than ever witnessed before by old campaigners, leaving a large number of killed and wounded to the fortunes of war. Beaten and driven in disgrace from their camps and earthworks on the Williamsburgh road, the enemy made a bold attempt to regain the lost ground by a vigorous flank movement down the York River Railroad, thinking thus to retrieve the fortunes of the day and place things as they were in the morning. Heavy firing consequently commenced between five and six P. M., to the left of the Williamsburgh road, near the seven-mile post, on the York River Railroad, but Oddaway's battery and a brigade in waiting received their advance with such ardor that, without any preliminary, the Tennesseeans and others threw themselves upon the Federals, drove in their skirmishers, attacked the main force, and, up to the middle in water, assailed the battery before them, and took it with the bayonet. The fighting in this direction was not of long duration, but of great intensity and noise, Imboden's (or Oddaway's) field-pieces being worked with remarkable precision and celerity, expediting the enemy's retreat within a short time. The enthusiasm of the men on the left of the Williamsburgh road could not be restrained. Shout after shout rent the air, and it did not even subside when actually engaged themselves late in the evening; for, although not personally with them, we could well mark their successful advance by the dying sounds of their wild shouts in the woods. Thus, then, when darkness had fairly set in upon the scene, the enemy's attempt upon our lines at two points had disastrously failed, and the foe driven three miles beyond their original position of the morning, with a total loss of twelve or fifteen guns, thousands of killed and wounded, and immense stores of every description. Yet what pen can describe the scene presented on every side? Friend and foe scattered far and wide, in death, or in last agonies. Here and there are deserted camps — dead and dying fill the tents — horses wounded and lame rush to and fro — here are artillerymen, some Federals, some confederate, wounded or dead, within a few feet of each other — every wound known to the human body is seen in ghastly reality. All crave water, and crawling through mud, lap the blood-stained and slimy flood. Some curse, some moan and turn their eyes toward heaven sadly. Rebels hand around water to their late foes, and eyes glisten in thankfulness. Squads of prisoners are seen issuing from the woods in divers places, and scowl upon their captors ominously, while others whistle and joke along the road as if infinitely gratified at being captured. Here comes a stalwart Alabamian, left hand shattered and in a sling, carrying off triumphantly the colors of the Fifth Pennsylvania volunteers, keeping a watchful eye on the standard-bearer at his side, who scowls, hangs low his head and ignominiously drags his slow length along. “I wouldn't have surrendered my colors,” said he, with the air of a poltroon, “but I was assisting a wounded officer, and was surrounded by three regiments.” A very probable story, say all the soldiers. Presently there appears a long line of “bluejackets,” conducted by a few of the Fifth South-Carolina volunteers--really, we beg pardon, we should have said “Col. Jenkins's First regiment South-Carolina sharp-shooters!” and let us add, en passant, that no regiment did better service than this corps, while the Fourth suffered severely. Our wounded truly were very numerous, but they trudged along quite philosophically But we must confess that among the whole number we did not see half so much complaint as was witnessed with a small squad of Yankees, who pitched, and tossed, and howled in an outrageous manner, even intimidating those of the ambulance corps, who hurried to their relief. “All right, fellows,” said one of our boys, coming from the front desperately wounded, and laughing withal--“Go in, boys, and finish — we have driven them as far as legs would carry us. We got one hundred barrels of whisky, so hurrah for us!” But while in the hurry and confusion incident to an engagement of this nature, we must confess that the arrangements and plans of our Generals for repelling the foe were of the most admirable nature, and elicited hearty applause from all who observed; but then, we know they had troops, the finest in the whole world, and men, indeed, who knew not what danger was. To particularize, we cannot for want of space and time-sufficient to say, that Saturday's operations ended in another “Federal victory(!)” Expecting a resumption of hostilities on Sunday, every preparation was made therefor, and at an early hour, the enemy commenced to advance down York River Railroad; but General Mahone's brigade (Huger's command) met them and gallantly drove them backwards again, although manfully attempting to regain the position lost the evening before. We are sorry to add that in this engagement the Third Alabama lost Col. Lomax and Adjt. Johnson, while the Twelfth Virginia, and Richmond Grays particularly, lost many valuable men. The Ninth Virginia did not act so well. The enemy were particularly active with artillery, and accurately shelled the ambulance train on the York River road. Operations along the line yesterday were not of a very important nature, the enemy being intent upon preparing for their main attack today, Monday. We are sorry to say that our officers suffered severely in the two days operations, and among others we would add Gen. Garland had three horses shot under him, and was severely hurt before relinquishing his command in the field. Gen. Pettigrew was killed, Col. Lomax, Sixth Alabama, Col. Hatton, Seventh Tennessee, and others, and as to the number of subordinate officers, the list is a long and fearful one. Time and space preclude the possibility of further details — to-day is big with fate! may Providence aid us in our cause, and may historians yet chronicle a second Marathon. Later in the evening the enemy appeared in force near the battle-field of the morning, then held by our men. Gen. Mahone's brigade still
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.