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[157]

General Joseph E. Johnston, in a conversation with the writer several years after the war, placed the responsibility for this charge upon General D. H. Hill. He said he did not order it made, but permitted it only, however, after repeated requests from General Hill. The enemy seemed content to hold his own, without much further effort to advance his line as the shades of night came on. During the night and early dawn of the 6th the grand retreat was resumed. The 6th of May found the army on the march without a mouthful to eat, as the wagons had gone far ahead towards Richmond. On the evening of the 9th the Chickahominy was reached, and here the wagons were overtaken, much to the delight of drooping hearts and hungry stomachs. On this day, while bivouacked on the banks of the river, the reorganization of companies in the 23d Regiment took place, and new regimental officers were elected, as follows: Daniel H. Christie, Colonel; Robert D. Johnston, former captain of Company K, Lieutenant-Colonel; Ed. J. Christian, former lieutenant of Company C, Major; Vines E. Turner, former lieutenant of Company G, Adjutant.

The battle of Seven Pines was fought on the 31st of May, 1862. Here the 23d received the first real ‘baptism of fire.’ The attack was made by General Johnston with a view of capturing or destroying two divisions of the enemy which had been thrown forward to the southern side of the Chickahominy. The brunt of the fight was borne by D. H. Hill's Division, to which the 23d belonged. Samuel Garland, Jr., a Virginian, now commanded the brigade. The four brigades of Garland, Rodes, Anderson and Rains stormed the enemy's camp and captured everything as it stood, with twelve pieces of artillery, while General Casey's headquarters and official papers fell into the hands of the brave Confederates. At this point of attack the victory was certainly complete; and if equal progress had been made to the right and left of the centre, then might General Johnston's anticipations have been fully realized in the capture or destruction of the two divisions, with which purpose in view, as already indicated, the attack had been made.

It is not our intention to attempt a studied description of any battles, nor, indeed, is it essential to the purpose and limited province of this sketch. Besides, it is a difficult matter, even from the testimony of eye-witnesses and participants and with complete data in hand, to describe the position of any one regiment relative to that of another in battle. And again, with reference to true Confederate

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