This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 would have been difficult to find a single inhabitant of the Confederate capital who had not a relative or a friend in the ranks of the army. Curious persons and newspaper correspondents followed it as far as the battle-field. The three divisions of Hill, Longstreet and Smith, after some strenuous efforts, arrived in position toward eight o'clock; they had been obliged, however, to leave their artillery behind—a bold resolve, which the Federals were not wise enough to imitate. But Huger's troops, which had started at the same time as the former, did not make their appearance in the positions which had been assigned to them. It is probable that the latter general may have found the fords at White Oak Swamp utterly impassable. Be that as it may, he did not reach the field of battle during the whole of that day, nor did he even notify his chief of the cause of his delay; his absence, so fatal to the success of the Confederates, was made the subject of bitter reproaches on the part of those whose plans had thus been frustrated. Finally, about noon, Longstreet, who had been waiting for him up to that moment, gave Hill the order to attack. Without sending any skirmishers ahead, that they might take the enemy more completely by surprise, the Confederates advanced, some in line across the woods, others in deep columns along the road, sweeping before them Casey's pickets, together with a regiment which had been sent to reinforce them. The foremost works of the Federals, which were as yet unfinished, being simply abatis or breastworks, whose profiles could afford no protection to soldiers, were occupied by Naglee's brigade. The latter made a vigorous resistance, while the division artillery, under Colonel Bailey, an old regular officer, caused great havoc in the ranks of the assailants. Meanwhile, the combat extended along the line. Hill had deployed all his troops and brought them into action; his left had reached Fair Oaks, where Couch was making a stand with a portion of his division. Casey's two other brigades had hastened to the assistance of Naglee, and, despite heavy losses, they held out against the Confederates, whose numbers were constantly increasing. Longstreet's division now entered into line and was supporting Hill's soldiers, who were becoming exhausted. Attacking the Federal position by the right, some of his regiments penetrated into the woods which separate White Oak Swamp from the
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.