under Fitz-John Porter
, had just arrived on Malvern Heights to occupy the position.
The fierce fire of this great battery was quickly aided by the fire of heavy guns from the gunboats in the James
— lying in Turkey Bend
, and directing their fire by wigwag signals between their mastheads — and the Federals
on the Heights
The six guns were quickly wrecked.
Two caissons were exploded, and so many horses killed that the guns were with difficulty withdrawn.
No fire is so appalling to unseasoned troops as that of heavy artillery received in a thick wood where every shot cuts limbs and smashes trees around them, even though the actual damage from it may be trifling.
's whole division, concealed in the woods in the vicinity of the six guns engaged, was now exposed to such a fire, converging from opposite quarters.
There was but one thing to do, and that was to get away.
Some commands, especially among the infantry, behaved well, and withdrew in perfect order; some were thrown into confusion, and among some cavalry commands and light artillery a stampede took place.
Two guns which had not been engaged were entangled in the woods and abandoned, and many men were run over and injured.
Altogether, the confusion was so great that Lee
's six brigades to march to Holmes
's support, though they could have done no good, as there was nothing for them to attack or defend.
, 18,000 men, were diverted from the real work of the day. This was just about to begin when this side issue of the cannonade of Malvern Hill
was ventured upon.
The total casualties in Holmes
's division (including 15 wounded among the six guns) were two killed and 49 wounded, besides some injured in the stampede.
Let us next turn to Huger
On Sunday, the 29th, the division made but a very short distance down the Charles City
road for two reasons.
Two of its brigades were called back, and had some miles of extra marching and countermarching in the hot sun by Magruder
's false alarm when he found that he was not supported by the proximity of Jackson
, as has been already told.
The other two brigades thought it imprudent to pass any road on their left leading across White Oak Swamp
, until it had been