house toward our new line. When well within range General Long opened upon them with thirty pieces of artillery, which with the ‘fire of our skirmishers, broke and drove them back with severe loss. We afterwards learned that they were two fresh divisions, nearly 10,000 strong, just come up from the rear.’General A. L. Long, Chief of Artillery, Ewell's Corps, pages 1087 and 1088 of Records, says: ‘Everything remained quiet along the lines till the morning of the 18th (May, 1864). The enemy about 9 A. M. advanced a heavy force against our new line. He was allowed to come within good canister range of our breastworks. Carter's division of artillery then opened a most murderous fire of canister and spherical case-shot, which at once arrested his advance, threw his columns into confusion, and forced him to a disorderly retreat. His loss was very heavy; ours was nothing. This attack fairly illustrates the immense power of artillery well handled. A select force of 10,000 or 12,000 infantry was broken and driven from the field in less than thirty minutes by twenty-nine pieces of artillery alone.’ This account given in the published reports of each side seems somewhat at variance, looking at it from opposite sides as we do. It may not, therefore, be out of place to speak of the action as it must have appeared to the Confederates. They were quietly posted in the new line of works on Ewell's front and had been there nearly six days with scarcely a picket fire on their immediate front. On this morning the troops had finished their simple breakfast and were standing around waiting events of the day. None were aware that a movement by the enemy was going on beyond the old line of works, and certainly the Confederates had no knowledge that he had started at daylight a real attack of our lines. If these movements took place at 4 or 4:30 A. M., they must have been in marching to and over the old abandoned works which he terms ‘capturing’ the first and second lines, and for the purpose of getting into positions and arranging for the assault when it did take place. The old works were abandoned and deserted days before and needed no capture, and no Confederate works with troops behind them were captured this day. About 8 A. M., attention was attracted to the commotion of the enemy in and near the old deserted works, apparently about to advance, and the pickets and skirmishers of the Confederates were called in. All were astonished at this and could not believe a serious attempt would be made to assail such a line
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.