The great battle.
We continue in our issue of this morning such matters as we have been enabled to collate, connected with the brilliant exploit of the Confederate army around Richmond.
History has no record of such a succession of triumphs as has been vouchsafed to the arms of the South in these desperate and deadly encounters.
Throughout all time they must stand without parallel in the manuals of warfare, and will give to the Southern character a position for cool intrepidity, daring valor, and persistent endurance, that would have been creditable to the Roman Legion or the Old Otfard of Napoleon.
For six days have they wrested with the storm of battle with the most unflinching fortitude, and in every contest have wrenched from the hands of the unwilling Northmen the meed of victory.
a Nother severe fight on Monday.
the enemy again routed!
the gallant Major Wheat.
&c., &c., &c.
Monday's operations.On Monday, about 10 o'clock A. M., there was an artillery dual between Mott's celebrated Federal battery and the batteries attached to Gen. D. H. Hill's division. Both occupied commanding positions on opposite sides of a creek. In the course of on opposite sides of a creek. In the course of an hour the enemy were repulsed, leaving three of their fine guns on the field. Skirmishers were then advanced beyond the creek. The cavalry followed, and on reaching the other side went forward in advance and took position on the hill on which Mott's battery had been stationed. Discovering the enemy in force to their right, and batteries being placed in position behind some houses, the cavalry fell back across the stream. After a short time the Yankee batteries opened again from the same position, our batteries replying, and the fight continued till night. At dark, a fatigue party was detailed to repair the bridge, the enemy continuing to throw canister and shell across the bridge till after midnight, preventing the fatigue party from accomplishing anything. About 2 o'clock, A. M. the enemy retired, having succeeded in carrying off two of the pieces of Mott's battery which had been previously captured by our troops, but which had not been removed, from the fact that there was no bridge, and the infantry could not be carried over. One fine Parrott gun fell into our hands, and a number of horsed and mules, some with artillery harness on. The houses behind which the Federal imperious had been placed were found, upon examination, to less perforated with our shot, evidently shown, that the enemy had lost heavily at their batteries. In the morning the bridge was speedily repaired, and the forces of Hill and Jackson were again in pursuit of the foe. The result of the first dash was a prize of 200 prisoners. This does not include either the sick or wounded in the hospital which here fell into our possession. It was thought that by the energy of Jackson and Hill, acting in unity with Longstreet and Magruder, at least the whole rear guard of the ‘"grand army"’ would be captured by nightfall of yesterday. On Monday afternoon a severe fight came off near the intersection of the Darbytown and Charles City roads. About four o'clock, the division of Gen. Longstreet came up with the enemy at that point who were in strong force and position, and a battle, farce and desperate, ensued. The enemy are represented to have resisted the valorous onsets of our troops with more desperate determination and greater bravery than in any other of the series of engagements which have occurred since the opening of the grand ball on Thursday. Their pieces were admirably served, and during the whole engagement while insisted from 4 o'clock until 9, they struggled with the energy of desperation. So fierce was the fire of their artillery and small arms, that three successive attempts were made by our forces before the enemy were finally dislodged from their position. Around their pieces a severe hand-to-hand fight occurred, and they were only driven back at the point of the bayonet by the resistless charges of our Southern soldiery. Our artillery ammunition having been exhausted immediately after their entrenchments were carried, prevented the rout from being a complete one. Our troops, fatigued and worn down by hard marching and heavy fighting, remained during the night in the captured entrenchments, from whence they renewed the pursuit of the retreating foe at day dawn, yesterday morning. The losses on both sides in this battle were very heavy. An eye-witness informs us that the field was literally strewn with the dead and wounded of the contending parties. Hard as was the struggle, and heavy as our loss unquestionably was, the victory rested with our troops, and adds another to the series of brilliant successes that have crowned the Confederate arms around Richmond. The numbers killed and wounded in this fight are variously estimated — some estimates placing our Josses high as 1,500, and the loss of the enemy at from 5,000 to 7,000. These figures seem almost incredible, but that the loss is very great, as we have already stated, cannot be denied.
Yesterday's operations.The fighting was renewed again in the early part of the day yesterday, and continued almost without intermission until late in the evening. Up to 2 o'clock P. M., our forces had pressed the enemy back a distance of over five miles, and were pouring into their rear guard a most fatal and destructive fire.--Their ranks were being terribly thinned, but still they maintained their organization, and were covering the retreat of their Grand Army with commendable zeal. Such seems to be the discipline or desperation of their forces that it is scarcely possible to effect a complete rout. Whatever may have been the conclusions arrived at on account of their successive defeats for the first two or three days of this long and bloody conflict, they are certainly now contesting the ground with an earnestness that betokens either thorough discipline or utter desperation. But their prestige is gone, and though many of their numbers may succeed in making their escape, the whole North must feel and acknowledge the mortification of a crushing and overwhelming defeat. It was impossible for us to learn the entire results of yesterday's operations. We can only assure our readers that they are not less successful than have been the previous efforts of our brave troops and that night closed with the Union forces still retreating, and our own steadily and surely ‘"pressing them to the wall."’ The supposition still is that they are endeavoring to force their way to James river, and that their only hope is that transports will be in readiness to receive at least a portion of their army. Taking this view of the case, thousands of them are likely to leave their bones to bleach on the bill sides and low lands of Virginia. Large numbers will doubtless find their way to Richmond, to be fed and fattened at the expense of the Government whose subjugation they have sought to accomplish. One hundred and fifty Yankee prisoners, mostly Pennsylvanians, of Franklin's division, which brings up the rear of the Federal forces, were captured yesterday morning a little after sunrise, and brought to this city under charge of Captain William F. Plane, of the 6th Georgia regiment. Among the prisoners are several officers. A dispatch fell into the hands of General Hill, from Gen. Kearney, which seems to have been addressed to Gen. Franklin, requesting him to send two brigades instantly to his relief, to assist in repelling Magruder. Franklin's position had been on the stream, immediately opposite Gen. Hill, and the courier coming forward with the dispatch, and seeing the same guns in position, rode down the hill and was captured by a private in the 12th Alabama regiment. His horse is now sodden by Capt. Plane, who had previously less his own. We learn that so far from being broken down or depressed is spirits by the terrible hardships of the last few days our troops are in better spirits and more eager for the fray than ever. At 11 o'clock last night we received from the battle field the following additional particulars of the operations yesterday and day before.
Fight at Frazer's farm.Our forces having pursued the enemy during Sunday and part of Monday, came up with the main body at Frazer's farm, about fifteen miles from the city. Generals Longstreet and A. P. Hill were advancing to the right, and Gen. Huger by our left, when about three o'clock on Monday our scouts announced that the foe were in strong force in camp, and all things prepared to receive us. Pushing forward on the Darbytown (Charles City) road to the right, it seemed to be evidently a part of the plan that Huger's advance on the left should be made simultaneously. About 3 P. M. Longstreet advanced upon the enemy and drove in their dense body of skirmishers, supported as they were by a large force of artillery. Huger did not arrive in time, for it was reported be had been engaged with the enemy, and consequently delayed. Our attack on the right proved eminently successful, and after much hard fighting our troops found themselves in the enemy's camp, facing the whole division of Sumner's Hooker, and Kearney, supported to the right and left of the road by not less than thirty pieces of artillery. Fronting and in the midst of the camp, also, artillery was stationed, and maintained a very heavy fire upon our advance, but when our infantry had ensconced themselves in the edge of the timber to the left of the enemy, their fire was so destructive that the Federal immediately began to fall back. Our artillery and particularly the Maryland company, worked their pieces so fast and accurately, that every horse of the foe was slaughtered and their artillery stationary.--When the infantry and artillery simultaneously advanced upon the enemy's massacre carnage proved frightful the Federal rushing from the field into the woods in the greatest confusion. Their Generals did everything possible to retrieve their losses, but the men could not be prevailed upon to stand; hence, in the wildest manner, they threw away arms and accoutrements, abandoning to our hands not less than seventeen fine field pieces, hundreds of small arms and stores. It is reported that during the fight Gen. Hocker was killed on the field, Gen. Kearney wounded, and Gen. Sumner taken prisoner. Their whole loss is estimated at 5,000, killed, wounded, and prisoners. Our casualties are not yet known, but it is asserted by competent authority that it will not amount to more than one-tenth that of the enemy. From all accounts, we are compelled to say that both infantry and artillery behaved as they always do — magnificently; the Federal artillery being assailed by our men with such fury that they were unable to endure the fire. Those brigades of Longstreet's division (Wilcox's, Pryor's and Featherstone's, &c.,) maintained their reputation, and added to the laurels won on many fields, of glory.--Among the brigades which were present or participated in the fight, we may mention Pender's, Archer's, Fields, and Branch's. Of Gen. Huger's engagement in the morning, and which delayed his junction with Longstreet, we have not as yet a certained anything definite. Tuesday Afternoon.--There has been a terrific fight progressing since morn, about one and a half miles from Frazer's house. The enemy are making a determined stand here — being supported by numerous batteries, posted in very strong positions, and of formidable character. Our men are succeeding inch by inch in driving the enemy from all ports. This is the hardest engagement that has yet occurred, and must have great results. The loss on both sides must prove fearful. Longstreet Hill, McLaws, Magruder, and others, are holly engaged, and it is expected that by 8 P. M. the enemy will have been entirely routed. The greatest enthusiasm prevails, and shells are flying in all directions over the country for miles.
Pickett's Brigade.This gallant brigade was engaged again on Monday evening, as we learn from a member of the 18th, Colonel Withers's regiment. It behaved with more than its usual gallantry. We have not been able to understand the exact number of wounded and killed in either the 8th, 18th, 19th, or 28th regiments composing it; but our informant, who is a member of the 18th, represents it as necessarily very large. Among the wounded is Adjutant McCulloch of the 18th, who has distinguished himself without being injured on the fields of Manassas, Williamsburg, the 1st of June, on Friday last, and seemed to bear a charmed life. He fell wounded most painfully in the arm. So cut up is this regiment by the four battles in which it has been engaged that it is now commanded by Captain Holland, of the Danville Blues, the second ranking captain in the regiment.
Col. Withers, received so severe a wound that amputation of his leg was made above the knee. He is now at the American Hotel, and bears his sufferings with the courage of a soldier and the submissive fortitude of a Christian who feels that he had discharged his duty.
Death of a gallant officer.Among the many gallant soldiers whose spirits winged their flights upward in the fierce contest which ensued between the patriot and the abolition forces on Monday evening on the Charles City road, the memory of none will be cherished wish more fond regret by those who knew him while living than that of Joseph V. Scott, Lieutenant Colonel of the 3d Regiment Virginia Infantry, who was struck by a shell and instantly killed on that memorable occasion, while gallantly leading his men in a charge on a battery of the enemy. Col Scott was for many years Captain of the Petersburg Grays, but at the opening of the war was made a Major in the State service, subsequently being promoted to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the 3d Virginia Regiment, Pryor's Brigade. He acted with conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Williamsburg. In social life he was genial, high toned and generous; as a soldier, brave even to indifference toward danger, and was the idol of his men.--His memory will long be cherished by those who knew him, and they were many. Peace to the ashes of the gallant dead.
battle of Manassas, he, with a soldier's eye, saw the imperative necessity of checking the advancing foe until the Confederates had formed a line of battle in his rear. For an hour did his gallant little command resist the enemy's thousands, as regiment after regiment was brought forward to annihilate it. Major Wheat, calling loudly for supports, fell desperately wounded, and his diminished band fell back, leaving the disputed ground covered with the enemy's dead. This conduct elicited from Gen. Beauregard, in his official dispatch, this sentence: that ‘"it was a proud boast to being to that hand who fought the first hour at the battle of Manassas."’ For his distinguished gallantry, he was promised the La Zouave Battalion, then stationed on the Peninsula. This promise had not been carried out, and the gallant Wheat died as he lived, a ‘"Major."’ Although shot through the lungs, the period of two short months saw him at the head of his men on the tented field. The hardships of the bivouac, the rains and snows of a dreary winter, did not cast a damper on his buoyant spirits. Officers and men emulated the example of the chief they loved so well.--At length war's clarion again burst forth on the car and, responding to the call, Wheat's sabre flashed in the Valley by the side of the heroic Jackson, and in eight engagements the fame of ‘"Wheat's Battalion"’ was the themes of every tongue. At the final struggle of Port Republic, when ‘"Ringold's celebrated battery"’ was captured by the ‘"Louisiana Brigade,"’ Wheat's sonorous voice was heard rising high above the crash of the conflict, his form seemed to dilate, and his eye to flash fire as the earth rang with the ‘"earthquake shout of victory."’ With eighty-five men (the relies of his once proud corps) he again rushed on danger and doom on Friday evening last in front of our Capital. Struck by a rifle bullet in the head, as he rolled from his horse he called out to his men, with unusual emphasis, ‘"Bury me on the field of battle, my boys,"’ and the next moment lay on the bloody field a mangled corpse. "Ah, well may a chill, like the darkness of death, Now oppress your light hearts, who had trod in his steps; For soon that their bulwark of strength was laid low. You might mark the sad blight on each fierce spirit glow." Thus fell the brave, the beloved, and the noble Major C. R. Wheat. "On plant o'er that sleeper the laurel of fame; In the action's old archives enroll his proud name; And while memory loves on those chieftains to dwell, In that era of warfare who fought and who fell, Be his over breathed when you speak of the slain, For no braver heart sleeps neath the battle's red ‘"places."’