which Colonel McKinney
, commanding the Fifteenth North Carolina, was killed, and his regiment, after his fall, was driven back in confusion, and the breastworks were possessed by the enemy.
Just at this time, however, Colonel G. T. Anderson
, with a part of his brigade, consisting of the Seventh Georgia, Colonel Wilson
; the Eighth Georgia, Colonel Lamar
, and a part of the Sixteenth Georgia, Colonel Bryan
; and two companies of the Second Louisiana, under Colonel Norwood
, advanced to the support of the North Carolinians, who rallied upon them, and a charge being made by the whole force, the enemy were driven back across the stream, leaving thirty men dead upon the field, and having many more shot down in the water as they retreated.
The total loss of the Confederates
during the day were seventy-five killed and wounded.
After the repulse of this assault, a heavy musketry fire was maintained by both parties until night, but, as it was mostly at random through the forest, which intervened except just at the dam, little or no harm was done by it on either side.
Had the assault been made with a larger force, a lodgment could probably have been made, but the sending of a single regiment on such an errand was absurd.
The offensive, however, was never McClellan
's forte, and his record embraces several other instances of a degree of caution, particularly in the use of his infantry, which rendered any decided success impossible.
After the repulse of this feeble effort, his whole energies were devoted to taking Yorktown
by siege, and the construction of parallels and batteries for heavy guns was at once commenced.
Meanwhile the Confederates
devoted themselves to strengthening their position in every way, daily expecting to be attacked.
Owing to the proximity of standing timber on the enemy's side of the stream, his sharp shooters were very close, and their fire was very annoying.
This, with other circumstances of the situation, combined to render the hardships undergone by the Confederate
troops in this siege peculiarly severe.
speaks of them in his official report as follows:
From the 4th of April till the 3rd of May, this army served almost without relief in the trenches.
Many companies of artillery were never relieved during this long period.
It rained almost incessantly.
The trenches were filled with water.
No fires could be allowed.
The artillery and infantry of the enemy played upon our men almost continuously, day and night.
The army had neither coffee, sugar, nor hard bread, but subsisted on flour and salt meats, and these in reduced quantities, and yet no murmurs were heard.
The best drilled regulars the world has ever seen would have mutinied under a continuous service