learned that Jackson
was between him and Washington
he advised General Halleck
to withdraw every man from the peninsula and move them to the capital.
Finding, therefore, that no danger threatened Richmond
, General Lee
' Division and two brigades under General Walker
, which had been left behind, to join him. McLaws
' Division was composed of four brigades, Kershaw
's South Carolina
We will now leave for a moment the main army, and see what McLaws
had been doing.
On August 10, the enemy moved from Harrison's Landing
and threatened to attack Richmond
was ordered to meet him, while the other brigades awaited developments.
We, however, had no engagement, because the enemy withdrew, and the Mississippians returned to camp, some nineteen miles from Richmond
In the march to intercept the enemy, Barksdale
passed over the battle field of White Oak Swamp
, where we saw a most harrowing sight.
A fence extending from the road towards the river was built through thick woods, and as the brigade marched along, we saw several hundred Federal dead lying in a row. Some were killed while in the act of climbing, while others lay on both sides of the fence.
Buzzards in great numbers had been feeding on them, and in many instances had stripped the flesh from their bones.
Their clothing had been torn by these carrion fowl, and altogether the scene was one of indescribable horror.
The poor fellows had been killed during the night of June 30, and were not found by the burying parties sent out after the battle.
A long ditch was dug and all were buried where they lay.
Some days after the return to camp, McLaws
received orders to join the main army, and on August 27 we left Camp Holly about sunrise and at 2 o'clock we boarded the cars at Richmond
and hurried to Hanover Junction
This was the terminus of the line, where we found tents stretched, the first we had seen for a year.
's Brigade arrived on the first train and quickly disembarking, the men promptly occupied the tents.
As other brigades arrived and passed beyond, they eyed the Mississippians with envy, and many bright bits of repartee were exchanged.
We distinctly heard the artillery duel preliminary to the great battle of Second Manassas
, which occurred the following day, August 20, and the men were eager to join their comrades beyond the Rappahannock
They cheered and yelled and speculated about what was going on. Finally