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[64] The order was responded to with spirit and alacrity by our troops, but with less order and effect than was desirable and would otherwise have been secured, owing to the circumstances which I have adverted to.

Our troops, however, went forward with an earnest over a succession of steep hills and ravines until coming up within a few hundred yards of the enemy's left batteries, where they encountered his advance troops in large force, strongly positioned behind the crest of hills under the cover of his guns.

At this time there were no other troops engaging the enemy in our view or in supporting connection, and here for about two hours the fire and fury of battle raged with great obstinacy and destruction on both sides, our men finally succeeding in driving the enemy from the heights occupied in our front and immediately under his guns and upon his reserve at that point, and occupying the position from which he had resisted our advance with such obstinacy and deadly effect.

Colonel E. C. Edmonds, of the Thirty-eighth Virginia regiment of General Armistead's brigade, commanding the brigade, says:

I am proud to say we did hold our position through all of the storm of bullets, canister, grape, (and) shell, with occasional shells from the huge pieces playing upon us from the gunboats, until we saw the gallant Wright, with hat off and glittering blade, leading the brigade across the hill to our support.1

1 General Fitz John Porter, in his account of the battle, published in the Century Magazine, makes the following statement in respect to the fire from the gun-boats-exploding an idea that long prevailed:

Almost at the crisis of the battle—just before the advance of Meagher and Sickles—the gun-boats on the James River opened their fire with the good intent of aiding us, but either mistook our batteries at the Malvern house for those of the enemy, or were unable to throw their projectiles beyond us. If the former was the case, their range was well estimated, for all their shot landed in or close by Tyler's battery, killing and wounding a few of his men. Fortunately members of our excellent signal-service corps were present as usual on such occassions; and the message signaled to the boats, “For God's sake stop firing,” promptly relieved us from further damage and the demoralization of a “fire in the rear.” Reference is occasionally seen in Confederate accounts of this battle to the fearful sounds of the projectiles from these gun-boats. But that afternoon not one of their projectiles passed beyond my headquarters; and I have always believed and said, as has General Hunt, that the enemy mistook the explosions of shells from Tyler's siege-guns and Kusserow's thirty-two-pounder howitzers, which

Hunt had carried forward, for shells from the gun-boats.

General Fitz John Porter, Century Magazine vol. 8 p. 628.

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John Tyler (2)
Fitz John Porter (2)
Hunt (2)
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Meagher (1)
Kusserow (1)
E. C. Edmonds (1)
Drury L. Armistead (1)
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