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[183] with artillery and skirmishers. By 3 o'clock it became close and heavy.

In the mean time I had placed myself on the left of the force employed in this attack, with the division of General Smith, that I might be on the field where I could observe and be ready to meet any counter-movements which the enemy's general might make against our centre or left. Owing to some peculiar condition of the atmosphere the sound of the musketry did not reach us. I consequently deferred giving the signal for General Smith's advance till about 4 o'clock, at which time Major Jasper Whiting, of General Smith's staff, whom I had sent to learn the state of affairs with General Longstreet's column, returned, reporting that it was pressing on with vigor. Smith's troops were at once moved forward.

The principal attack was made by Major-General Longstreet, with his own and Major-General D. H. Hill's division—the latter mostly in advance. Hill's brave troops, admirably commanded and most gallantly led, forced their way through the abatis which formed the enemy's external defence, and stormed their entrenchments by a determined and irresistible rush. Such was the manner in which the enemy's first line was carried. The operation was repeated with the same gallantry and success as our troops pursued their victorious career through the enemy's successive camps and entrenchments. At each new position they encountered fresh troops belonging to it and reinforcements brought on from the rear. Thus they had to repel repeated efforts to retake works which they had carried, but their advance was never successfully resisted.

Their onward movement was only stayed by the coming of night. By nightfall they had forced their way to the ‘Seven Pines,’ having driven the enemy back two miles, through their own camps, and from a series of entrenchments, and repelled every attempt to recapture them with great slaughter. The skill, vigor, and decision with which these operations were conducted by General Longstreet are worthy of the highest praise. He was worthily seconded by Major-General Hill, of whose conduct and courage he speaks in the highest terms.

Major-General Smith's division moved forward at 4 o'clock—Whitney's three brigades leading. Their progress was impeded by the enemy's skirmishers, which, with their support, were driven back to the railroad. At this point Whitney's own and Pettigrew's brigade engaged a superior force of the enemy. Hood's, by my order, moved on to co-operate with Longstreet. General Smith was desired


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G. W. Smith (6)
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