front, supported by two lines of infantry. There was no cover, and the ground nearest the enemy was ploughed. Anderson's, Ripley's, and Rodes's brigades (Gordon commanding) had proceeded farther down the road, thus keeping under partial cover, and approaching somewhat nearer and on the right of the enemy's position. When ordered forward, I saw no troops of our own in front of me. The brigade moved forward with alacrity about half way to the battery, or nearer, when the terrible fire of artillery and the opening fire of infantry, induced them to halt, lie down, and commence firing, without my orders, and contrary to them. The fire of the enemy was very severe, and being satisfied that the exhibition of force presented by a single brigade on that front was not sufficient to intimidate the foe, nor to carry the position, I sent my acting Aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Haywood, to inform Major-General D. H. Hill, that unless I was reenforced quickly I could effect nothing, and could not hold the position I then occupied. After some delay a brigade appeared from the woods in my rear, and seemed coming up to my support. But their movements seemed slow, and before they reached me my men began to give way, and very many ceased to respond to my efforts to hold them in line and maintain the position. Remaining on the spot, until, in spite of every effort, the men could no longer be held there, the brigade fell back to the edge of the woods from which we had started. It is not my desire to indulge in criticism or crimination. It is enough to say, that there was, somehow, a want of concert and cooeration in the whole affair, that made a successful attack impracticable, and the consequent disorder and straggling of troops most lamentable. My own brigade went up as far as any troops I saw upon the field, and behaved as well. If they retired, so did all the rest who were ordered to charge the battery. The whole division became scattered. As night closed in, General Ripley, Colonels Gordon and Colquitt, (commanding brigades,) and myself, set to work in concert to collect our command together, and bivouac them in a place of security. Next morning we found that the enemy were themselves so far damaged by the previous day's work, that they had retreated from Malvern Hill. Having gotten our commands together during the day, suitable details were made for burying the dead. This brigade, along with the rest of the division, were now put in bivouac, near the scene of the late battle-field, with orders to collect the arms and munitions, get off the wounded, the prisoners, &c. I neglected to say that Colonel McRae, of the Fifth North Carolina, with his own regiment and the Fourth North Carolina, of Anderson's brigade, had been previously ordered back upon similar duties nearer to Richmond. They were not present at Malvern Hill. These duties being all discharged, and our army receiving orders to return toward Richmond, this brigade, along with the division, returned to its old position near the Williamsburg road. It affords me pleasure to testify to the general good conduct of the regimental commanders of this brigade throughout these trying scenes. Colonel McRae (absent from Malvern Hill under orders) exhibited his accustomed gallantry and good judgment at Cold Harbor, rendering me material assistance in looking after the left of my line. Colonel Scales, Thirteenth North Carolina, was conspicuous for his fine bearing. Seizing the colors of his regiment, at a critical moment, at Cold Harbor, and advancing to the front, he called upon the Thirteenth to stand to them, thus restoring confidence and keeping his men in position. Colonel Iverson was seriously wounded, at an early period, while gallantly leading up his regiment to take the battery, at the house on the left, at Cold Harbor. This movement seems to have been ordered by the division commander. The Twentieth North Carolina, after Colonel Iverson 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 one of the captured pieces upon the flying foe, and breathed out his noble spirit in the moment of victory. He was greatly beloved, and his memory will be cherished with veneration and pride. Having sustained a loss of seventy killed and two hundred and two wounded in this charge, which was temporarily successful, the enemy soon returned in larger force, and this regiment, having no supports, retired, under orders from Major Toon, to the cover of the wood out of which it had charged. Colonel Wade, Twelfth North Carolina, conducted his regiment with coolness and discretion. Colonel Christie, Twenty-third North Carolina, had the misfortune to be wounded, in the successful charge at Cold Harbor, while leading his regiment and bearing himself handsomely, when the command of this regiment again fell upon Lieutenant I. J. Young, who had been in command during the absence of Colonel Christie from the effect of his injuries at the “Seven Pines.” I desire to notice the conduct of Lieutenant Young as worthy of special commendation. He was severely wounded at Malvern Hill, while leading the regiment, and compelled to retire. In the absence of three regimental commanders, who led the Thirteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-third North Carolina regiments, in the recent engagements, the regimental reports of those commands refrain from the selection of the names of particular officers and men for special gallantry. Colonel McRae presents the following from the Fifth North Carolina, as deserving special mention at Cold Harbor, viz.: Major Sinclair, wounded early and compelled to retire; Lieutenants Riddick, Sprague, Davis, Brookfield, (severely wounded,) Taylor, and Haywood; Color-Sergeant Grimstead, wounded; privates Noah McDaniel, (who captured seven prisoners,) and John Trotman. Colonel Wade, Twelfth North Carolina, mentions the good conduct of Lieutenant Plummer, company C, and private T. L. Emory, company A.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Foreign accounts of the fight.
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.