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[103] soldier to march upon fire, when the sound of the battle reached him, he formed his corps and stood under arms waiting for an order to advance. He came too soon for us, and, but for his forethought and promptitude, he would have arrived too late for his friends. It may be granted that his presence saved the left wing of the Federal army from defeat.

As we had permitted the enemy to fortify before our attack, it would have been better to wait another day, until the bridges had been rendered impassable by the rise of the river.

General Lee, at nightfall, gave instructions to General Smith, the senior officer on that part of the battlefield, and left with me to return to Richmond.

Thus far I have only attempted to describe events on the extreme left of the battlefield, being that part of which I had personal observation; but the larger force and, consequently, the more serious conflict were upon the right of the line. To these I will now refer. Our force there consisted of the divisions of Major-Generals D. H. Hill, Huger, and Longstreet, the latter in chief command. In his report, first published in the Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. III, pp. 277, 278, he writes:

Agreeably to verbal instructons from the commanding General, the division of Major-General D. H. Hill was, on the morning of the 31st ultimo, formed at an early hour on the Williamsburg road, as the column of attack upon the enemy's front on that road. . . . The division of Major-General Huger was intended to make a strong flank movement around the left of the enemy's position, and attack him in rear of that flank. . . . After waiting some six hours for these troops to get into position, I determined to move forward without regard to them, and gave orders to that effect to Major-General D. H. Hill. The forward movement began about two o'clock, and our skirmishers soon became engaged with those of the enemy. The entire division of General Hill became engaged about three o'clock, and drove the enemy steadily back, gaining possession of his abatis and part of his intrenched camp, General Rodes, by a movement to the right, driving in the enemy's left. The only reenforcements on the field in hand were my own brigades, of which Anderson's, Wilcox's, and Kemper's were put in by the front on the Williamsburg road, and Colston's and Pryor's by my right flank. At the same time the decided and gallant attack made by the other brigades gained entire possession of the enemy's position, with his artillery, camp-equipage, etc. Anderson's brigade, under Colonel Jenkins, pressing forward rapidly, continued to drive the enemy till nightfall. . . . The conduct of the attack was left entirely to Major-General Hill. The entire success of the affair is sufficient evidence of his ability, courage, and skill.

This tribute to General Hill was no more than has been accorded to him by others who knew of his services on that day, and was in keeping with the determined courage, vigilance, and daring exhibited by him on other fields.

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