late in the afternoon, this brigade, along with the rest of the division, (and Major-General Longstreet's,) crossed the Chickahominy, and was drawn up in line of battle under the crest of a hill on the right of the turnpike, just in the rear of Anderson's brigade. In taking this position, the brigade was exposed to a severe artillery fire from the works of the enemy on the Beaver Dam Creek. The fire ceasing as night closed in, the men slept upon their arms, in line of battle. At an early hour on the morning of the twenty-seventh, we were put in motion to move off to the position assigned the division, in echelon, to Major-General Jackson's column on the left, as we swept down the Chickahominy. To reach this position, it was necessary to cross the Beaver Dam Creek. The line of the Mechanicsville turnpike being still obstructed by an earthwork of the enemy, where they had artillery and some infantry, while our artillery engaged that of the enemy, and part of the division remained to support it, this brigade, along with that of General Anderson, moved up a road more to the left, and turning in through the country, and crossing the creek higher up, at a secret ford, turned the position of the enemy, and gained the Mechanicsville turnpike again, without firing a shot. The enemy, meanwhile, withdrew their guns and retired, leaving the way open for the artillery to come up from Mechanicsville, and the other brigades also. The whole division was now re-united, and effected a junction with Major-General Jackson's forces near where the road from Pale Green Church crosses the turnpike. From thence we moved to Jackson's left, and taking the circuitous route by the Bethesda Church, proceeded to Cold Harbor, and thence towards New Cold Harbor, which point we reached early in the afternoon of Friday, twenty-seventh. As we approached a road crossing the line of our route, near New Cold Harbor, the enemy was discovered in line of battle, with artillery, to oppose our progress. Their position was quite a strong one, and dispositions were made for an engagement. Captain Bondurant's battery, of this brigade, being brought up to the front, took position just to the right of the road, and Anderson's brigade being in line of battle on the right, this brigade was placed in line of battle on the left of, and perpendicular to, the road by which we had advanced; the Fifth North Carolina on the right, holding a little copse of timber just next the battery and the road, the rest of the line in the edge of a second growth of diminutive pines, which should be called a jungle, not a piece of timber, through which I threw forward a line of skirmishers to the further side, next and near to the enemy. These skirmishers found themselves on one side of a valley, through the bottom of which ran a ditch, the ground rising to a crest on the other side, where, in the edge of the woods, the enemy's lines extended, being some four hundred yards off. Their line of battle seems oblique to our own, and in my view, the advance of my own brigade in line of battle through the tangled growth in front seemed impracticable, and further liable to the objection that my right flank would be exposed to the fire of the enemy's line, posted obliquely to my own. These views were stated to the General of division, and determined the direction of the subsequent movement of the brigade. An active artillery fight was now carried on for some time, in which Captain Bondurant's battery was engaged. That fine officer, his men and officers, behaved well, and rendered an effective fire. But the enemy soon ascertaining the exact range, and bringing up heavier metal, Captain Bondurant sustained a loss of two killed and one mortally wounded, since dead, making three, and fourteen wounded; and twenty-eight horses killed and disabled. He was now relieved and sent to the rear, having fired nearly all his rounds. Captain Bondurant had also been engaged at Mechanicsville on Thursday evening. Major-General Jackson arriving on our part of the field, a change was made in the disposition of our infantry forces, equivalent to a change of front to rear, on the left battalion of my brigade, the expectation being that the enemy would be rolled back upon us, and received by us in this new position. The sounds of an active engagement were now heard going on, immediately in front of the last position, and perceiving that the result was doubtful, brigade after brigade of our division was ordered to proceed toward the sound of the firing. To do this, all had to cross an open field, several hundred yards wide, under a vigorous enfilading fire of artillery, and gain a skirt of timber covering a ravine, some half a mile in front. This brigade was ordered forward last, to go to the support of the others, this being deemed more judicious on the whole than to charge the enemy's batteries and infantry supports, already referred to. Reaching the skirt of woods referred to, I there found the rest of the division lying unengaged under cover; the fight being still farther on in another woods separated by an opening of eight hundred or one thousand yards. General Anderson's brigade (the first sent over) seems to have driven some of the enemy from the belt of woods, in which I found the division. Owing to the necessity of prolonging lines to left or right, as the brigades came up, I found that several regiments were detached from their brigades, and that there were several lines of our troops in the belt of timber in reserve to each other. Communicating with General Anderson, we ascended out of the ravine to commanding open ground, from whence we could see the engagement in front of us. We perceived a line of fresh troops brought up at right angles to our position, to the edge of the woods in our front, and pouring in volley fires into a line screened from our view by the woods. We concluded, from our imperfect knowledge of localities, that the line we saw must be the enemy, and that their flank was fairly exposed to us. In the absence of superior commanders, we were consulting as to taking the responsibility of ordering a charge on this exposed flank of the enemy, across the intervening open fields, under the heavy fire of artillery, when Major-General Hill joined us
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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