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[703]

Report of Colonel Walton of Second battle of Manassas.

headquarters battalion Washington artillery, November 30, 1862.
To Major G. M. Sorrell, Assistant Adjutant-General Right Wing, A. N. V.
Major: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the operations of the battalion of Washington artillery, of New Orleans, under my command, on the twenty-ninth, thirtieth, and thirty-first August last, at and after the second battle of Manassas:

On the twenty-ninth August, 1862, the four batteries, composing the battalion, were assigned and served as follows: The fourth company, consisting of two six-pound bronze guns, and two twelve-pound howitzers, under Captain D. F. Eshleman, Lieutenants Norcom, Battles, and Apps, with Pickett's brigade; the second company, with two six-pound bronze guns, and two twelve-pound howitzers, under Captain Richardson, Lieutenants Hawes, De Russey, and Britton, with Toombs's brigade; the first company, with three three-inch rifle guns, under Captain C. W. Squiers, Lieutenants E. Owens, Gilbraith, and Brown, and the third company, with four light twelve-pound guns, (Napoleon,) under Captain M. B. Miller, Lieutenants McElroy, and Hero, in reserve.

About noon, on the twenty-ninth, the two batteries in reserve, having halted near the village of Gainesville, on the Warrenton and Centreville turnpike, were ordered forward by General Longstreet, to engage the enemy then in our front, and near the village of Groveton. Captains Miller and Squiers at once proceeded to the position indicated by the General, and opened fire upon the enemy's batteries. Immediately in Captain Miller's front he discovered a battery of the enemy, distant about twelve hundred yards. Beyond this battery, and on a more elevated position, were posted the enemy's rifle batteries. He opened upon the battery nearest him, and, after a spirited engagement of three quarters of an hour, completely silenced it, and compelled it to leave the field. He then turned his attention to the enemy's rifle batteries, and engaged them until, having exhausted his ammunition, he retired from the field.

Captain Squiers, on reaching his position on the left of Captain Miller's battery, at once opened with his usual accuracy upon the enemy's batteries. Unfortunately, after the first fire, one of his guns, having become disabled by the blowing out of the bushing of the vent, was sent from the field. Captain Squiers then placed the remaining section of his battery under command of Lieutenant Owen, and rode to the left to place additional guns (that had been sent forward to his assistance) in position. At this time the enemy's infantry were engaged by the forces on the left of the position occupied by our batteries, and, while the enemy retreated in confusion before the charge of our veterans, the section under Lieutenant Owen poured a destructive fire into their affrighted ranks. Scores were seen to fall, until finally the once beautiful line melted confusedly into the woods. The enemy's artillery having withdrawn beyond our range, the section was ordered from the field. Both batteries, the First and Third, in this action, fully maintained their well-earned reputation for skilful practice and gallant behavior. With this duel ended the operations on the left of our line for the day.

The next morning, thirtieth August, the second company, Captain J. B. Richardson, was ordered forward from its position on the Manassas Gap Railroad to join its brigade, (Toombs's,) then moving forward toward the enemy. Captain Richardson pushed forward until, arriving near the Chinn house, he was informed that our infantry had charged and taken a battery near that position, but, owing to heavy reinforcements thrown forward by the enemy, were unable to hold it without the assistance of artillery. He immediately took position on the left of the Chinn house, and opened on the enemy, who were advancing, rapidly, in large numbers. After firing a short time, he moved his battery forward about four hundred yards, and succeeded in holding the captured battery of four Napoleons, forcing the enemy back, and compelling a battery immediately in his front, and which was annoying greatly our infantry, to retire. He then turned the captured guns upon their late owners, and at night brought them from the field, with their horses and harness.

Captain Richardson, in his report, makes special mention for gallantry of privates J. B. Cleveland and W. W. Davis, who were the first to reach the captured battery, and, with the assistance of some infantry, fired nearly twenty-five rounds before being relieved by their comrades. Lieutenant Hawes had his horse shot under him during this battle.

While Richardson, with the second, was doing such gallant service near the Chinn house, Eshleman, with the Fourth, with his short-range guns, was doing good work in the same neighborhood. Following his brigade, (Pickett's,) he shelled the woods in their front, while they advanced in line of battle against the enemy, whose skirmishers were seen on the edge of the wood. Finding it would be impracticable to follow the brigade, owing to the broken nature of the ground, he passed rapidly to the right and front, going into battery and firing from every elevated position from which he could enfilade the enemy, until he had passed entirely to the right of General Jones's position. He now held a most desirable position, (overlooking nearly the whole space in front of the Chinn house,) from which his shells fell into the ranks of the enemy with great execution. A persistent attack on the front and flank drove the enemy back into the woods; and now the immense clouds of dust rising from the Centreville road indicated that he was in full retreat. He was directed by General D. R. Jones to move forward and shell the wood and road, which he continued to do until directed by General J. E. B. Stuart to send a section of his battery to the hills in front of the Conrad house, to fire into a column of cavalry advancing in his rear. The section under Lieutenant Norcom was detached,


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