discover, from our picket post on the hills, that the enemy was retreating, and our friends pursuing them down the opposite bank of the Chickahominy. As soon as the enemy had cleared our front, I sent two companies (Captains Wood and Taggart) down to the river to communicate, if possible, with General Gregg. They there found Captain Harry Hammond, of the General's staff, who, not being able to get his horse across the river, came on foot to the regiment, delivered an order for us to join the brigade, and guided us on the march. We had great difficulty in crossing the river, as the enemy had torn up and burnt the bridge (the upper new bridge) the night before. We succeeded, however, in repairing it, so that the regiment crossed and moved on, under a constant fire of shells from one of the enemy's batteries. The ambulance and surgeon's wagon had, however, to make the circuit by Mechanicsville, and arrived about the time the battle began. The day was intensely hot, and the regiment being much fatigued, Captain Hammond led us to a point near where the brigade was engaged, on the extreme right of the enemy, and halted us, to rest for a few moments, whilst he went forward to see the General. At this moment the battle opened with great fury; and, exhausted as we were, we were at once ordered forward. By the direction of the General, and under his own eye, I formed line of battle in the rear of Crenshaw's batttery, (which ceased firing for a moment to allow us to pass,) and charged, at the doublequick, down the hill, between the guns, straight toward the heavy firing in the front. I was informed by the General I would find the regiments of Colonels Edwards and Barnes in the skirt of woods bordering the field occupied by the enemy. As soon, therefore, as we had crossed the boggy ravine in the woods, and commenced to ascend the hill beyond, I halted the regiment, and sent out, in every direction, to find the regiments indicated. The thicket was very dense, and for the fear of firing into friends I went forward myself to the edge of the field held by the enemy, calling aloud for the friends who were supposed to be there. I soon found that no friends were in front of us, for the enemy had retaken possession of the field, and were in the act of establishing a battery at the edge of the woods near where my regiment stood. Seeing the enemy in front, and hearing nothing of our friends, I ordered the Fourteenth to advance alone through the woods to the fence; to drive the enemy back, and hold that position — which was promptly and gallantly done. For a long time we held this position, without any assistance whatever. During this period, the enemy once made an effort to turn our left flank, but was repulsed by the left companies, under Lieutenant-Colonel Simpson. The left wing of the regiment was then advanced over the fence, and through the pine thicket — making nearly a right angle with the right wing; but it was soon drawn back to its original position. At length a North Carolina regiment came up on our right, and a Georgia regiment on our left. Endeavoring to act in concert with these, we made a charge on the batteries in front of us; but finding the distance so much greater than was expected, in an open field, under a terrific cross-fire of musketry, grape-shot, and canister, the men, after having gone over half the distance, were compelled to lie down, and were soon after ordered to retire, and occupy their former position. In this charge I received a severe bruise on my right side, from a grape-shot, which, for a short time, disabled me. We never yielded for an instant our original position. We held it, except when charging, all the afternoon. We held it at the time the batteries were finally carried, late in the evening; and, after the struggle was over, fell upon the ground entirely exhausted, and slept there, surrounded by the dead and dying. I grieve to state that the list of killed and wounded in this battle is large. Lieutenant Plunket, company H, was shot twice, and gloriously died on the field. Major Carter, Captains Brown, Taggart, and Croft, Lieutenants Brunson, O. W. Allen, Stephens, McCarley, Darrah, and Carter, were wounded; besides many others killed and wounded — a list of whom is hereto attached. Some have since died. The whole regiment acted in the most satisfactory manner; and where all did their duty, it is impossible to discriminate without injustice. Lieutenant-Colonel Simpson and Major Carter were always active in preserving order and encouraging the men. Adjutant Reedy was also active until he was wounded and left the field. William F. Nance, Esq., of Newbury, happened to be with the regiment when it left the picket station, (Friday, at noon,) and being unwilling to remain a mere spectator at such a time, he voluntarily accompanied us, and made the charge of that evening with the regiment. Captain C. H. Suber, A. Q. M., as directed, remained with the train at our camp, on Smith's farm. In regard to the fight of Monday night, the General well knows how suddenly we were called upon to go into it. We had marched all day, until late in the evening, and soon after we arrived in the neighborhood of the fight, it was represented to us that the enemy was turning the left of our lines. I was directed to form the Fourteenth, which was the leading regiment, in line of battle immediately, and to send forward, through the thick undergrowth, skirmishers to feel the enemy and ascertain his position. I accordingly sent forward Captain West, who threw out his men as skirmishers, and gallantly advanced some three hundred yards toward our left and front. In a few minutes he returned, stating he had found General Featherston in the undergrowth, wounded, who informed him the enemy's skirmishers were all around him; that he was in danger of being captured; and if any Confederate troops were near at hand, they should advance at once. As soon as Captain West made this report, my regiment was ordered forward through a perfect jungle of vines and bushes. We took the direction indicated by the skirmishers, and as soon as we approached the open ground, in which the
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.