previous next

[374] regiments of Georgia volunteers, marched from its position near the Williamsburg road, about five miles from Richmond, to a point in the vicinity of the batteries commanding the bridge over the Chickahominy River, on the Mechanicsville turnpike.

With other troops at that point, the brigade lay waiting orders until nearly four o'clock P. M., when it was ordered to cross the Chickahominy in the advance of the division, and effect a junction with the troops of Major-General A. P. Hill's command, then moving down the Chickahominy in the direction of Mechanicsville. The order was executed, and the infantry crossed at once, forming line of battle across the road leading to the village, about half a mile in advance of the bridge.

Upon communicating with General A. P. Hill, I was informed that the enemy had a strong and well-served battery and force in position near Ellison's Mills, something over a mile to the east of the road, to attack which he had sent Brigadier-General Pender's brigade by the right, and other troops to the left, and it was arranged that my brigade was to cooperate. The enemy had opened on the Mechanicsville road, and was rapidly verifying the range. My brigade changed front, and advanced to the brow of the hill opposite the enemy's battery, expecting, if possible, to use artillery in the attack. While the troops were in motion, I received orders to assault the enemy, from General Lee, and also from Major-General D. H. Hill, the latter of whom directed me to send two regiments to support General Pender on my right, and attack the battery in front with the remainder of my force.

The Forty-fourth Georgia, under Colonel Robert A. Smith, and the First North Carolina, under Colonel Stokes, marched at once to the right, while the Forty-eighth Georgia, under Colonel Gibson, and third North Carolina, under Colonel Meares, moved to a position in front of the enemy on their left.

Meanwhile, the passage of the Chickahominy by the artillery had been impeded by the broken bridges, and night coming on, and it being deemed important to attack the position at once, the advance was ordered along the whole line.

General Pender's brigade and the two regiments of my own advanced rapidly on the right, while the remainder of my command moved against the front, driving back the enemy from his advanced positions, and closing in upon the batteries and their heavy infantry supports, all of which poured upon our troops a heavy and incessant fire of shell, canister, and musketry. The ground was rugged and intersected by ditches and hedges, and covered with abatis a short distance in front of the position to be assaulted. A mill-race, with scared banks, and in some places waist-deep in water, ran alone the front of the enemy at a distance ranging from fifty to one hundred yards. To this position our troops succeeded in advancing, notwithstanding the fire of the enemy was exceedingly heavy and our loss extremely severe. Of the Forty-fourth Georgia, Colonel Robert A. Smith and Lieutenant-Colonel Ester fell wounded, the former mortally, besides two Captains and ten Lieutenants killed and wounded. Of the First North Carolina, Colonel Stokes was mortally and Lieutenant-Colonel McDowell severely wounded, and Major Skinner killed, with six Captains and Lieutenants of the regiment killed and wounded, including the Adjutant.

The Forty-eighth Georgia and Third North Carolina had a more advantageous position, and suffered less severely than the former regiments, although the Third lost its Major, (Savage,) wounded.

The loss of non-commissioned officers and privates was heavy in the extreme, amounting in the Forty-fourth Georgia to three hundred and twenty-one, and in the First North Carolina to one hundred and thirty-three. Near dark, Captain Burnet Rhett's battery of artillery, attached to my command, succeeded in crossing the broken bridges over the Chickahominy, and was located directly in front of the enemy, at about twelve hundred yards distant. Captain Rhett opened an effective fire, and soon relieved our infantry from the storm of the shell and canister which had been poured upon them. It was soon reinforced by another battery, and a fire was kept up on the enemy until late in the evening. Some time after nightfall, under cover of the cannonade, our troops were withdrawn to a point of woods a few hundred yards distant, near the angle of our line of battle, which position was held by the Third North Carolina and Forty-eighth Georgia, and a portion of General Pender's brigade. The fragments of the First North Carolina and Forty-fourth Georgia, were rallied some distance in the rear, under some difficulty, owing to the loss of all their field and many of their company officers, who fell while gallantly performing their duty.

During the night, the enemy was engaged destroying and removing his stores; but the darkness and the intricacies of the position prevented an attack by our troops.

At about twelve o'clock, Colonel Colquitt's brigade advanced to within supporting distance of my command. At about half past 2 on the morning of the twenty-seventh, my own and Colonel Colquitt's brigade were relieved by Generals Featherston and Pryor, and moved to a position near and beyond Mechanicsville, on the turnpike, where they remained under a fire of shot and shell from the enemy's batteries along that road, until the latter were turned by our troops in advance, or silenced by our artillery.

The brigade then moved forward, with the division, on the road to Cold Harbor, and was held for a short time in reserve after arriving at that point. It then consisted of the Third North Carolina and Fortieth Georgia, with a battalion of the First North Carolina, under Captain H. A. Brown, and but a fragment of the Forty-fourth Georgia, which had been sadly cut up. Some portions of both the latter regiments were, as I have been informed, ordered by General Lee to act as a guard at the Chickahominy Bridge, on the

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.
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Chickahominy (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. D. Pender (4)
M. S. Stokes (2)
Robert A. Smith (2)
Burnet Rhett (2)
S. D. Lee (2)
A. P. Hill (2)
A. H. Colquitt (2)
Skinner (1)
Savage (1)
Roger A. Pryor (1)
Gaston Meares (1)
McDowell (1)
D. H. Hill (1)
B. W. Gibson (1)
W. S. Featherston (1)
Ester (1)
H. A. Brown (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: