road, in the wood, advancing to the edge in front, and holding that. This was done by the third (Laws's) brigade. The line, continued by Hood, extended across Poindexter's field, the men lying down, concealed by the wheat and the roll of the ground. I had been strengthened by the third brigade, of Jackson's division proper, under the command of Brigadier-General Hampton. This was held in reserve. Trimble's brigade, of Ewell's division, supported my extreme left. This disposition I was directed to maintain — the general attack of our forces being intended to be made, as soon as practicable, on the extreme right — the enemy's left. In the mean time, it became apparent from our position that the enemy had divined the movement. Their artillery fire, which had been very severe upon my batteries and troops, ceased, and heavy columns were discovered in movement for disposition on their left. After some time, the movement of baggage and troops in retreat, by the Turkey Bridge road, could be plainly observed. After the attack commenced on the right, my division, with the exception of two regiments on the right of my lines, which was near our centre, and some of the Texas skirmishers, had nothing to do with the battle, except to suffer a murderous artillery fire, which they did unflinchingly. Personally, assisted by my staff, I was called upon to direct the artillery fire, which I continued to do during the afternoon. From my point of view, the enemy appeared to fight with great stubbornness, and our attack to have made but little impression upon him. He deployed, at one time, six batteries in front of our centre. Upon opening in this deployment with artillery, they, together with the stationary batteries already in position, and which we had been engaging at times during the day, all opened a terrific fire upon Poindexter's field. Our gunners replied with spirit, but, from want of ammunition, the contest was too unequal, and I caused them successively to withdraw. This cross-fire was excessively severe upon the supporting troops. Towards night, learning that the centre was pressed hard, I received orders to direct General Trimble to move over from the left to that point, and commenced to close my own troops into the right, when night fell: with it the battle, which had raged with great fury, ceased. For an hour after nightfall the enemy shelled the woods and Poindexter's field with rapid and heavy firing. This indicated another withdrawal. My troops remained in position all night. The advanced scouts confirmed the withdrawal of the enemy during the night, leaving their dead and wounded. Of affairs on our centre and right I can give no account. My list of casualties is almost entirely from the artillery fire of the enemy, for scarcely a musket was fired in the division. When the immense amount of their artillery is considered, the violence and duration of their fire, and the exposed position of the troops, the loss, thanks to God, may be regarded as small, while the courage and unflinching endurance of the troops are worthy of the highest praise. The following is the list of the killed and wounded:
I regret that I do not know the names of the different commanders of batteries who reported to me during the day, or the designation of their artillery.
Captain Balthis behaved with great skill and gallantry, and was wounded.
All fought with great spirit, but labored under much disadvantage from want of ammunition.
Wednesday morning, the second, a very heavy rain set in; the troops remained in bivouac, cooking.
Thursday, Major-General Jackson's corps marched to take the road to Westover, but missed it, and bivouacked near Willis's Church.
Friday, continued the march, arriving about two P. M. at Herring Creek, where the enemy's outposts were discovered intrenched.
No further active operations occurred in which this division took any part.
|Fifth North Carolina,||0||64|
W. H. C. Whiting, Brigadier-General commanding Division.
General McLaws's Report.
Headquarters division, July 20, 1862.The following is a report of the operations of my command, composed of the brigades of Generals Kershaw and Semmes, commencing on twenty-sixth ultimo, and ending July first, 1862. On the twenty-sixth, I received orders to hold my command in readiness for any movement. None was, however, made. On the twenty-seventh, the troops were under arms at daylight. The lookouts, posted in trees, overlooking the enemy's camps, near the railroad, reported that the works of the enemy were being strengthened, more guns being placed in the redoubts near the railroad, and all the works numerously manned. About eleven o'clock, orders were received to feel the enemy with two regiments. The movement was delayed until about four o'clock, when the Seventh and Eighth South Carolina, Colonels Aiken and Hennegan, advanced as far as the abatis of the enemy, under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry. Finding the enemy in strong force, occupying their works, the regiments were withdrawn, returning to camp about ten o'clock
To General Magruder's Adjutant-General:
To General Magruder's Adjutant-General: