The great battle.
Since the issue of our paper yesterday no information has reached us of the transactions of our own and the enemy's forces calculated to discourage the hope that the grand army of McClellan is completely discomfited.
The determined stands made by the Federal forces on Monday and Tuesday were only the last desperate struggles against ignominious capture or utter annihilation.
Their condition is one of desperation, and it is but natural that they should struggle with energy to avert the fate that awaits them.
Terrible fights of Monday and Tuesday.
heroism of our troops — their Spirits Buoyant.
Critical situation of the Yankee forces.
&c., &c., &c.,
Monday Afternoons fight.We have already laid before our readers such accounts of the desperate and determined fight of Monday evening as we were enabled to gather from the most authentic sources. An active participant in that memorable engagement has furnished a detailed account of the part borne by the division of Gen. A. P. Hill in this struggle. This division went into the fight about half past 5 o'clock P. M., and was actively engaged from that time until its close, after 9 o'clock at night. The 40th Virginia Regiment, Fields' Brigade, Col. Brockenbrough commanding, was deployed as skirmishers, three hundred yards to the right, separating them from the balance of the brigade, which was ordered forward. The regiment was then withdrawn as skirmishers, and placed in the rear of the division, which was advancing rapidly to the field in regular line of battle. After advancing in this order for some distance, they were thrown out upon the left, through a heavy tract of woods — emerging from which they encountered a strong force of the enemy, who threw themselves upon the ground and awaited the approach of the regiment. When within one hundred and fifty yards of this body, which we learn, was partly composed of the 57th N. Y. regiment, a most murderous and destructive fire was opened upon them and it is believed that not loss than seventy-five of our men fell from the first volley. This, as might have been expected, produced some confusion in the regiment, and they fell back to the woods, hotly pursued by the exultant foe. Many of the regiment, it is believed, were captured in this woods, as at roll-call next morning but fifty were present to respond to their names out of 450 that went into the fight. On a hill, obliquely to the right of Gen. Hill's advance, was posted a battery of some twelve pieces, which had been twice captured during the afternoon by our forces under Gen. Longstreet, but recaptured by the enemy. This battery, the brigade of Gen. Fields--reduced in numbers and worn out with fatigue from their participation in every general engagement since Thursday--was ordered to charge. With spirit and alacrity they responded to the order, and with close rank and steady step they moved forward to its execution. In their approach to the battery, they fired three or four rounds, and then engaged the enemy with the bayonet. Here the struggle was bloody and determined, but after a most obstinate resistance, the enemy was driven from his pieces, and pressed back some two hundred yards in a hand-to-hand engagement. This charge was made by three regiments — the 47th, 53d and 60th Virginia. The other brigades of the division coming up to the support of Fields, finding the enemy routed, commenced cheering vociferously. The Federal General, McCall, hearing this cheering, and mistaking the source from whence it came, rode up and said, ‘"Hurrah, boys; I am glad you have held the battery. Hold on for a short time and reinforcements will be up to sustain you!"’ He was accompanied by Major Biddle, his Adjutant-General, Major Williams, another aid, and two couriers. Suspecting that he had, perhaps, made a mistake, he asked what regiment it was that held the battery. An officer present replied, the 47th Virginia. On obtaining this information, Majors Williams and Biddle and the two couriers wheeled about and endeavored to effect their escape. They were fired upon, and Major Biddle shot through the head and killed instantly. The others, so far as is known, escaped without injury. Gen. McCallbeing in advance of his party, was brought to a stand by a private in the 47th regiment, who drew his gun upon him and demanded his surrender. His sword was received by Major Mayo. The General was particularly solicitous that no indignity should be offered him, when he was emphatically assured by Major Mayo that he had not fallen into the hands of a soldiery unacquainted with the usages of civilized warfare. Under an escort, McCall was then sent to Gen. Hill. About 9 o'clock the brigade of Gen. Anderson was advanced to the front and drawn up in line of battle. Several volleys were fired into the woods where the enemy had taken shelter, which had the effect to disperse them, and the fight closed for the evening. During the engagement Gen. Anderson was knocked from his horse by the fragment of a shell striking him on the side of the head. He was missed after the fight was ended, and it was feared that he had been captured; but on Tuesday morning he came in tolerably well, but considerably bruised about the head.
Tuesday's operations.During the forenoon of Tuesday there was no regular engagement, but much desultory firing along the whole extent of the retreating and advancing lines. In the afternoon, about 2½ o'clock, a brisk fight was commenced on the right of the left wing of our army, Jackson's corps, then situated convenient to Dr. Poindexter's farm, on the Williamsburg road, and directly opposite Turkey Island creek. The character of the country here is slightly undulating, the intervening ground between the belligerent parties consisting of open, cultivated fields, whilst the extremes are dense woods of heavy timber and thick undergrowth. From the situation occupied by our troops, the enemy was discovered in large force deploying their troops, and placing their artillery in position. Bodies of skirmishers were thrown out from our column with a view to test the disposition of the enemy. This required but a short time to accomplishes as a brisk fire was soon opened upon them. Our artillery then opened fire upon the batteries of the enemy which had the effect to produce another ‘"artillery duel,"’ lasting for one hour and a half, both parties serving their pieces with decided skill and alacrity. Heavy bodies of infantry were advanced to the support of our artillery, and a general fight ensued, which resulted in the repulse and temporary withdrawal of the enemy; but, ultimately rallying and bringing to their aid a battery on their-right, they opened a fierce oblique fire on the left flank of our forces then in action. This fire, which was excessively severe, was continued without intermission, and responded to with spirit by our own artillery until 6 o'clock P. M. An intermission of some half hour then occurred, during which time, according to the representation of prisoners subsequently captured, the enemy at this point were heavily reinforced, when the fight was again renewed, our centre and right of line becoming engaged. For three successive hours there was kept up one unbroken roar of artillery and musketry, which, for fierce intensity, exceeded anything that has occurred in the whole series of bloody battles around Richmond. The very earth trembled beneath the deafening and incessant peals. Notwithstanding the fatigue and well night exhausted condition of our men, from their almost superhuman labors of the previous six days, they entered this fight with an ardor and readiness, plainly indicating their unchangeable determination to conquer of die. About 9½ or 10 o'clock, our artillery ceased firing, having effectually silenced the batteries of the enemy. This, however, it is due to say, was the only perceptible advantage gained by this wing of the army in the afternoon's operations. The loss sustained by both contending parties was heavy. Now many on either side it is impossible to state, or even give an approximate estimate. Whilst these operations were going on the left wing of our army, a scarcely less severe fight was progressing on the right, where the division of Gen. Huger was engaged. The brigades of Mahone and Armistead had been exerting themselves against a largely overwhelming force of the enemy, but being compelled to fall back in order to rest their men. Gen. Ranson's brigade was ordered forward. It consisted of five regiments, viz: 24th, Col. Clark; 25th, Col. Kutledge, 26th, Col. Vance; 35th, Col. Ransom, and 49th, Col. Ramseur, all North Carolina troops. They were ordered to charge two heavy batteries, that were supported by not less than five Federal brigades, and all the while they were marching up to make the charge were under three fires. They did not falter, however, but went forward into the very teeth of the enemy without so much as the slightest indication of hesitation. It was, beyond question, one of the hardest fights, and one of the most desperate charges, that has been made during the whole war. This one brigade engaged the main body of the enemy's army at this point, and when compelled to withdraw did so in the most perfect order, and with the most undaunted spirit. Gen. Ranson fearlessly and intrepidly led his brigade on horseback, and was during the whole continuance of the fight, exposed to the leaden hall of the enemy. Col. M. W. Ranson, of the 35th regiment, was wounded in the early part of the fight by a Minnie ball in the arm, but remained at the head of his regiment, rallying and cheering his men, till struck by a piece of shell in the side and prostrated. Lieut. Col. Pettway then took command of the regiment, but was almost immediately killed. Colonel Ramseur, of the 49th, was wounded, and the casualties are very large throughout the entire brigade. We held our ground, and Gen. Ranson and his men slept upon the field they had formerly occupied, and but for the pelting rain would have renewed the fight yesterday morning. There were, doubtless, other divisions and brigades engaged at different points along the line, who acquitted themselves with the same heroic and determined courage as that of the gallant Ranson; but being unapprised of their particular participation in this grand struggle for the defence of liberty, we are not prepared to notice them specially.
Yesterday's operations.Notwithstanding the heavy rains of yesterday, the two armies were not inactive, though we have no report of any severe fighting. The latest accounts we have inform us that the enemy, finding some difficulty in getting off the bulk of their forces by the way of Turkey Island, had moved to their left, in the direction of Deep Bottom, where there are good landings and deep water. But their retreat was cut off by our troops occupying the New Market road, while they were also being attacked along the lines of the Long Bridge and the Quaker roads. These three roads form a triangle of about one and a half or two miles area of low and heavily timbered land, with thick undergrowth and which, in wet weather, is almost impassable. If this information is correct — and we cannot doubt it — the total surrender must be only a question of time; and, in the absence of supplies, can not be postponed more than one or two days.
Federal Barbarity.On Monday last, in the fight near Willis's Church, Winfield Byrd, of the 11th Alabama regiment, was taken prisoner by the Yankees uninjured. After his capture two Yankee officers assaulted him with their swords--one of them piercing him through the side, the other striking at his head. The blow was warded off by Byrd with his hand, and while his head was protected the blow was received on the arm and hand, inflicting a painful wound. The Yankees were subsequently driven back and Byrd recaptured. He is now at a house near the church. --Woodward, of the same regiment, was wounded, and is at the same place.
Yankee Captives.There are over 4,000 Yankees registered at the different places appointed for their reception in this city. Yesterday nearly three hundred were sent in, including J. F. Guy, 2d Lieutenant, 7th Pennsylvania; R. Sherman, Sergeant Major, 42d Pennsylvania and F. W. Usher, 2d Lieutenant company F. 34th New York. As soon as some place can be fitted up for the accommodation of the many wounded left on our hands by the commander of the Yankee forces, they will be brought into the city and properly cared for. There are already several hundred of the enemy's wounded here.
Casualties.We learn that Major Baldwin, lately in charge of the Ordnance Department in this city, received a severe wound in the engagement of Tuesday evening. He entered active service in the field only a few days ago, and at the time he was shot was acting Colonel of an Alabama regiment. He is now with his friends in this city. Colonel Thomas P. August, of the 15th Virginia, regiment, was wounded in the leg and brought in yesterday morning. We are gratified to hear that his injuries are not considered dangerous. Major John Stewart Walker, formerly Captain of the Virginia Life Guard, was killed on Tuesday. --He was a brave and gallant officer, and one of our best and most influential citizens. Ellis Munford, son of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, also fell mortally wounded in the same bloody engagement, R. T. Daniel, Jr., was wounded. Captain Charles Bruce, of Halifax, and Captain Harrison, of the Charles City Troop, were numbered among the gallant dead of Tuesday's battle. Captain Charles Pickett, A. A. General in Gen. Pickett's brigade, had his leg badly fractured in Sunday's fight, but it is believed that amputation will not be necessary. Captain P. is a resident of Richmond.
View of the situation from the South side of the river — reinforcements.The Petersburg Express of yesterday has the following intelligence, which is of much interest: We have reliable information that a portion of McClellan's army sought safety in flight as far back as Monday afternoon. This we knew Monday night, and so stated yesterday, but further confirmation of this retreat is furnished in the following communication which Col. Pannill, the Provost Marshal of this city, has kindly furnished us:
To Col. Wm. Pannill, Provost Marshal: