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[124] and the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning added to the wildness of the scene, which was grand and terrific. The fire of musketry and artillery now raged with great fury. The hill was clothed in smoke and darkness, relieved only by the flashes of the guns. Complete darkness soon settled upon this bloody field, but once in a while the hill would again become a living flame, to which there was no reply from our side, for those who were on the field had to hug Mother Earth to escape death. Soon the storm of wind and rain was upon us, adding to our discomforts, until about 9 o'clock the firing on both sides ceased, the enemy having retreated to their gunboats, and we retired to the woods to seek such shelter as the protecting branches afforded. The Federal loss in this battle was, killed, wounded and missing, three thousand. The Confederate loss was fully double this.

The battle of Malvern Hill was a disaster of a serious nature. The demoralization of the brigades engaged was beyond conception; regiments and companies were so mixed, mingled and scattered that it took a day or two to get them together. The loss of this battle was doubtless due to lack of concert of action, misconception of orders and refusal in some instances to obey them. What ought to have been the grand Confederate sequel to the Seven Days fights was a Federal victory, due to the consummate skill shown by McClellan in concentrating a last stand, upon an almost impregnable position.

A portion of Semmes' Brigade (5th and 10th Louisiana), who were to the left of the 15th Virginia Regiment, charged through the enemy's lines, and some of them were found dead fifteen or twenty yards within the Federal lines the next morning. The lines of the contending forces the next day could be traced and defined by the dead who fell on each side as they stood in battle array. Thus ended one of the fiercest battles of the war.

J. Staunton Moore, Company B, 15th Virginia Infantry.

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