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[148] front, the whole division “broke into a trot” down the slope toward the Federal works. Men fell like leaves in an autumn wind; the Federal artillery tore gaps in the ranks at every step; the ground in rear of the advancing column was strewn thickly with the dead and wounded. Not a gun was fired in reply; there was no confusion, and not a step faltered as the two gray lines swept silently and swiftly on; the pace became more rapid every moment; when the men were within thirty yards of the ravine, and could see the desperate nature of the work in hand, a wild yell answered the roar of Federal musketry, and they rushed for the works.

The Confederates were within ten paces of them when the Federals in the front line broke, and leaving their log breastworks, swarmed up the hill in their rear, carrying away their second line with them in their rout. Then we had our “innings.” As the blue mass surged up the hill in our front, the Confederate fire was poured into it with terrible effect. The target was a large one, the range short, and scarcely a shot fired into that living mass could fail of its errand. The debt of blood, contracted but a few minutes before, was paid with interest.

Firing as they advanced, the Confederates leaped into the ravine, climbed out on the other side, and over the lines of breastworks, reaching the crest of the hill beyond with such rapidity, as to capture all of the Federal artillery (fourteen pieces ) at that point.

We had now reached the high plateau in rear of the centre of General Porter's position, his line having been completely cut in two, and thus rendered no longer tenable. From the flanks where Whiting's Division had burst through, the Federal lines gave way in both directions.

R. H. Anderson's brigade, till then in reserve, passed through on the right, and led the way for Longstreet's Division, while on the left the roll of musketry receded towards the Chickahominy, and the cheering of the victorious Confederates announced that Jackson, Ewell and D. H. Hill were sweeping that part of the field.

“The battle was won, and the Federal infantry was in full flight towards the swamps of the Chickahominy.” —Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, p. 363.

General Whiting should have been promoted as Major-General immediately after the Seven Days Battles, but unaccountably it was delayed until the next year. With a sense of injustice at the reduction of his command to brigade thereafter, he wrote to General Lee,

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W. H. C. Whiting (2)
Fitz John Porter (1)
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Robert E. Lee (1)
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