was saved to the division in its advance by this gallant attack. The temporary silence of the battery enabled the division to move up in fine style, and turn the tide of battle in our favor. “The effect of our appearance,” says General Garland, “at this opportune moment upon the enemy's flank, cheering and charging, decided the fate of the day. The enemy broke and retreated, made a second stand, which induced my immediate command to halt under cover of the roadside and return their fire, when, charging forward again, we broke and scattered them in every direction.” The statements of the Yankees themselves, and of the French princes on McClellan's staff, fully concur with General Garland that it was this final charge upon their right flank which decided the fortunes of the day. The Yankees made no further resistance, but fled in great confusion to Grapevine Bridge. It was now fairly dark, and hearing loud cheers from the Yankees in our immediate front, some two hundred yards distant, I ordered our whole advance to halt, and wait the expected attack of the enemy. Brigadier-General Winder, occupying the road to Grapevine Bridge, immediately halted, and the whole advanced columns were halted also. The cheering, as we afterwards learned, was caused by the appearance of the Irish brigade to cover the retreat. A vigorous attack upon it might have resulted in the total rout of the Yankee, army and the capture of thousands of prisoners. But I was unwilling to leave the elevated plateau around McGee's house to advance in the dark along an unknown road skirted by dense woods in the possession of the Yankee troops. The night was spent in caring for the wounded and making preparations for the morning. I drew back the advanced troops several hundred yards, to McGee's house, and sent across the swamps for my division artillery. This, however, did not come up until after sunrise next morning. All of the advanced troops of General Jackson reported to me for orders, and, with my own, were intrusted with guarding the road to Grapevine Bridge. Soon after daylight, it was discovered that the Yankees had retreated across the Chickahominy, destroying all the bridges. The Yankee General, John F. Reynolds, with his aid, was discovered in the woods by my pickets and brought to me. Major-General Jackson came up after sunrise, and assumed the command of his own and my division. My thanks are especially due to Brigadier-Generals Garland and Anderson for their skill in discovering the weak point of the Yankees, and their boldness in attacking it. Their brigades, being more exposed than the others of my command, suffered more severely. Brigadier-General Rodes was on the field, and displayed his usual coolness and judgment, though very feeble from the unhealed wound received at Seven Pines. The brigade of Brigadier-General Ripley was not engaged, owing to that officer not keeping it in hand, and not pressing vigorously in front. Colonel Colquitt, commanding brigade, in like manner, did not keep his brigade in hand, and three of his regiments did not draw trigger. The Sixth Georgia and Twenty-seventh Georgia, of this brigade, commanded by those pure, brave, noble, Christian soldiers, Lieutenant-Colonel Newton and L. B. Smith, behaved most heroically, and maintained their ground when half their number had been stricken down. My seven division batteries, under Captains Carter, Hardaway, Bondurant, Rhett, Clark, Peyton, and Nelson, were all engaged at one time or another, at Mechanicsville, and all, in like manner, at Cold Harbor. Bondurant had three men killed, ten wounded, and twenty-eight horses killed and disabled at the latter place. The other six batteries suffered but little. Under the immediate supervision of Major-General Jackson they opened across the swamp upon the Yankee batteries just before our final charge. On the twenty-eighth of June, Major-General Ewell was sent, with his division, to Dispatch Station, on the York River Railroad, while General Stuart went down to the White House, the terminus of the road. Both expeditions were completely successful, and the Yankee line of communication being thus cut, McClellan was compelled to change his base. We spent two days in destroying vast military and medical stores south of the Chickahominy, and attempted to hold the crossing, over that stream. Scouts from Hood's brigade and the Third Alabama, Rodes's brigade, succeeded in crossing, and my pioneer corps, under Captain Smith, of the engineers, repaired Grapevine Bridge on the twenty-ninth, and we crossed over that night. McLaws's division had a bloody fight at Savage Station on the afternoon of the twenty-ninth instant that night the Yankees continued their retreat, leaving eleven hundred sick and wounded in our hands. Jackson's command (my division leading) passed Savage Station early in the morning of the thirtieth instant, and followed the line of the Yankee retreat toward White Oak Creek. We picked up about a thousand prisoners, and so many arms that I detached the Fifth and Fourth North Carolina regiments to take charge of them both. At White Oak Creek we found the bridge destroyed, and the Yankee forces drawn up on the other side. Twenty-six guns from my division, and five from Whiting's division, opened a sudden and unexpected fire upon the Yankee batteries and infantry: a feeble response was attempted, but silenced in a few minutes. Munford's cavalry and my skirmishers crossed over, but the Yankees got some guns under cover of a wood, which commanded the bridge, and the cavalry was compelled to turn back. The skirmishers staid over all day and night. We attempted no further crossing that day. The hospitals and a large number of sick and wounded, at White Oak Creek, fell into our hands. Major-Generals Longstreet and A. P. Hill attacked the Yankees in flank at Frazier's farm, some two miles in advance of us, that day, and a corresponding vigorous attack by Major-General Huger on their rear must have resulted most disastrously to them. The obstacles he met, which prevented his advance,
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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