previous next

[447] advancing upon the enemy's centre. This diverted a portion of the enemy's fire from us, and I succeeded in keeping my men steady.

We had now approached to within a few hundred yards of the enemy's advanced batteries ; and again I gave the order to charge, which was obeyed with promptness and alacrity. We rushed forward up the side of the hill, under the brow of which we had for some time halted, and dashing over the hill, reached another hollow or ravine, immediately in front of, and, as it were, under, the enemy's guns. This ravine was occupied by a line of Yankee infantry, posted there to protect their batteries. Upon this we rushed with such impetuosity that the enemy broke in great disorder and fled. During this little engagement, the enemy's batteries in front of us, and to which we had approached to within a few rods, moved off around and behind the barn and stables, which stood on the side of the hill, and were again put in position upon the crest of the hill just in front of Crew's house. But for our encountering the infantry of the enemy in the ravine, we should have certainly captured this battery; but the delay occasioned by the fight there enabled them to move off the guns to a safer and better position.

The firing had now become general all along the left and centre of our line, and, night setting in, it was difficult to distinguish friend from foe. Several of my command were killed by our own friends, who had come up on our immediate right, and who commenced firing long before they came within reach of the enemy. This firing upon us by our friends, together with the increasing darkness, made our position peculiarly hazardous; but I determined to maintain it at all hazards, as long as a man should be left to fire a gun. The fire was terrific now, beyond anything I had ever witnessed; indeed, the hideous shrieking of shells through the dusky gloom of closing night, the whizzing of bullets, the loud and incessant roll of artillery and small arms, were enough to make the stoutest heart quail. Still, my shattered little command, now reduced to less than three hundred, with about an equal number of General Mahone's brigade, held our position under the very muzzles of the enemy's guns, and poured volley after volley, with murderous precision, into their serried ranks.

Night had now thrown her black pall over the entire field, and the firing ceased, except from a few of the enemy's guns, which continued at intervals to throw shell and grape around the circuit of the field. Our forces had all retired, and left us (Mahone and myself) alone, with our little band, to dispute the possession of the field with the insolent, but well-chastised foe. Upon consultation, we determined to remain where we were, (now within one hundred yards of the enemy's batteries,) and, if any of the foe should be left when morning dawned, to give him battle again. We had lost too many valuable lives to give up the decided advantage which we had won from the enemy. Just at this time, a portion of Colonel Ramseur's North Carolina regiment, having got lost upon the field, was hailed by me, and ordered to fall in with my brigade. A strong picket was advanced all along our isolated position, and the weary, hungry soldiers threw themselves upon the earth to snatch a few hours' rest. Detachments were ordered to search for water and administer to our poor wounded men, whose piercing cries rent the air in every direction. Soon the enemy were seen with lanterns, busily engaged in moving their killed and wounded, and friend and foe freely mingled on that gloomy night in administering to the wants of wounded and dying comrades.

After getting our dispositions made for the night, I wrote a note to General Magruder, informing him of what I had done and my present condition, asking that my worn-out and exhausted men might be relieved. At daylight I renewed the application. Early on the morning of the second July, General Ewell rode upon the field, and, coming to the position where my men lay, I reported to him, and was relieved from further watching on the field, and immediately collected my shattered force on the Darbytown road, about a mile and a half from the battle-field. The enemy, as soon as night had set in, began to move, and all night long his columns were slowly moving from the field. When morning dawned, all his vast force had left, excepting a squadron of cavalry and a small force of infantry. These, too, as soon as daylight had well opened, began their retreat down the river, without pursuit.

My loss in this engagement was very severe, amounting to fifty-five killed, two hundred and forty-three wounded, and sixty-four missing. I have no means of determining the loss of the enemy, though I am satisfied it was very heavy. All the officers and men of my command (except, as I have already stated, of the Twenty-second Georgia,) behaved well. My loss of officers was very heavy, including Major J. R. Sturges, commanding Third Georgia regiment, who fell at the head of his regiment, under the very muzzles of the enemy's guns. In the fall of this young officer, the regiment which he commanded has sustained an irreparable loss, and the country loses one of its most deserving and competent officers.

I am again called upon to acknowledge the valuable services of my Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain J. B. Girardy, during the protracted movements of my brigade.

Enclosed, I forward a detailed list of the casualties in my brigade.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. R. Wright, Brigadier-General, commanding Third Brigade, Huger's Division.

On the above was the following indorsement:

Headquarters division, July 16, 1862.
Respectfully forwarded. I fully concur in the commendations of General Wright on the conduct of Colonel George Doles, and can bear testimony to his continued attention to his duties,

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.
Darbytown (Pennsylvania, 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.
A. R. Wright (2)
William Mahone (2)
J. R. Sturges (1)
Ramseur (1)
J. Bankhead Magruder (1)
B. Huger (1)
J. B. Girardy (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
George Doles (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.
July 16th, 1862 AD (1)
July 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: