fight was renewed. Gen. Pryor's brigade, stationed on the right of our line, were fired on by daylight, and had one man killed and several wounded by this fire. Then came the general attack, very hot on the centre and right. Gen. Pickett was on Pryor's left, Wilcox on the right. Pryor's brigade stood well up to the enemy, and did not retire until ordered, when it was held to cover a retrograde movement of our troops. It then retired deliberately and in order, having lost ten per cent of its strength — literally decimated, principally in the Sixth and Fourteenth Alabama.

Gen. Pickett's brigade sustained the shock of the enemy's attack up to near eleven o'clock, when Mahone came on to the field. Pickett's brigade, (the third of Longstreet's division,) composed of the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-eighth Virginia regiments, was early in the fight of Saturday, and did some excellent fighting. We shall be glad to give the acts of this brigade in detail as soon as they can be obtained. A few facts already given us are reserved until more can be obtained — suffice it to say, the brigade has an honorable record.

Mahone's brigade came on the field late in the morning. It was ordered to proceed to a line of woods and take position. They fell into an ambuscade while marching in column, and sustained a galling fire. Hastily throwing them into line, the enemy were pursued and driven beyond the field. One regiment alone, the Third Alabama, lost one hundred and ninety-six in killed and wounded.

Richmond, Monday, June 2.
With regard to the engagement of Saturday and Sunday, I can add little to the accounts which will have reached you through the city papers. It appears that our scouts reported seventeen thousand of the enemy on this side of the Chickahominy, at a point between the York River Railroad and the Williamsburgh road, some six or seven miles from the city, and not very far from the fortifications opposite Drewry's Bluff. The swelling of the Chickahominy by the storm, cut off, as was supposed, all chance of reenforcing these seventeen thousand, and the attack, already delayed, was begun, not at daybreak, but at ten or eleven o'clock. The enemy was found strongly intrenched, and fully aware of our approach. His strength had not been very much over-estimated, if we may judge by the regiments represented by the prisoners taken. Of these nineteen were mentioned in the morning papers. There may have been forty thousand or sixty thousand Yankees engaged, but nothing proves it except their obstinate resistance and our heavy losses.

Desperate courage carried intrenchment after intrenchment, and captured battery after battery. Late in the evening of Saturday, the enemy attempted to relieve himself by a heavy flank movement on our left; but this was promptly checked by Whiting, and the day ended. Early on Sunday morning, the enemy made a terrible attempt to retrieve his losses of the day previous ; but he was again driven off, leaving us his intrenchments and encampments, with the addition of a few guns not taken by us the day before. Thus matters continued until this morning, when, as usual, we fell back, permitting the enemy to reoccupy the intrenchments from which he had been driven at such fearful cost.

Our loss is very heavy, particularly in officers.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Longstreet (4)
Jasper Whiting (3)
Roger A. Pryor (3)
Pickett (3)
Mahone (2)
D. H. Hill (2)
R. A. Anderson (2)
B. F. Wilcox (1)
Francis A. Walker (1)
G. W. Smith (1)
Lightfoot (1)
Jenkins (1)
Huger (1)
Robert Hatton (1)
Wade Hampton (1)
Giles (1)
E. S. Gallard (1)
Bratton (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: