previous next

[360] who had been felt, according to General Lee's instructions, during the night, were still in position. Making the necessary dispositions as rapidly as possible, which could not be properly done in the darkness of the preceding night, I advanced a line of battle, capturing some prisoners and a hospital of wounded men. I found that the troops in front were only a small rear guard, a portion of whom made their escape. My skirmishers soon came in contact with those of General Jackson; but, fortunately, recognizing each other, a collision was avoided. Being anxious to pursue these slight successes by pressing on the retiring enemy, I desired, after the junction with General Jackson's forces, to continue my direct movement to the front, and volunteered, with my command, to lead in the pursuit of the enemy. General Jackson replied that his troops were fresher than mine; and General Lee then directed me to proceed by the Quaker road, and to form on the right of Jackson. Having been provided with three guides, soldiers born in the immediate neighborhood, who knew thoroughly all the roads, I put my troops in motion, right in front, to march on the Quaker road, which was nearly parallel to that on which Jackson marched, with a view of forming a line of battle to the left, and thus occupying that road, and resting my left on Jackson's right. General Longstreet having expressed some doubt as to the road in question being the Quaker road, I examined the guides separately, and was satisfied that they were right. I informed him that if he would give me an order to move by any other road I would obey it with pleasure. This he declined to do. I therefore marched, as originally ordered, about a mile and a half on this road. General Longstreet, who had now overtaken me, expressed again his convictions that this could not be the Quaker road, and desired that I should return to another road, parallel to this, but nearer to Jackson's right. An order to the same effect having been communicated by a staff officer of General Lee, about this time, I marched in the new direction. It turned out, however, that the road to and along which I had been marching, following the guides, was, and is, the Quaker road — the only one universally known as such by the people in that country. [See the affidavits of the three guides and Mr. Binford, marked No. 4, &c.] General Lee then directed me to place my troops on the right of Huger, who, in the mean time, had formed on the right of Jackson. This I did as far as the ground would permit, placing my three divisions en echelon to the right and rear. I had scarcely made these arrangements, when I received an order from General Longstreet to support General Armistead on his right. Barksdale's brigade being already to his right and rear, I ordered Cobb's to his immediate support, preceded by the Sixteenth Georgia regiment, armed with Enfield rifles, which he placed still farther to his right flank, as skirmishers, to protect it, whilst the infantry of Cobb's legion was posted to protect the artillery. The enemy had for some time previous opened a heavy cannonade on the position occupied by my troops, from the effects of which a caisson exploded, and we were in danger of losing our men.

Having proceeded to the front, in advance of Cobb's brigade, I reconnoitred the enemy's position, in company with Lieutenant Phillips and Colonel Edmunds, sent by General Armistead. From two points in the open field the enemy could be well seen. I found a part of General Armistead's brigade lying in order of battle, under the brow of a hill, covered by wood, through which a road passed, parallel to the edge of the field occupied by the enemy. The wood through which my troops had to pass to reach this road, was very dense, and the ground very difficult. I immediately selected this road as the best position to form troops designed to operate against the enemy, whilst the hill and wood in front afforded a strong position for a permanent line of battle. In this reconnaissance, I found the enemy to be strongly posted on the crest of a hill commanding an undulating field between us, which fell off to our right into a plain or meadow, a portion of the latter bordering on the Quaker road, from which I had just returned. The enemy having reached these heights, and placed himself in communication with his gunboats on the river, I was satisfied from the position of his lines, and from the cheering which had taken place when his troops were thus reassembled, that the whole army of McClellan was in our front. His batteries of artillery were numerous, and were collected into (2) two large bodies, strongly supported by infantry, and commanded perfectly the meadow on our right, and the field in our front, except the open ravines formed by the undulations of the ground. Beyond the hill, to the rear of that occupied by the enemy, since known as “Malvern Hill,” firing had taken place in the morning from a battery posted in that direction, which also commanded the meadow, or a considerable portion of it. The field in which the batteries nearest to us were placed, is called “Crew's farm,” and the best line of approach to these batteries seemed to be to the right and front, under the cover of the hills formed by the falling off of this field into the meadow. General Armistead having informed me that General Longstreet would send him two batteries, I deemed such an artillery force inadequate, and soon after I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel S. D. Lee, Chief of Artillery, to bring up from all the batteries thirty rifle pieces, if possible. With these I hoped to shatter the enemy's infantry; but as they did not arrive, the interval was, perhaps, too brief before I was ordered to make the attack. Returning rapidly to the position occupied by the remainder of my troops, I gave Brigadier-General Jones the necessary orders for the advance of his division, composed of Anderson's and Toombs's brigades, one of which (Anderson's) had already occupied the position lately held by Cobb. Whilst this was being done, a heavy and crushing fire was opened from the enemy's guns, of great range and metal. About this time, I received an order from Colonel Chilton, stating that an order had been given to General

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Quaker (West Virginia, United States) (6)
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Malvern Hill (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: