The Lines, & C.
It was generally expected that a fierce and general engagement would have taken place at our Lines yesterday, and from every indication and preparation the surmise seemed to be well- founded; but, although all were on the tip-toe of expectation, yesterday passed like many others without the realization of the much-looked for and desired event.
Early in the day, cannonading both from our and the enemy's positions took place from the right, left and centre, but on the two latter points operations were nothing more than a fierce and artistic artillery duello, in which the enemy were decidedly worsted.
Their artillery bearing upon Garnett
's and Christian
's farms were particularly active, and seemed anxious for a response.--This was not long in forthcoming, and they were accordingly shelled from their several positions with much case, and with evident loss.
They repeatedly returned to the charge, however, yet our artillery received them with such accuracy as to drive them pell-mell into the woods, and the abandonment of camps to the right of the Mechanicsville Bridge
An artillery duel also took place upon the York River Railroad, between six and seven miles from the city, at which place also the enemy were endeavoring to erect breastworks in the woods.
Being informed of this, some pieces of the First Virginia artillery proceeded within shelling distance and by superior execution silenced the enemy's guns, and stopped their excavations, But the most serious and important transaction at our lines yesterday, took place on the Williamsburg
The enemy advancing their lines, suddenly, fell upon our pickets, and owing to superior numbers drove them in upon our supports.
The advance of the enemy was composed of Sickles
's and another brigade.
Informed of the state of things the 1st Louisiana was sent forward to reconnoitre and find the enemy's force, position and intentions — but to do this their journey lay across a large open field, and while advancing the cowardly enemy screened his forces in the thicket, and having caught the gallant 1st Louisiana in ambuscade delivered a murderous fire, which struck, down dozens of the Valliant fellows.
But not dismayed at this reception and their heavy loss, the brave men instantly dressed their line, dashed at Sickles
's hirelings with the bayonet, and routed them.
Still opposed to numbers greater than their own, the 1st Louisiana was quickly supported we are informed, by the 3d, 4th and 22d Georgia regiments, of Wright
's brigade, who held a large force of the foe at bay for two hours, before our forces were got into position, and appalled the enemy by their formidable front.
Except in the 1st Louisiana, we hear of few casualties, and this arose from the fact that they were the victims of a trap laid by the Yankees
and were too heroic to fall when discovering it. Col Shivers
, Maj. Nellegan
, and many men, were wounded--Lieut. Gilmore
and some others being killed.
This loss arose purely from an esprit du corps,
which prompted them to remain and stand fast, though opposed by vastly superior numbers.
It is said, however, that when the Louisianians closed their broken ranks, and charged upon the enemy's masses, that it was so terrible that they gave way in disorder.
This conduct is perhaps akin to that which extracted the expression of Gen. Gosquet
when witnessing the in silent and famous cavalry charge of the English
Light Brigade at Balaklava
viz: ‘"This is magnificent, but it is not war."’ The conduct of the Louisianians and Georgians is highly spoken of --nothing can detract from their superior qualities as soldiers and patriots, but an excess of bravery characterizes their movements.
The loss of the Louisianians is reported at 14 officers and 200 men killed and wounded, but this we believe is much of an exaggeration.
Subsequent to this brilliant but unfortunate transaction, an artillery force was moved to the front, and a fierce fight ensued, completely silencing the Yankee
batteries in the woods, which had advanced to occupy the disputed ground.
's buttery we are informed, was conspicuous in the affairs of the day at the right, and retired from the fray with much honor and little loss.
The best evidence of their success is in the fact that the enemy retired and did not reply.
Our pickets were particularly successful yesterday in capturing intruders upon our Lines, and effected important seizures.
Among others, we may mention the arrival in our midst of two women, who were discovered endeavoring to penetrate our Lines, evidently for no praiseworthy intention.--These women are of low caste, and would pass very well in time of peace for mother and daughter; but as if proves, they are perfect strangers to each other, as to relationship but are evidently leagued together in some clandestine enterprise, and neither can give any satisfactory account of their avocations or residence.
Their mysterious appearance at our out posts yesterday was more than sufficient to war rent arrest, and their answers give good evidence of treasonable intention.
It is generally expected that operations of great moment will take place to-day, but whether the severe skirmishes of yesterday will culminate in a general action, is a point impossible to determine; but should this be the case, we are fully sure that all our preparations will result in brilliant victory, despite the traps, ambuscades, and etty cunning of the enemy evinced on many occasions as on yesterday.
As General McClellan
may claim the severe skirmish of yesterday as another ‘"Federal victory,"’ we will simply say that the brave 1st Louisianians were opposed to not less than seven Yankee regiments as the following prisoners captured by them testify: for in addition to the seizure of Captain James McKernan
, of the 7th New Jersey, there are also the following visitors to Libby
's warehouse: 1 Sergeant
, 2 Corporals
, 2 Musicians, 6 privates — in all, 12 prisoners, part of Sickles
's Excelsior brigade, 7th N. J., 19th Mass., 2d N. Y., and 5th N. J. taken at the old battle ground of the ‘"Seven Pines
. "’ Three were wounded.