Rebel reports and narratives.
Grenada “appeal” account.
Richmond, July 7.I have been upon the battle-field of the thirtieth of June and first of July, but have no power to describe to you the condition of the country or the evidences presented to the eye of the terrible conflict that raged there. For five miles along the road pursued by the two armies the surface of the earth is strewn with tattered blue coats, knapsacks cut to pieces, broken canteens, empty cartridge-boxes, and dirty military caps. The fences are down; the trees, riven and blasted by the shells of the artillery, impede the way with their fallen branches; the houses are riddled in weather-board and shingle roof; here a broken caisson stands in the middle of the road; there the festering carcass of a dead horse poisons the atmosphere with its exhalations, while on every hand the blighted crops of clover, corn, oats and wheat, tell of the ravages which twenty-four hours of warfare accomplished. Perhaps the most awful struggle of the war was that of Tuesday, the first of July, of which I wrote you so hurried and inaccurate an account that I desire to recur to the engagement at this time, to make even the imperfect and unsatisfactory outline of events presented in this correspondence somewhat more full and truthful with regard to it. The enemy, flying before our victorious troops, had reached, on Tuesday afternoon, an elevated plateau of land, some sixteen miles from Richmond, and not more than two miles from the James River, where they availed themselves of a strong natural position to make a stand. Between them and the pursuing confederate column lay, immediately in their front, an open space, nearly level, about twelve hundred yards across, planted in corn, which was scarcely more than ankle-high, and edged by a deep, dense wood, out of which the confederates must necessarily advance. Four powerful batteries of six guns each were at once placed so as to sweep the entire plain. Abut half-past 5 o'clock, a regiment of Gen. Magruder's division, thrown out as skirmishers, coming upon the open ground, met the heavy fire of the enemy, and fell back to their main body. This force was drawn up in the woods, ready at the proper moment to charge the enemy's batteries. The Purcell battery had been already ordered to take its position in front of the wood, and had opened a brisk cannonade, when a column of not more than five hundred men rushed forward from their place of concealment at double-quick across the corn-field, and reached a point probably about one hundred and fifty yards distant from the guns of the Yankees on our extreme right. The fire had now become terrific. A perfect tempest of iron broke over the field, and to add to the horrors of the scene, immense projectiles from the enemy's gunboats on the river began to fall around the combatants. It is remarkable that not one of these explosives did our troops any injury, and not more than half a dozen of them burst at all. Just behind the Yankee batteries was a handsome mansion, which will be known in the official reports as “Crew's House.” Here one of the largest of the shells thrown by the gunboats, exploded with the most fatal consequences to the Yankees, killing seven men instantly, and tearing a gun-carriage and even the brass piece itself to fragments. I saw a shell, doubtless of the same size of this disastrous missile, lying unexploded on the field, which measured twenty-two inches in length, and ten inches in diameter. Meanwhile the column, having been thinned out to a mere handful men, by the withering fire of the enemy's field-pieces, were compelled to fall back in disorder, and the Purcell battery having lost more than sixty men, killed and wounded, and nearly all its horses, was withdrawn, and the Letcher artillery ordered to replace it. The cannonade was still continuous and desolating. A second and larger body of infantry now marched forward on the outer edge of the plateau to the left of our position, and after gaining the very crest of the gentle summit occupied by the Yankees, was driven back with heavy loss. The Letcher artillery at this moment bore the brunt of the destructive fire of the twenty-four pieces of the Yankees, and every moment suffered some loss. A gallant lieutenant was killed at his gun. Two of the men were so mutilated as to be scarcely recognizable in death, and nineteen others were wounded. When it became apparent that this company could no longer maintain its position without immediate support, the third attack was made in heavy column from the centre, the men moving forward in great steadiness, but  only to be repulsed as before. Night was now coming on, and a flank movement having been made by Jackson on the enemy's right with great havoc to their ranks, they withdrew their batteries and retreated in the darkness. Thus was brought to a close the memorable fight of Tuesday, the first of July. It differed from the sanguinary battle of Gaines's Mill in this, that it was fought principally at long-range with artillery, whereas the encounter at the mill was between the infantry hand to hand and under the breastworks of the foe. During the whole of this tremendous cannonade of Tuesday, Gen. Lee's headquarters were at a small house on the roadside within range. Several of the enemy's case-shot burst in the yard, and upon the day of my visit the fragments of shells could be picked up all around the building. Continuing my ride beyond the battle-field of Tuesday, about a mile and a half, I came to the Malvern Hill mansion, which is occupied as a Federal hospital, and there I saw two hundred and fifty of the wounded Yankees in all conditions of horrible mutilation; many minus a leg or an arm; others with wounds in the head; others again shot in the body; all requiring the utmost care of the surgeons, and yet McClellan had left but three in charge of this and several other hospitals in the neighborhood. One of their wounded men told me that their loss in the fight of Tuesday far exceeded, for the number engaged, that of the Seven Pines; another said that had the first attacking column been three thousand strong, the day would have ended at once in a rout, for the cannoniers of one battery had left their guns, and the infantry supporting it had fled in confusion before the confederates had proceeded two thirds the way across the field; and a third confessed that McClellan had proclaimed it in a general order that all the United States soldiers who should fall into the hands of the rebels would be put to death! The house at Malvern Hill is a quaint old structure of the last century, built of red brick, and stands on a lofty hill a thousand yards from James River, of whose meanderings for several miles it commands a beautiful view. The house was standing in Tarleton's time, and is marked down upon the map accompanying the early English edition of his campaigns. A fine grove of ancient elms embowers the <*>awn in a grateful shade, affording numberless vistas of far-off wheat-fields and little gleaming brooks of water, with the dark blue fringe of the primitive pines on the horizon. It seemed a bitter satire on the wickedness of man, this peaceful, serene, harmonious aspect of nature, and I turned from the joyous and quiet landscape to the mutilated victims around me with something very like a malediction upon Seward and Lincoln and their participants in the crime of bringing on this accursed war. We are not surprised, of course, that the operations of the last ten days are claimed as victories by the Northern press. Gen. McCall, who, you know, is a prisoner in Richmond, conversing with an Episcopal clergyman of this city, declared that McClellan's “change of base line” to the James River, was but the carrying out of a plan some time resolved upon. “And it was a part of the plan, sir,” asked our clergyman, “that you should be in Richmond a prisoner?” The General was silent. Every day adds to the amount of arms, ammunition, and stores captured by our forces. Trenches of uncommon size and suspicious looking graves have been opened and found to contain boxes of fine Belgian rifles; large quantities of fixed ammunition and sabres have been dug up in the same manner, and wagons have been discovered concealed in the woods with clothing and commissary stores in good order. On Friday Col. Thomas T. Mumford, of Jackson's cavalry, overhauled a wagon containing the drawings of McClellan's engineer department, embracing plans of all his earthworks executed and projected, and an excellent map of the country from actual survey. The value of this acquisition is incalculable. While the army has thus been winning victories and plunder, it was natural enough that the confederate navy (what there is left of it under Mr. Mallory) should meet with disaster and loss. The steam gunboat Teaser has fallen into the enemy's hands with a balloon on board, and its armament of two guns and ammunition unharmed. The government has so successfully kept from the public all intelligence of the movements and disposition of our forces during the last four or five days that I am unable to give you any information of affairs. All that we know is, that McClellan is at Berkeley, on James River, where he has established his line of communication with Old Point, and received large reenforcements. The weather is blazing hot--ninety-six degrees of Fahrenheit in the shade — and a week of such fierce suns acting on the “impenetrable morass” which protects his flank will probably reduce his army to one half its actual number. But then it will also decimate our own force. Let us hope for the best. “Patience,” says Sancho Panza, “and shuffle the cards.”
Richmond Examiner account.
Richmond, July 4, 1863.The battle of Tuesday was perhaps the fiercest and most sanguinary of the series of bloody conflicts that have signalized each of the last seven days. We have already adverted to the part played in the action by Gen. Jackson and others, but, as yet, have made little mention of the operations upon the occasion of Gen. Magruder and the troops under his command. We now propose to give such particulars as we have obtained on the field after the battle. Early on Tuesday morning the enemy, from the position to which he had been driven the night before, continued his retreat in a southeasterly direction towards his gunboats on James River. At eight o'clock A. M. Magruder recommenced the pursuit, advancing cautiously, but steadily, and shelling the forests and swamps in front as he progressed. This method of advance  was kept up throughout the morning, and until four o'clock P. M., without coming up with the enemy. But between four and five o'clock our troops reached a large open field, a mile long and three quarters in width, on the farm of Dr. Carter. The enemy were strongly intrenched in a dense forest on the other side of this field. Their artillery, of about fifty pieces, could be plainly seen bristling on their freshly constructed earthworks. At ten minutes before five o'clock P. M., Gen. Magruder ordered his men to charge across the field and drive the enemy from their position. Gallantly they sprang to the encounter, rushing into the field at a full run. Instantly from the line of the enemy's breastworks a murderous storm of grape and canister was hurled into their ranks, with the most terrible effect. Officers and men went down by hundreds, but yet, undaunted and unwavering, our line dashed on until two thirds of the distance across the field was accomplished. Here the carnage from the withering fire of the enemy's combined artillery and musketry was dreadful. Our line wavered a moment, and fell back to the cover of the woods. Twice again the effort to carry the position was renewed, but each time with the same results. Night at length rendered a further attempt injudicious, and the fight, until ten o'clock, was kept up by the artillery on both sides. To add to the horrors, if not the dangers, of the battle, the enemy's gunboats, from their position at Curl's Neck, two and a half miles distant, poured on the field continual broadsides from their immense rifle-guns. Though it is questionable, as we have suggested, whether any serious loss was inflicted on us by the gunboats, the horrors of the fight were aggravated by the monster shells, which tore shrieking through the forests, and exploded with a concussion which seemed to shake the solid earth itself. The moral effect on the Yankees of these terror-inspiring allies must have been very great; and in this, we believe, consisted their greatest damage to the army of the South. It must not be inferred from the above account that the slaughter was all upon our side. We have the best reasons to know that the well-directed fire of our cannon and musketry, both before and subsequent to our efforts to storm the enemy's position, fell with fatal effect upon his heavily massed forces. At ten o'clock P. M. the last gun was fired from our side. Each side held the position occupied when the fight began, and during the remainder of the night each was busily engaged removing their wounded. The rumble of the enemy's ambulances and wagons, in rapid and hurried motion, did not cease even with the dawn. At ten o'clock on Wednesday morning they were still busy, and discontinued their labors, not because their wounded had been removed, but for fear of our advance. Our wounded were carried from the field directly to the farm-houses in the neighborhood, whence, after their injuries had been examined and dressed, they were brought to this city. During the morning the enemy evacuated his position and retreated, still bearing a south-easterly direction, and apparently not attempting to lessen the distance between him and his gunboats. The battle-field, surveyed through the cold rain of Wednesday morning, presented scenes too shocking to be dwelt on without anguish. The woods and the field before mentioned were, on the western side, covered with our dead, in all the degrees of violent mutilation; while in the woods on the west side of the field, lay, in about equal numbers, the blue uniformed bodies of the enemy. Many of the latter were still alive, having been left by their friends in their indecent haste to escape from the rebels. Great numbers of horses were killed on both sides, and the sight of their disfigured carcasses, and the stench proceeding from them, added much to the loathsome horrors of the bloody field. The corn-fields, but recently turned by the plough-share, were furrowed and torn by the iron missiles. Thousands of round shot and unexploded shell lay upon the surface of the earth. Among the latter were many of the enormous shells thrown by the gunboats. They were eight inches in width by twenty-three in length. The ravages of these monsters were every where discernible through the forests. In some places long avenues were cut through tree-tops, and here and there great trees, three and four feet in thickness, were burst open and split to very shreds. In one remarkable respect this battle-field differed in appearance from any of the preceding days. In the track of the enemy's flight there were no cast-away blue great-coats, no blankets, tents, nor stores. He had evidently, before reaching this point, thrown away every thing that could retard his hasty retreat. Nothing was to be found on this portion of the field but killed and wounded Yankees, and their guns and knapsacks. The battle of Tuesday evening has been made memorable by its melancholy monument of carnage which occurred in a portion of Gen. Magruder's corps, which had been ordered, in very inadequate force, to charge one of the strongest of the enemy's batteries. There are various explanations of this affair. The fire upon the few regiments who were ordered to take the ememy's battery, which was supported by two heavy brigades, and which swept the thin lines of our devoted men, who had to approach it across a stretch of open ground, is said to have been an appalling sight. It will be recollected that it was stated, with great precision of detail, that on Saturday evening last we had brought the enemy to bay on the south side of the Chickahominy, and that it only remained to finish him in a single battle. Such, in fact, appears to have been the situation then. The next morning, however, it was perceived that our supposed resources of generalship had given us too much confidence; that the enemy had managed to extricate himself from the critical  position, and having massed his forces, had succeeded, under the cover of the night, in opening a way to the James River. Since this untoward event, the operations of our army on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy have been to follow the fugitive enemy through a country where he has had admirable opportunities of concealment, and through the swamps and forests of which he has retreated with a judgment, a dexterity and a spirit of fortitude which, however unavailing they may be to save his entire command, must challenge our admiration for his generalship. The glory and fruits of our victory may have been seriously diminished by the grave mishap or fault by which the enemy was permitted to leave his camp on the south side of the Chickahominy, in an open country, and to plunge into the dense cover of wood and swamp, where the best portion of four or five days has been consumed in hunting him and finding out his new position, only in time to attack him under the uncertainty and disadvantage of the darkness of night. But in spite of delays and embarrassments which have already occurred in bringing the enemy to a decisive action, the successes of the week's engagements, as far as now known to us, are not to be lightly esteemed. We would not deprecate results already accomplished, because of errors which, if they had not occurred, would have made our victory more glorious and more complete. The siege of Richmond has been raised: an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men have been pushed from their strongholds and fortifications, and put to flight; we have enjoyed the éclat of an almost daily succession of victories, some of which have been achieved in circumstances in which the valor of our troops has alone redeemed us from the faults of military science; we have gathered an immense spoil, in which we are reported to have taken at least ten thousand prisoners, and from seventy to eighty pieces of artillery; and we have demoralized and dispersed, if we have not succeeded in annihilating, an army which had every resource that could be summoned to its assistance, every possible addition of numbers within the reach of the Yankee government, and every material condition of success to insure for it the result of the contest which it now abandons in dismay.
The dead on the field.The different postures of the dead always strike a spectator as he passes over the battle-field. One lay on his back, with his arms stretched upward at length; another, with his head plunged into a pool of mud and water, having evidently died slaking his thirst; a third lay partly on the bank and partly in the water of a creek, having been shot in crossing, and died clutching the twigs and bushes on the opposite bank. One, shot through the head, had made himself a bed of leaves, and laid down, drawing his blanket and overcoat about him. His uniform and face betokened an officer of some rank. All of the above were of the Yankee slain. During Tuesday night, those engaged in carrying the confederate wounded off the field could not use their lanterns, as every flicker from them was sure to draw the fire of the Yankees. . . . . Nothing was to be found on this portion of the field but killed and wounded Yankees and their guns and knapsacks. A mute, and to Virginians a most interesting story, was told by these knapsacks. Upwards of three hundred of them belonged to the famous New-York Seventh regiment who were once so feasted and fondled in this city. If a remnant of them return to the Empire City, they may say with truth that on Virginia soil they were appropriately welcomed on the occasion of both their visits as friends and foes. [The Seventh regiment alluded to was not on the field.--Ed.]
Address of Jefferson Davis.
President of the confederate States, I do hereby tender you the thanks of the country whose just cause you have so skilfully and heroically saved. Ten days ago, an invading army, vastly superior to you in numbers and materials of war, closely beleaguered your capital, and vauntingly proclaimed its speedy conquest. You marched to attack the enemy in his intrenchments. With well — directed movements and death-daring valor, you charged upon him in his strong position, drove him from field to field over a distance of more than thirty-five miles, and spite of his reenforcements, compelled him to seek shelter under cover of his gunboats, where he now lies, cowering before the army he so lately derided and threatened with entire subjugation. The fortitude with which you have borne the trials and privations, the gallantry with which you have entered into each successive battle, must have been witnessed to be fully appreciated, but a grateful people will not fail to recognize your deeds, and bear you in loved remembrance. Well may it be said of you that you have done enough for glory; but duty to a suffering country and to the cause of constitutional liberty, claims for you yet further efforts. Let it be your pride to relax in nothing which can promote your own future efficiency, your own great object being to drive the invaders from your soil, carrying your standard beyond the outer boundaries of the Confederacy, to wring from an unscrupulous foe the recognition which is the birth-right of every independent community.