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[106]

The battle of Williamsburg, Va. Fought June 1, 1862. [from the Richmond, Va., Star, May 29, 1894.]

A paper read before Pickett Camp Confederate Veterans by Colonel Richard L. Maury.


Many erroneous statements which have been published as to the memorable engagement corrected.


Colonel Maury's paper is as follows:

the immortal Twenty-Fourth—The Yankee General Hancock said that the Fifth North Carolina and the Twenty-fourth Virginia, for their conduct in battle before Williamsburg, ought to have this word inscribed upon their banners: The Twenty-fourth in the fight of yesterday vindicated its title to this honor. Richmond Enquirer, June 2, 1862.

The Battle of Williamsburg, although of but small importance in comparison with the mighty and momentous conflicts between the same forces, which followed shortly after, attracted great attention at the time, especially in the North, chiefly because of the great prominence given by McClellan and his generals, to their successful repulse, at the close of the day, of an attack made by two of General Early's Regiments—the Twenty-fourth Virginia and the Fifth North Carolina—upon Hancock's position on our extreme left. The assault was badly arranged, not supported, and failed in consequence, for but two of the regiments of D. H. Hill's entire division came into close action, and they alone attempted what it was intended the whole division should undertake, whereby Hancock was enabled to achieve a success. Under the circumstances it was of but little credit to him, as being almost a matter of course, yet it was extravagantly magnified (as if it were some great thing for ten guns and five regiments to resist the attack of two) in the hope of diverting attention from the total failure of the repeated assaults of the many Federal divisions upon Longstreet's Division alone, for thus since morning had been vainly employed Hooker and Kearney, Couch, Casey, Smith and others, until night found them all repulsed, with Hooker and Kearney so cut up and demoralized as to be of little further use for weeks.


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