in force with strong intrenchments, mounted with artillery. I sent the brigades of Garland and Anderson to the left, to turn the position, while my other three brigades and all the division artillery were kept on the main road, ready to advance when the rear of the works was gained. The Yankees abandoned their earthworks, when Garland and Anderson gained their rear, and the whole division moved on. The shorter road, upon which Major-General Jackson marched, being obstructed, he was compelled to turn off and follow in my rear. We therefore reached Cold Harbor first, capturing a few wagons and ambulances and prisoners. The division moved up cautiously to the edge of the Powhite Swamp, where the Yankees were found to be strongly posted with ten pieces of artillery, commanding the only road upon which our guns could be moved. Captain Bondurant's battery was brought into action, but in less than half an hour was withdrawn, badly crippled. By the order of Major-General Jackson, the division was moved back to the edge of the woods, parallel to the road, to cut off the retreat of the enemy from the attack of Major-Generals Longstreet and A. P. Hill. It soon became apparent, however, that the fire on our right was receding, and that the Yankees were gaining ground. Jackson's division and mine were then ordered forward to the support of Longstreet and A. P. Hill, who had been hotly engaged for several hours. My division occupied the extreme left of the whole confederate line. The order of advance of the division was, Garland on the left, next Anderson, next Rodes, next Colquitt-Ripley being on the extreme right. In advancing we had a dense swamp to cross, with tangled undergrowth, and the radius of the wheeling circle had to be shortened. These combined causes produced much confusion, and a lapping of brigades, and the separation of regiments from their proper places. Several regiments of my division were thrown into the rear, and did not engage the enemy. The Forty-eighth Georgia and the fragments of the Forty-fourth Georgia (Ripley's brigade) were thus thrown into the rear. The Sixth and Twenty-seventh Georgia (Colquitt's brigade) were the only regiments of their brigade which drew triggers. The other three regiments of this brigade, Twenty-third Georgia, Twenty-eighth Georgia, and Thirteenth Alabama, preserved their positions in rear, but did not engage the Yankees. The Fifth and Twenty-sixth Alabama (Rodes's brigade) encountered a battery in their front, which they charged and captured. Colonel C. C. Pegues, the noble Christian commander of the Fifth Alabama, fell, mortally wounded in this charge. “Upon falling,” says General Rodes, “he called to the next officer in command, Major Hobson, and told him that the Fifth had always been in the advance, and that it was his last wish it should go ahead, and allow no regiment to pass it. Major Hobson gallantly carried out his wishes, and led the regiment constantly ahead of all others in the division, except the Twenty-sixth Alabama, which, under the brave Colonel O'Neil, kept steadily with it.” In crossing the swamp, “the Third Alabama encountered troops of our own ahead of them, and was halted. The Sixth did not, but moved on at a rapid pace into the field in front of the enemy's battery, and in face of their infantry, encountering there an enfilading fire from the battery, and a heavy fire of musketry in front, and, finding themselves unsupported, the men were required by Colonel Gordon to lie down; and finally, no support arriving, they retired under cover, in perfectly good order, and there awaited, with the Third Alabama, further orders.” In regard to the Twelfth Alabama, General Rodes, it had shifted to the left late in the evening, and joined the troops which came up on the left of Hill's division. Anderson's brigade, on the left, met the Yankees on the edge of the swamp, and was first engaged. The contest was short, but bloody, and the woods were entirely cleared of the Yankees, who fell back behind a fence and ditch and the brow of the hill. My division now occupied the edge of the wooded swamp, separated from the Yankees by an open field, some four hundred yards wide. Confederate troops upon our right (subsequently discovered to be Winder's and Lawton's brigades) were advancing across the plain to attack them. I found Generals Anderson and Garland discussing, with great enthusiasm, the propriety of attacking the Yankees in flank with their two brigades, while Lawton and Winder attacked in front. The only objection to the movement was, that a Yankee battery on our extreme left could enfilade our line on its advance. Garland observed: “I don't think it can do much harm, and I am willing to risk it.” Anderson responded in the same spirit, and I ordered an advance of the whole division. To prevent the destruction of life from the battery, I resolved to make an attempt to capture it. Two regiments of Elzey's brigade, I think, were found separated from their command, and these I ordered, under my volunteer aid, Mr. Sydnor, perfectly acquainted with the ground, to get in rear of the battery, while the Twentieth North Carolina, Colonel Iverson, the Third North Carolina, Colonel Meares, and the First North Carolina, commanded by Captain H. A. Brown, were ordered to make a direct advance. Unfortunately, Colonel Iverson alone carried out his orders fully. Says General Garland: “Colonel Iverson was seriously wounded at an early period, while gallantly leading up his regiment to take the battery. The regiment, after he was wounded, was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin J. Faison. They advanced gallantly and took the battery, which they held for ten minutes. The gallant Faison received a mortal wound in the very act of turning a captured piece upon the flying foe. He was greatly beloved, and his memory will be cherished with veneration and pride. The enemy soon returned to the battery, and the regiment, having sustained a loss of seventy killed and two hundred and two wounded, and being without support, retired by order of Major Toon.” Heavy as was this loss, no doubt a greater loss
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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