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[338] in line of battle to my right, and press through the woods to the firing, which now became very heavy. This was at once done. The Texas brigade on the left, and Laws's on the right, a regiment of each in reserve, the troops forced their way, in good order, in line of battle, through a dense forest and swamp. We came out on the telegraph road, in a heavy but distant fire of artillery, about four P. M. At this point I met several aids of different Generals, all desiring assistance, and informing me that the troops of both Generals D. H. and A. P. Hill were hard pressed. Advancing, I shortly met the Commander-in-Chief, who indicated a direction a little to my right.

The field, where we entered it, was about the head of the ravine which covered the enemy's left near the main road, a deep and steep chasm dividing the bluffs of the Chickahominy. On the left side of this, as we forded, General Hood put forward the first Texas and Hampton's legion. Men were leaving the field in every direction, and in great disorder; two regiments, one from South Carolina and one from Louisiana, were actually marching back from the fire. The first Texas was ordered to go over them and through them, which they did. The remaining Texas' regiments were rapidly advanced, forming line on the right of the ravine, and the Thirtieth again on their right, and, pressing on the whole time, came under the enemy's fire. Here, from the nature of the ground and position of the enemy, the Third changed front obliquely to the left, bringing its front parallel to the ravine.

The enemy, concealed in the woods and protected by the ravine, poured a destructive fire upon the advancing line for a quarter of a mile, and many brave officers and men fell. Near the crest, in front of us, and lying down, appeared the fragments of a brigade. Men were skulking from the front in a shameful manner; the woods on our left and rear were full of troops in safe cover, from which they never stirred; but, on the right of the Third, a brigade, “Pickett's,” were moving gallantly up. Still farther, on our extreme right, our troops appeared to be falling back.

The Texans had now come up, and joined line on the left, led by General Hood, and the gallant Fourth, at the double-quick, when the word was given to charge, and the whole line, consisting of the Fourth and Fifth Texas, Eighteenth Georgia, Fourth Alabama, and Sixth North Carolina, (the Second Mississippi being held in partial reserve, but advancing with the line,) charged the ravine with a yell--General Hood and Colonel Law gallantly leading their men. At the bottom ran a deep and difficult branch, with scarped sides, answering admirably as a ditch. Over against this was a strong log breastwork, heavily manned; above this, near the crest, another breastwork, supported by well-served batteries and a heavy force of infantry — the steep slope, clad with an open growth of timber, concealing the enemy, but affording full view of our movements. Spite of these terrible obstacles, over ditch and breast-work, hill, batteries, and infantry, the division swept, routing the enemy from their stronghold. Many pieces of artillery were taken, fourteen in all, and nearly a whole regiment of the enemy. These prisoners were turned over by Colonel Robinson, Fifth Texas, to Brigadier-General Pryor, or some of his staff. The enemy continued to fight, in retreat, with stubborn resistance, and it soon appeared that we had to deal with his best troops. On gaining the second line, and seeing the heavy force, apprehensive that he might rally, I went to Major-General Longstreet for reenforcements. He immediately sent forward Brigadier-General R. H. Anderson, who went on my right, and engaged and drove the enemy most handsomely on the lower part of the plateau, the enemy being there, as, indeed, they appeared everywhere, in superior numbers. In the mean time, my division continued steadily to advance, though suffering heavily, until night found them completely across the plateau, and beyond the battle-field. Pickett's brigade had ably fought on the right; the General himself was wounded in the charge. The troops on my immediate left I do not know, and am glad I don't. Those that did come up were much broken, and no entreaty or command could induce them forward, and I have reason to believe that the greater part never left the cover of the wood on the west side of the ravine.

The battle was very severe, hotly contested and gallantly won, and I take pleasure in calling special attention to the Fourth Texas regiment, which, led by the Brigadier, Hood, was the first to break the enemy's line and enter his works. Its brave old Colonel, Marshall, fell in the charge on the hither side of the ravine. The stubborn resistance, maintained all day, faltered from that moment, and the day was gained. Of the other regiments of the division, it would be invidious and unjust to name one before the other. They were equally distinguished, and as they became engaged, went on in the murderous fire with unfaltering determination. Towards the close of the fire, I detached the Second Mississippi and Butler's battery to the extreme right, to open fire on the retreating masses of the enemy, endeavoring to make their way to the edge of the swamp.

When the action closed, my line was in advance of the guns, (they captured fourteen in number,) closing to the left on General Lawton's troops of General Jackson's army, and covered on the right by General R. H. Anderson. Of my staff I cannot speak too highly; the chief, Major J. H. Hill, fell painfully wounded while leading the charge; the chivalrous Major Austin E. Smith, A. D. C., received a mortal wound in the same onset. Colonel Upson, Captain Frobel, and Captain Tansill were among the foremost in the fray. Here, also, as in many previous battles, Captain Vander Horst, of S. C., gave a notable example. Major Randolph, by special order, remained with the ammunition. Though not on my staff, I should not do right not to mention the chivalrous daring of young Major Haskill, of South Carolina, belonging, as I am told, to the staff of General D.


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