previous next

The lines.

As reported for several successive days, little has occurred at the front to break upon the oppressive and unusual quiet of the lines. Every needful preparation has been made for any movement, offensive or defensive, but the impossible state of the roads precludes the possibility of active movements, should not the enemy take the initiative and force upon us — a consummation devoutly to be wished. Skirmishing of some king, either with sharp- shooters of artillery, goes on every day.

Yesterday morning Capt. Squires's 1st Company of the Washington Artillery, together with Capt. Andrews's Maryland battery, and some places of Col. Lee's command, engaged the enemy's batteries across the river. After a fight of nearly three hours the enemy withdrew, having suffered a loss of one caisson exploded and several men and horses killed.

Later in the day Captain Squires moved a section of his battery to a point commanding the river, where a regiment of the enemy was engaged in building a pontoon bridge. The section opened fire upon them with spherical case and cannister, driving them from their work in confusion, and killing and wounding a large number. In the evening the battery shelled a house six hundred yards from Dr. Garnett's, used by the enemy as an outpost for their pickets. Falling to set it on fire, Lieutenant E. Owen, of the Washington Artillery, Volunteered to take a squad of men and burn it. About a dozen of the Eighteenth Mississippi accompanied him, and started at a double-quick towards the enemy's lines. Arriving at the house, Lieutenant Owen crape in at a window and fired the staircase. In a short time the place was reduced to ashes. The party then retired leisurely, not receiving a shot, although within fifty yards of the enemy's lines, and in full view. General Magruder complimented Lieutenant Owen for his gallantry, and expressed himself gratified at the result of the adventured.--The enemy have not fired at our batteries since.

The state of the roads along our lines is indeed a serious matter, and in their terrible condition, from recent rains, render the duties of quartermasters and commissaries the most laborious and irksome in the army.--Yet, although much has been done by the authorities to improve the condition of things and facilitate transportation as far as practicable, a little resight and prudence could effect much more. As many of the usual averages of communication are cut off from a wing of the army by much water in the lower parts of the city, it would not require more than a detail of fifty men to open others, and span the creeks with good temporary log bridges. Yet this has not been done, and consequently, what few bridges remain are over-worked, and heavily laden teems have slipped and fallen over into the ditch, blocking up the only bridge and ford which remained intact at present.

The roads are in a wretched condition, but could be improved, and should be for none know the moment when guns will have to cross and perhaps hurriedly. Last Saturday it was impossible to bring up artillery early in the action, because of the roads. Yet it is not a very difficult or expensive matter to detail two or three hundred men for half day, and with trimmed logs and common earth, and a little of the superabundant mud everywhere visible, the roads would not only be passable, but practicable for all and every purpose.

The heavy firing on Thursday morning was a matter of much town talk and conjecture, the prevalent opinion being that it arose from a second attack on Drury's bluff, but upon riding towards the line of fire, through acres of mud and innumerable sheets of water, we found the noise proceeded from an artillery dust then progressing on Garrotting farm, between some of our places and those of the enemy's battery on the north bank of the Chickahominy. For some time past the foe have been busily erecting earthworks, from which they kept up a continual fire upon the Mississippians drawn up in line of battle, and picketing in the bottom.

The 17th and 18th Mississippians being nearest the enemy, their sharpshooters and artillery have paid them great attention, never failing to shell them liberally every morning and evening. On Thursday, however, some few of cur artillerists undertook to reply, and accordingly two pieces from the Louisiana 1st Maryland, Hampton Legion, and Rewan ( N. C.) batteries, drove upon a knell near Garnet's house, before a wooded hallow, and kept up such a heavy, rapid and accurate fire upon the enemy that, although reinforced to double the strength of ours, they were forced to retreat to the woods, leaving many dead and wounded, which we saw conveyed from the field on stretchers. Our position being accurately known to the enemy, we did not take the caissons into action, the limbers alone advancing, so that when short of ammunition two other pieces advanced to the others retired, thus keeping up a continual and exciting movement, highly exhilarating and beautiful. The fire on both sides was very accurate, but so hotly were the foe replied to that a flag of trace was been waving, as if for a cessation of hostilities. This was disregarded, however, as their only object was to gain time and bring up heavier and more numerous pieces than ours. After about ninety minutes cannonade, all subdued into quiet again along the line, cur loss being one horse killed, two wounded, and three or four slightly wounded by fragments of shells among the artillerymen, and one of the 15th Mississippi slightly in the month. Garnett's house is very much shaken — a shell having entered the roof and exploded in the passage, destroying every pane of class in the dwelling, and rendering it unsafe for the sick of the brigade encamped around these.

In regard to the particular active of one of the batteries (Bowan's North Carolina Battery,) we learn through a communication, that they were ordered with four pieces into the tailor, when some of the other guns were withdrawn and nearly all the time engaged instanced the fire of every gun the enemy had ‘"in battery"’--the greater portion being of pry heavy calibre. The men of the battery behaved themselves with the greatest coolness and bravery under the terrible fire — exposed, too, from the position they were placed it, on the top of a hill enfiladed on all sides by the enemy's batteries. The injuries sustained by the battery, although very slight in the time engaged, was greater than any other battery in the action--one horse killed another half his head shot away, and two wounded beyond recovery — total, four horses killed and wounded."


Among the many wounded of last Saturday, one man attracted particular notice. He was a splendid looking young man, evidently of fine ‘"blood,"’ and from his powder- begrimmed face and dirty hands, must have been handling cartridges very industriously. He was wounded, and had much difficulty in pairing his way through the many and deep mud puddles, but being consoled with a cigar, and a very small portion of rye, he looked cheerful and contented, his up being cooked on three hairs, and gun at ‘"right shoulder shift,"’ ‘"Hart!"’ asked one. ‘"Shot in the leg. "’ ‘"Wharegiment !"’ ‘"First Virginia,"’ replied he, hrimoronsy. ‘"The regiment's shout played out! and I'm the last of the Mobicans"’ (!) We know not whether his gallant corps ‘"is played cat" ’ cannot in camt parlance, but we sincerely hope not. They went into battle with but a very few, and out of their number few rewire unhurt. Are there not thousands of recruits ready and willing to fill up the ranks. this glorious regiment--one of the fines and most renowned of the State?

We are reliably informed that in the election hold last Monday for Major of the 1st (Ja.) artillery, Edgar F. Mosely, Capt. of the 4 company, was chosen to that position. Major Mosely has rapidly advanced in the service, not more than twelve months having elapsed since he occupied the position of corporal, and now he stands at the head of his regiment.

Capt. Rosser, of the 2d Company Washington Artillery, who was wounded in the skirmish in Mechanicville, is now nearly recovered. Notwithstanding the painful character of his wound, Capt. Rosser has for some days attended to his duties in the fold. His battery is temporarily under the command of Lt. Garnett, C. S. A.

St. Paul's Battalion, from Louisiana, which fought so gallantly in the battle of the Even Pines, did not act as volunteers, as was stated yesterday, although some officers temporarily attacked to it did. The battalion irregularly in for the war, and all but one company has been in for the war since May twelve months ago. On this occasion the battalion was led by Capt. McGoodwin, of the Crescent Blues, who received a severe wound in the arm, but of twelve officers regularly belonging to the battalion ten were, wounded.

The report in a city paper, that Capt. V. G. de L'Isle, Quartermaster of the battalion, was killed is untrue. He received a severe wound in the arm, but is now in the city doing well.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Chickahominy (Virginia, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
E. Owen (3)
Squires (2)
Rosser (2)
Edgar F. Mosely (2)
Garnett (2)
McGoodwin (1)
Magruder (1)
Lee (1)
V. G. L'Isle (1)
Hart (1)
Drury (1)
Bowan (1)
Andrews (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 12th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: