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[269] a range of hills, with his right resting in the vicinity of McGehee's house, and his left near that of Dr. Gaines, on a wooded bluff, which rose abruptly from a deep ravine. The ravine was filled with sharp-shooters, to whom its banks gave protection. A second line of infantry was stationed on the side of the hill, behind a breastwork of trees, above the first. A third occupied the crest, strengthened with rifle-trenches, and crowned with artillery. The approach to this position was over an open plain, about a quarter of a mile wide, commanded by this triple line of fire, and swept by the heavy batteries south of the Chickahominy. In front of his centre and right the ground was generally open, bounded on the side of our approach by a wood, with dense and tangled undergrowth, and traversed by a sluggish stream, which converted the soil into a deep morass. The woods on the further side of the swamp were occupied by sharp-shooters, and trees had been felled to increase the difficulty of its passage and detain our advancing columns, under the fire of infantry, massed on the slopes of the opposite hills, and of their batteries on their crests. Pressing on toward the York River Railroad, A. P. Hill, who was in advance, reached the vicinity of New Cold Harbor about two P. M., where he encountered the enemy. He immediately formed his line nearly parallel to the road leading from that place toward McGehee's house, and soon became hotly engaged. The arrival of Jackson on our left was momentarily expected, and it was supposed that his approach would cause the extension of the enemy's line in that direction. Under this impression Longstreet was held back until this movement should commence. The principal part of the Federal army was now on the north side of the Chickahominy. Hill's single division met this large force with the impetuous courage for which that officer and his troops are distinguished. They drove the enemy back and assailed him in his strong position on the ridge. The battle raged fiercely, and with varying fortune, more than two hours. Three regiments pierced the enemy's line and forced their way to the crest of the hill on his left, but were compelled to fall back before overwhelming numbers. The superior force of the enemy, assisted by the fire of his batteries south of the Chickahominy, which played incessantly on our columns, as they pressed through the difficulties that obstructed their way, caused them to recoil. Though most of the men had never been under fire until the day before, they were rallied, and in return repelled the advance of the enemy. Some brigades were broken; others stubbornly maintained their positions; but it became apparent that the enemy were gradually gaining ground. The attack on our left being delayed by the length of Jackson's march and the obstacles he encountered, Longstreet was ordered to make a diversion in Hill's favor, by a feint on the enemy's left. In making this demonstration, the great strength of the position already described was discovered, and General Longstreet perceived that, to render the diversion effectual, the feint must be converted into an attack. He resolved, with characteristic promptness, to carry the heights by assault. His column was quickly formed near the open ground, and as his preparations were completed Jackson arrived, and his right division, that of Whiting, took position on the left of Longstreet. At the same time D. H. Hill formed on our extreme left, and after a short but bloody conflict, forced his way through the morass and obstructions, and drove the enemy from the woods on the opposite side. Ewell advanced on Hill's right and engaged the enemy furiously. The first and fourth brigades of Jackson's own division filled the interval between Ewell and A. P. Hill. The second and third were sent to the right. The arrival of these fresh troops enabled A. P. Hill to withdraw some of his brigades, wearied and reduced by their long and arduous conflict. The line being now complete, a general advance from right to left was ordered. On the right the troops moved forward with steadiness, unchecked by the terrible fire from the triple lines of infantry on the hill, and the cannon on both sides of the river, which burst upon them as they emerged upon the plain. The dead and wounded marked the way of their intrepid advance; the brave Texans leading, closely followed by their no less daring comrades. The enemy were driven from the ravine to the first line of breastworks, over which our impetuous column dashed up to the intrenchments on the crest. These were quickly stormed, fourteen pieces of artillery captured, and the enemy driven into the field beyond. Fresh troops came to his support, and he endeavored repeatedly to rally, but in vain. He was forced back with great slaughter until he reached the woods on the banks of the Chickahominy, and night put an end to the pursuit. Long lines of dead and wounded marked each stand made by the enemy in his stubborn resistance, and the field over which he retreated was strewn with the slain. On the left the attack was no less vigorous and successful. D. H. Hill charged across the open ground in his front, one of his regiments having first bravely carried a battery whose fire enfiladed his advance. Gallantly supported by the troops on his right, who pressed forward with unfaltering resolution, he reached the crest of the ridge, and after a sanguinary struggle, broke the enemy's line, captured several of his batteries, and drove him in confusion toward the Chickahominy, until darkness rendered further pursuit impossible. Our troops remained in undisturbed possession of the field covered with the Federal dead and wounded, and their broken forces fled to the river or wandered through the woods. Owing to the nature of the country, the cavalry was unable to participate in the general engagement. It rendered valuable services in guarding Jackson's flank, and took a large number of prisoners. On the morning of the twenty-eighth it was ascertained that none of the enemy remained in our front north of the Chickahominy. As he might yet intend to give battle to preserve his communications, the Ninth cavalry, supported by

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A. P. Hill (5)
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T. J. Jackson (2)
R. S. Ewell (2)
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