The battle of the 23th of June.
Camp in the Woods, June 23th, 1862.
To the Editors of the Dispatch:
It is a little remarkable that in all the accounts of the heavy skirmish that occurred on Wednesday last on the Williamsburg
road, where the battle of ‘"Seven Pines
"’ occurred on the 31st of May, no mention has been made of the noble brigade commanded by Brigather General Robert Ronsom, Jr.
, of North Carolina
I have no idea in the world that the press is disposed to do injustice to any of the brave men who are so self sacrificingly devoting themselves and their all to their country, or to turn the cold shoulder of silence to their deeds of valor; and I trust you will permit the world to know a portion of the history of that battle — for it was a battle — that is yet unwritten.
began the fight, and was aided by Gen. Mahone
, and the troops they had in the field behaved gallantly; and it must be understood, therefore, that what I write is not to detract in the least from their just fame; but Gen. Ransom
was in it also, and though the Yankees
have found it out to their sorrow, our own people at home have yet to be informed of it. On Tuesday Gen. Ransom
commenced meeting from Petersburg
, and his brigade being office the largest in the service, it was not until near daylight Wednesday morning that it reached Richmond
The 25th regiment, under command of Col. Rutledge
, was the last to arrive, and they did not march out of Richmond
till after breakfast Wednesday morning. They were just ahead of the General
and staff who followed on as soon as the General
could call by Gen. Huger
's headquarters and report and receive orders.
Barely had Gen. Ransom
reached the ground where two of his regiments (the 24th and 35th) were encamped, when he heard firing in front, and spurring forward, found that three of his regiments — the 48th, Colonel Hill
, the 49th, Colonel Ramsner
, and the 25th, Colonel Rulledge
--were with the two brigades previously mentioned, engaging the enemy in a desperate fight.
They had reached the ground intrigued and jaded, but like heroic men they ‘"sailed in"’ and fought like veterans.
The 48th had no less than five regiments opposed to it, and had to stand a cross fire, but they bore it like heros, and finally drove the whole brigade of Yankee scoundrels from the field.
The loss in this regiment was heavy, and several officers were among the killed.
The 49th was on the extreme left, and though more than the 48th in the losses it sustained, pressed on the foe and poured heavy and continuous fires upon him, till they finally drove him back.
The 25th did not stop marching from the time they left Richmond
till they stopped immediately in front of the line of battle to throw off their knapsacks and commence firing.
They went in with a perfect vim and behaved gallantly throughout the day. Their loss was not very heavy, and the majority of the wounded are but slightly 59.
The fight continued through the day and part of the night, and in the afternoon the 24th, Colonel Clark
25th, Col. Vance
, and 35th, Col. Ransom
, were ordered down.
, being on the field, directed their movements in person.
Through the whole afternoon the musketry was terrific, and the Minie balls came whistling by us constantly, while now and then a shell would explode within a hundred yards and less of the position occupied by the General
had their sharpshooters up in trees to pick off officers, and the scoundrels were plainly seen in the rear of their lines, and they fired constantly, but aimed badly.
Our men were much move exposed than the Yankees
, but the dead they left on the field shows very plainly that our men, though fewer in number, were cooler and more fatal shots.
Our forces, notwithstanding they were opposed by an overwhelming force, did not yield an inch, but held their ground through the day and through the night also, the General
and staff sleeping in the open air upon the field.
The three regiments last named, 24th, 35th and 26th, were ordered into the front lines about sunset, and as soon as it became dark, the Hessians in large force attacked them, shouting and yelling like Indians
, but many of them will never yell again; and the whole of them were twice
driven back, (for they repeated the experiment,) and dared not make a third attempt.
These latter demonstrations were made against the 26th, Col. Vance
, and the 35th, Col. Ransom
They threw shell and grape, however, repeatedly during the night, and a grape shot was found the next morning within a few feet of where the General
and his staff had slept during the night.
About daybreak, on Thursday morning, the enemy opened fire again, and this time all along the line of the two regiments named above, and the 24th, Col. Clark
But they could not stand the return our men gave them, having learned too much the day before about their expertness in the use of fire-arms and the unflinching manner in which they stood up to their work, and therefore retired.
A large number of prisoners were taken, and the Yankee
scoundrels not only left their dead, but their wounded also, upon the field, and even committed the dastardly act of firing on our men in the afternoon, while they were giving them water.
It is an indisputable fact that the Adjutant
of the 48th was stooping down to give water to one of their wounded men, when the blackhearted vandals fired on him, and forced him to leave his canteen; but the wounded man, more honorable than his comrades, sent it to him afterwards by another wounded one who was brought off, he himself refusing to be taken away, saying he knew he had to die, and as his own friends would not move him, he was not willing to trouble us, and would lay there and die.
This brigade, General and all, has been in constant duty ever since its arrival, sleeping in the open air, and having skirmishes two or three times a day and night, all the time.
The last occurred late this afternoon, when the Yankees
took out, leaving their dead scattered over the whole field, not having buried a single man,
from the first day to this time.
The woods in advance is a dense mass of smoke, and there is no doubt they have burned everything and put out for ‘"the other side of Jordan
."’ Rip Van Wisele