by all. During the night, however, a terrific thunder and rain-storm visited both armies, and it was thought the condition of the roads would preclude all possibility of movements for several days. Gen.. Johnston did not think so, however, the pickets having reported that the enemy had erected earthworks on Barker's farm, and mounted them, and that the Chickahominy and swamp in their rear were much swollen by rains, and impracticable to them Longstreet's and Hill's divisions were on the move early Sunday morning, and proceeded down the Williamsburgh road, with bands and banners, but the roads were so inconceivably heavy, and ponds of water so frequent and deep, that their progress was slow and irksome. General (Bethel) Hill's division being nearest to the point of attack, deployed in the open ground about two miles from Barker's farm, on the right and left of the road, dense woods being to the front, in which the enemy were reported “thick as hops,” with a line of skirmishers thrown out to feel the way, (Second Mississippi battalion, Twenty-eighth Georgia., etc.) They cautiously and slowly progressed through the woods and on the road, a strong force (Hatton's Tennessee brigade) being sent up the York River Railroad, running parallel about one and a half miles, to keep the enemy from flanking in that direction. The Mississippians and Georgians had scarcely entered the timber, when the enemy's strong outposts and pickets opened a terrible fire upon them, and slowly fell back to a heavy line of support about one quarter of a mile to the rear. Advancing upon these, the skirmishing regiments had reached a high and strong fence, when instantly the enemy arose from a crouching posture, and delivered repeated volleys, presenting a perfect sheet of flame across our whole front. The skirmishers fought splendidly against such odds, but would have been forced back, but “in the nick of time” Anderson's splendidly-drilled Fourth North-Carolina regiment advanced along the road at “double-quick,” unobserved, broke our skirmishing line very unceremoniously, and, flanking the enemy, poured volley upon volley with such rapidity and precision that the foe retired in haste, relieved the skirmishers, and the fight soon became general for half a mile on each side of the road, but not extending to the railroad on the left, or more than five hundred yards to the right. Finding us to be advancing in force, the enemy opened their artillery, and shelled the road and woods with great accuracy and damage, and owing to the impassable state of the roads we had not a single piece to reply thereto. Yet onward marched Rhodes's and Reins's brigades, of Hill's division, through the woods, meeting and routing the enemy wherever making a stand. Gradually driving the enemy before him, Gen. Hill found himself opposed to vastly superior forces, and when his troops had victoriously passed through the woods to the open ground of Barker's farm — stretching to the right, left, and front of the road, and fully commanding every avenue of advance — he found the farmhouse and outhouses to the right and a long wood-pile parallel with the road, while a very large and heavily-mounted fortification stood in front, with extra pieces (howitzers) in full blast. From the breastwork, fortification, house, wood-pile, and adjacent woods, the enemy kept up a murderous fire, and the head of a regiment could not appear before fearfully assailed by these combined defences. Nor was this all. Gen. Casey and other Federal generals, finding that equal forces could not withstand ours; successively brought up brigade after brigade, and gun after gun — their roads being passable — and Hill's division was fighting against fearful odds, when some of Longstreet's division opportunely arrived, and changed the aspect of things materially, for although always advancing, our troops now took things at a run, and cheer after cheer rent the air as regiment after regiment got into action and closed with the enemy. Thus from twelve o'clock until past two, Hill had borne the brunt of the fight alone, but at that hour some wearied troops being withdrawn and fresher ones put in front instead, the fighting and firing became fast and furious. Yet no artillery was present on our side up to this time. Some of the Lynchburgh (Latham's) battery now arrived on the scene, together with one or two pieces of Carter's battery; and although horses were goaded almost to death, it was found almost impossible to move them. Unhitching their teams, for breathing time, the men jumped up to the middle in mud, and with shoulders to the wheel, after superhuman endeavors, pushed their guns along, little by little, until they entered upon the open ground, and finding the enemy in full play, opened upon them at short range, attracting all the fire upon themselves and suffering severely. Artillery never behaved more gallantly than ours, considering all things, for their guns were worked almost muzzle-deep in mud and water. The fight now (about three P. M.) was terrific. Our forces being about equal, the men were perfectly wild, and shouted, and whooped, and halloed like very demons, firing and charging in wood and “open,” to the right and left of the enemy's works, while scores were falling at every moment. The Fourth North-Carolina charged a field-work, and although under a murderous fire, took it gallantly, the flag being carried by the Major — all the color-bearers being killed or wounded. Assailing the work with great ardor, the enemy remained too long in possession, and in their hurried exit met the wings of the Fourth and other regiments, and the havoc made among them was awful. Hundreds fell at the first fire, as they issued from the work, and with uncommon speed dispersed through their yet standing camps in the rear. Yet in the distance the serried and unbroken columns of the enemy were seen advancing to retrieve the fortunes of the day, and retake the guns and camp which had fallen into our hands. Yet while this was going on in open ground, the enemy threw heavy masses of troops to the right and left, in order to flank our wings, and the fighting to the right and left was
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