terminating in low, marshy ground. A deep gully extends the length of this grove, and is spanned in the middle by a railroad bridge, the line of the railroad indicated here and there by patches of red earth, which mark its length down the left side of the valley. In this grove the enemy find concealment for a brigade, which keeps up a random fire on our troops until dislodged by a regiment sent from Hood's division. Nothing but pale clouds of smoke struggling up through the undergrowth and forests on the right indicate the presence of our forces. Now the fog has lifted, revealing the dark and heavy columns of the enemy moving down the opposite bank of the river. Far down, near the lower part of the valley, they are seen debouching. Whole fields are gleaming with bayonets. They continue to pour out upon the plain in a stream which seems to come from an inexhaustible fountain. The meadows are black with them, tens of thousands in solid columns. We can only vaguely conjecture at this distance the number. Old soldiers think there are sixty thousand, Where are our men? A solitary battery of four guns, commanded by Capt. Carter Braxton, is to seen on the plain. The fire from the enemy's battery of twenty-two guns open upon it, but it makes no reply. Other batteries direct their shots toward it; but it has evidently made up its mind not to be hurried. The enemy, now formed in three heavy columns, advanced to attack our right; on they go at double-quick toward the woods, making the earth shake under their tread, with colors flying and arms glistening in the sunlight. Where are our men? A long sheet of flame from the skirt of woods at the foot of the hills, a cloud of smoke, a roar and rattle of musketry, tell their whereabouts. The column halts and delivers a hasty fire. A continuous stream of fugitives from the front scour across the fields rearward some are halted and formed in squads, but can never be forced again to go to the front, except at the point of the bayonet. The smoke now mostly shuts the combatants from the view of the distant spectator. There is breaking of ranks among the enemy, rallying and re-rallying, but of no avail. They cannot stand the murderous fire. They give it up as a bad job. Meanwhile the battery in the field (Braxton's) has opened after long endurances, and at the right moment makes its mark. The coolness and precision with which it is handled wins the admiration of all observers. The manner of its action will be noticed hereafter in complimentary terms, in official reports. Other batteries did their work nobly, but they, with other particulars of the engagement on the right, must be noticed where each can have justice done in an extended account. The Yankees commenced the storming of the hill at half-past 11 o'clock A. M. with six brigades, and were repulsed four times with immense slaughter. They were mowed down by hundreds. Two hundred and fifty bodies were counted on a space occupied by only one regiment. The firing was kept up incessantly until three o'clock. Colonel Walton's battery held the heights, pouring a murderous fire into the advancing columns. The batteries on the various hills nobly assisted the battery on the heights, keeping up a continual stream of fire, each volley thinning the ranks of the enemy in a terrible manner. The battery of Capt. Miles C. Mason, of Richmond, covered itself with glory. The fire was opened on the storming regiments by this battery. The railroad gap at one time was filled with Yankees, when a well-directed shot from the battery exploded in their midst, killing about fifty of the hirelings. Captain Macon's battery was hotly engaged on the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, and won the admiration of all the commanding officers by the coolness and precision exhibited by the men in handling their guns. Astonishing to say, not a man of this company was killed or wounded. One rifle piece of Capt. Ewbank's battery, near the centre, has been engaged. On Saturday afternoon it played upon the Yankee brigade driven by Hill's men from the woods in front of Bernard's. This portion of the battery has been under a heavy fire for three days past, but has fortunately suffered no loss. The remainder of Capt. Ewbank's guns are so disposed that they will perform efficient service when called upon, in which event we expect to chronicle a brilliant achievement on the part of this gallant command. Late in the afternoon comes the magnificent charge of a regiment of Hood's division across the plain, routing a brigade from the line of the railroad, and while under the concentrated fire of a battalion of artillery, driving the enemy from the skirt of woods before mentioned, capturing forty-one prisoners, representing six regiments, and on the whole covering themselves with ineffaceable glory. At half-past 8 A. M. Gen. Lee, attended by his staff, rode slowly along the front of our lines, from west to east, and halted in the valley a mile to the east of Hamilton's crossing, and half a mile in the rear of our batteries on the extreme right. At nine o'clock a column of our troops, which proved to be Ewell's division, General Early commanding, advanced up the valley from the direction of Port Royal, and defiled into the woods to the left of Hamilton's crossing. The men were marching at a very leisurely pace, with a careless, swinging gait; but there was that in the quiet dignity of their demeanor which told that each though undaunted, was conscious that the next hour might be one of stern battle and death. Scarcely had the rear of this division disappeared in the woods, when directly in their front the artillery of the old Stonewall brigade--Woodis, Braxton's, and three other batteries — opened a brisk fire on the enemy's batteries north of the railroad. At this time, owing to the fog, few of the enemy's infantry were visible. After-events proved that they were lying close to the south bank of the river. The cannonading soon became general along the front of both armies. In ten
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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.