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[124]

General Huger reported that his progress was delayed by trees which his opponent had felled across the Williamsburg Road. In the afternoon, after passing the obstructions and driving off the men who were still cutting down trees, they came upon an open field (P. Williams's), where they were assailed by a battery of rifled guns. The artillery was brought up, and replied to the fire. In the meantime a column of infantry was moved to the right, so as to turn the battery, and the combat was ended. The report of this firing was heard at Frazier's Farm, and erroneously supposed to indicate the near approach of Huger's column, and, it has been frequently stated, induced General Longstreet to open fire with some of his batteries as notice to General Huger where our troops were, and that thus the engagement was brought on. General A. P. Hill, who was in front and had made the dispositions of our troops while hopefully waiting for the arrival of Jackson and Huger, states that the fight commenced by fire from the enemy's artillery, which swept down the road. This not only concurs with my recollection of the event, but is more in keeping with the design to wait for the expected reenforcements.

The detention of Huger, as above stated, and the failure of Jackson to force a passage of the White-Oak Swamp, left Longstreet and Hill, without the expected support, to maintain the unequal conflict as best they might. The superiority of numbers and advantage of position were on the side of the enemy. The battle raged furiously until 9 P. M. By that time the enemy had been driven with great slaughter from every position but one, which he maintained until he was enabled to withdraw under cover of darkness. At the close of the struggle nearly the entire field remained in our possession, covered with the enemy's dead and wounded. Many prisoners, including a general of division, were captured, and several batteries with some thousands of small arms were taken.

After this engagement Magruder, who had been ordered to go to the support of Holmes, was recalled to relieve the troops of Longstreet and Hill. He arrived during the night, with the troops of his command much fatigued by the long, hot march.

In the battle of Frazier's Farm the troops of Longstreet and Hill, though disappointed in the expectation of support, and contending against superior numbers advantageously posted, made their attack successful by the most heroic courage and unfaltering determination.

Nothing could surpass the bearing of General Hill on that occasion, and I often recur with admiration to the manner in which Longstreet,

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James Longstreet (5)
Thomas B. Huger (5)
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P. Williams (1)
John Bankhead Magruder (1)
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