present, I reported my arrival, and asked for orders; he directed me to detach two regiments to support a battery. I ordered Colonel J. W. Allen, Second regiment, and Colonel W. H. Baylor, Fifth regiment Virginia volunteers, to move forward to execute this order, which was rapidly done. After waiting some half hour, I was ordered by General Hill to charge the enemy's line with my command. I immediately formed line of battle with the Thirty-eighth regiment, Colonel Neff, Twenty-seventh, Colonel Grigsby, Fourth, Colonel Ronald, the Irish battalion, Captain Lee, who was near, and moved forward. As the line advanced, Colonels Allen and Baylor formed on the left, and the entire line moved forward in handsome style, through a swamp and thick undergrowth of laurel and bushes. On emerging from this, finding the line somewhat broken in consequence of this swamp, I ordered all troops, whom I found in front, to join their commands, making the line continuous. Lieutenant-Colonel Geary, Hampton's Legion; Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, First Maryland regiment; Twelfth Alabama regiment; Fifty-second Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Spinner; Thirty-eighth Georgia, Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General Lawton commanding, joined this line, and moved in splendid style over the field, the enemy retiring before it long ere it was possible to use the bayonet. The Second and Fifth regiments Virginia volunteers moved so rapidly they got in advance of the line, receiving a heavy fire, which thinned their ranks, depriving them of some of their best officers. Nothing daunted, they held their ground until the line came up, and moved on with that same impetuosity and determination. Here that gallant officer, Colonel J. W Allen, Second regiment, fell mortally wounded, whilst leading his command in the charge. He was a true soldier and gentleman, whose loss to his regiment, country, and friends will be long mourned, though falling in so sacred a cause. His patriotism and noble character had endeared him to all. At the same time that meritorious soldier and gentleman, Major F. B. Jones, of same regiment, fell mortally wounded. His mild and gentlemanly manner had long since endeared him to all, and deeply is his loss felt and regretted. The line advanced steadily under the fire of two batteries and much infantry, and the enemy were driven some three hundred yards beyond McGee's house; this being beyond their last position, the line was halted. The lateness of the hour (about nine P. M.) and ignorance of the country prevented any further pursuit of the enemy. At this time, Major-General D. H. Hill came on the field, and I relinquished the command to him. Upon consultation with him, it was decided to retire the line of battle to the crest in the rear. This I did, and took the necessary precautions to guard against any surprise. I cannot speak too highly of the officers and men of my brigade, in which, for the time, I must include the Irish battalion, Captain Lee. Their coolness, bravery, and discretion entitle them to my warmest gratitude, as also those serving under me a portion of the time, especially that gallant soldier and gentleman, Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, with his small band of veterans, ever ready to advance on the enemy and aid our cause. Colonel Baylor and his regiment were subjected to a heavy fire of artillery and infantry; but he held the regiment well in hand, moving up in gallant style. Though he lost heavily, he held the extreme left, and delivered to me two Parrott guns, a part of the fruits of his victory. Upon Lieutenant-Colonel L. Botts devolved the command of the Second regiment after the fall of Colonel Allen, and this command he exercised with coolness and bravery, reflecting much credit upon himself and regiment. The other regiments were led up by their respective commanders, in fine order, though their position did not place them under such heavy fire. My thanks are eminently due to my staff, Captain O'Brien and Lieutenants Howard and Garnett, for the promptness with which they transmitted my orders, and the assistance rendered me during the evening, exposed to a heavy fire frequently and at great risk. Also to Mr. Samuel D. Mitchell, of Richmond, a volunteer Aid, who was ever ready and prompt to transmit my orders to any point, regardless of his own life. He fell, mortally wounded, whilst with the Second regiment, in advance, and expired in a few moments, one of the many instances of the self-sacrificing spirits of our young men. Two revolving guns, one Napoleon gun, and many small arms and stores, were collected by Lieutenant Garnett, ordnance officer of the brigade, on the morning of the twenty-eighth, and sent to the rear. Shortly after daylight, on this morning, the pickets were advanced to a wood in front, and many prisoners brought in, among the number Brigadier-General John F. Reynolds and Captain Kingsberry, of his staff. The brigade remained in position during the day. On the twenty-ninth, it was ordered to take the advance and move to the Chickahominy River, which it did. The bridge being incomplete, shortly before sunset it was ordered to its former bivouac. On the morning of the thirtieth, it took up the march at half past 2 o'clock, following the troops in advance of it. At night it bivouacked near White Oak Swamp. Took up the march at five A. M., on July first, following troops in front. Hearing from General Whiting that artillery was needed in front, I ordered Captains Carpenter and Poague to report to Brigadier-General Whiting, with their batteries. For an account of their operations, I respectfully refer to their reports. The brigade was halted near a church in the wood, and held in reserve. Being within range of the enemy's shell, it was twice removed to the rear; but unfortunately the first shot, indicating the necessity of a move, killed that promising and gallant officer,
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.