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[139] Anderson's right. The third, Armistead's, which was to have commenced the attack, followed Magruder. The latter, pushing his heads of column forward as fast as the thick underwood which he had to clear right and left from his path permitted, arrived about four o'clock in front of Porter's positions, and immediately placed Purcell's guns in battery, the only field-pieces that had been able to follow him. But the Confederate artillerists have scarcely shown themselves when they are crushed by the fire from Porter's powerful guns. Despite their stubbornness, their pieces are speedily dismounted or reduced to silence. Another battery, called the Letcher Artillery, which has come up to their assistance, has also most of its cannoneers killed or wounded in a short space of time. Magruder, whom no obstacle can dismay, thinks he can rescue this battery by making his soldiers charge some of the Federal guns posted nearest to his point of attack. This task is entrusted to one regiment, which rushes up bravely to the assault within one hundred and fifty metres of the enemy's guns; but the latter reply by such a shower of grape that the Confederates recoil in disorder, leaving the ground strewn with dead and wounded. A second and a third charge, also made by a single regiment at a time, are followed by the same result. The fire of the artillery is supported by the volleys of musketry from Porter's troops. No direct orders, no general command, control the movements of the Confederate army. Stuart, carried away first toward the White House by the greed for plunder, then into the peninsula in the vain hope of overtaking Stoneman, has not yet rejoined Lee, and it may be said that with him the eyes of the Confederate army are absent. Whiting on the left, D. H. Hill in the centre, Magruder and Huger on the right, afford each other no mutual support, there being no communication between them, nor any instructions from Lee to enable them to act in concert. After having given to the different corps, as a signal of attack, an indication entirely insufficient, the commander-in-chief of the Confederate army seems to have ceased to preside over the movements of these corps, which are, as it were, lost in the midst of the forest. The Federals, on the contrary, from the heights of Malvern Hill, can perceive all these movements at a glance, and their central position enables them at all times rapidly to mass men

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Fitzjohn Porter (3)
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