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[326] the next morning, (twenty-seventh,) the three divisions resumed the march, General Ewell in the lead.

After crossing Beaver Dam, we halted to dislodge a force of the enemy, observed upon our right, near the intersection of the road then occupied by us with the road leading from Mechanicsville to Bethesda Church; but the Federals observing the division of General D. H. Hill, then coming into view, and which was advancing from Mechanicsville toward the point of intersection, and at the same time seeing General Ewell moving down from my command, they promptly abandoned their position and fell back.

The enemy seen by us, as before stated, on our right, having fallen back, and the road being open for pressing further along his rear, the march was resumed toward Walnut Grove Church, where I again halted until General A. P. Hill came up. Continuing to carry out the plan of the commanding general, I inclined to the left, and advanced on Cold Harbor, whilst General A. P. Hill moved toward the same point by a different road to the right.

The enemy having obstructed the road which I had taken, and adopted the additional precaution to delay my march by defending the obstructions with sharp-shooters, it became necessary, for the purpose of saving time, to take a road still further to the left. The time consumed in this delay threw me in rear of General D. H. Hill, who had moved by Bethesda Church. Upon reaching and passing Cold Harbor about half a mile, his division was opened upon by a heavy fire from a position on his right, and also from artillery in his front. Soon after, General A. P. Hill became engaged, and being unacquainted with the ground, and apprehensive from what appeared to me to be the respective positions of the confederate and Federal forces engaged, that if I then pressed forward our troops would be mistaken for the enemy and be fired into, and hoping that General A. P. Hill and Longstreet would soon drive the Federals toward me, I directed General D. H. Hill to move his division to the left of the road, so as to leave between him and the wood on the right of the road, an open space, across which I hoped the enemy would be driven.

Thus arranged, it was in our power to distinguish friend from foe in case the enemy should be driven as expected. Major-General Stuart, who had been covering my left with his cavalry, was also posted so as to charge, should the Federals attempt a retreat to the Pamunkey by Cold Harbor.

But it soon becoming apparent, from the direction and sound of the firing, that General A. P. Hill was hard pressed, I ordered a general advance of my entire corps, which commenced with General D. H. Hill upon my left, and extending to the right, through Ewell's, Jackson's, and Whiting's divisions, posted from left to right in the order named. The Federal commander had withdrawn his troops from their positions west of the Powhite — a small tributary of the Chickahominy — and had concentrated them in strong positions near Cold Harbor, and east of that creek. The ground which had been selected to receive our attack, had natural advantages for defence, and was strengthened by artificial works. His forces were posted upon an elevated ridge, running nearly parallel to the Chickahominy, his right resting near McGee's house, and his left upon an abrupt bluff, surmounted by artillery, and protected by a deep ravine and a double line of breastworks for infantry. This position, on the ridge, was further favored on his right by points still more elevated, rising in his rear, well adapted for batteries, from which a destructive fire could be maintained against an advancing line over the heads of his own infantry. In his front was a wood of deep and tangled undergrowth, through which a sluggish stream passed, converting into swamp or marsh the adjacent soil. This natural obstruction was further increased by felled timber, designed to retard the advance of our troops, and to keep them as long as possible exposed to fire. In advancing to the attack, General D. H. Hill had to cross this swamp, densely covered with tangled undergrowth and young timber. This caused some confusion, and a separation of regiments. On the further edge of the swamp he encountered the enemy. The conflict was fierce and bloody. The Federals fell back from the wood, under the protection of a fence, ditch, and hill. Separated now from them by an open field, some four hundred yards wide, he promptly determined to press forward. Before doing so, however, it was necessary to capture a battery on his left, which could enfilade his line on its advance. To effect this, he sent two regiments of Elzey's brigade, which had become separated from their command, to go in rear of the battery, and ordered Colonel Iverson, with the Twentieth North-Carolina and the First and Third North-Carolina regiments, to make the attack in front. The order was promptly and gallantly obeyed and carried into execution by Colonel Iverson, with the Twentieth North-Carolina. He was severely wounded in the advance. The battery was captured with severe loss, and held for a short time, sufficiently long, however, to enable the division to move on free from its terrible fire, when it was retaken by the enemy. Again pressing forward, the Federals again fell back, but only to select a position for a more obstinate defence, when, at dark, under the pressure of our batteries, which had then begun to play with marked effect upon the left, of the other concurring events of the field, and of the bold and dashing charge of General Hill's infantry, in which the troops of General C. S. Winder joined, the enemy yielded the field and fled in disorder.

In the mean time, General Ewell, on General D. H. Hill's right, had moved the Fourth brigade, General Elzey, to the left of the road, passing from Gaines's house to McGee's, and a portion of the Seventh, General Trimble, and the Eighth brigade, into the wood on the right of that road. Having crossed the swamp, and commenced the


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