previous next

[643] reached by our infantry, and near the hill where Bee and Bartow fell, on the twenty-first July, 1861, the first battle of Manassas.

The list of casualties of the three brigades having been previously forwarded, it will suffice to state that the entire loss of killed, wounded, and missing was three hundred and thirty, (four missing.)

In closing this report, I beg to assure the Major-General commanding, that both men and officers of my brigade behaved in a manner highly creditable to them. I will only bring to his favorable notice in this report the four regimental commanders of the brigade, viz., Major Williams, commanding Ninth Alabama; Major Herbert, Eighth; Captain Saunders, Eleventh; and Major Caldwell, Tenth Alabama. It will be seen that there was no field officer of higher rank than Major, and of those but three.

To my personal staff, Captain Walter E. Winn, A. A. General, and Lieutenant M. M. Lindsey, Nineteenth Mississippi, my thanks are especially due for their willingness and promptness in rendering their services at all times during the engagement.

I would also bring to your favorable notice private J. C. Causey, of the Third Virginia cavalry, my courier, who received, late in the action, (after dark,) a painful wound on the head, from a piece of shell, while carrying an order to one of my regiments.

The enclosed reports of Generals Featherston and Pryor will bring to your notice such instances of men and officers in their brigades as are deserving of commendation.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

C. M. Wilcox, Brigadier-General, commanding, &c., &c.

Brigadier-General French's Report of his night attack on the shipping and camp of General McClellan.

headquarters Petersburg, Virginia, August 31, 1862.
General D. H. Hill, commanding Department of North Carolina:
General: Numerous causes have prevented my sending you a report, ere this, of an attack on the shipping and camp of General McClellan, by the expedition under my command, on the night of the thirty-first of July last.

On the morning of July twenty-ninth, you directed me to have the brigades commanded by Colonels Manning and Daniel ready to move the following night. But when I had an interview, that evening at ten P. M., you directed me to have them move at seven o'clock the next morning, together with six batteries of field artillery. All started at the hour named, and, according to instructions, halted at a saw mill, some seven miles distant, on the road to Coggin's Point. I left Petersburg at ten A. M., and, on arriving at the mill, found you, in company with General W. N. Pendleton, of the artillery, who had marched there, under your orders, in command of thirty-two field guns and four siege pieces.

Although you had on the day previous shown me General Lee's letter suggesting that I would have charge of the expedition, it was there for the first time made known to me that you designed the attack to be made at night, and showed me some sketches of Coggin's Point, a sort of peninsula, round which the James River sweeps, diminishing its width to about a thousand yards, and directly opposite to which is Harrison's Landing. Beyond this landing were large encampments of the enemy, his shipping extending above and below for a distance of two miles. No time could be lost; so, in company with General Pendleton and some of his field officers, I proceeded to examine the ground, and select positions for the guns, and observe the enemy. This reconnoissance occupied us until about nine o'clock, and caused a delay in the advance of the artillery. On our return we met the advance guns, and ordered them to be halted; and, at the suggestion of General Pendleton, I determined to report to you that an attack could not be made that night, chiefly because the night was far advanced, the darkness intense, and that many of the officers who would command batteries had not examined the ground, the roads, nor the shipping they designed to fire on, and many pieces of artillery were far in the rear. I found you at the Merchant's Hope Church, where you had posted the two brigades of infantry. In company with General Pendleton, I explained to you the necessity of delaying the attack. You expressed apprehensions of a failure if not made at once, believing our position and force would be discovered by the enemy on the morrow, and then, announcing that the expedition was under my command, informed me you would return to Petersburg. The balance of the night was mostly passed in placing the different batteries in the shelter of the woods, to prevent them being seen by reconnoissances from the balloons of the enemy; thus it was four A. M. before the men or horses got any rest. The better to secure success, I found it necessary to order the particular part that each command was to perform, and directed that the officers of artillery, who were to command guns, should be sent to pass over the intricate roads, the difficult grounds, and examine the sites selected for the batteries, and erect stakes to direct the fire of their guns at night, according to the position of the enemy. The ground not admitting the advantageous use of all the guns, some seventy in number, it was deemed best to leave the lighter ones behind. All being in readiness, and finding the enemy had not discovered us from reconnoissances in their balloon, at four P. M., Colonel Brown proceeded to Maycok's farm, opposite Westover, with twelve guns; Colonel Coleman followed to Coggin's Point, with eight twelve-pounder howitzers; Major Nelson, with eight guns, to a position on his left, higher up the bank of the river; Colonel Cutts, with eleven long-range guns, still above Major Nelson; and Captains Dabney and Milledge were, each with two siege guns, to take position a fourth of a mile below the dwelling of Mr. Ruffin, making

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 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.
August 31st, 1862 AD (1)
July 21st, 1861 AD (1)
July 31st (1)
July 29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: