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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Diary of Robert E. Park, Macon, Georgia, late Captain Twelfth Alabama regiment, Confederate States army. (search)
wo o'clock in the morning my corps took up the line of march, some said to assume its position on the right of the army, and others to the southside of the James; still others thought it was a grand flank movement, in which Grant was to be outgeneraled as McClellan was, and Lee, as usual, grandly triumphant. None of the numerous suppositions proved correct. Battle's Alabama brigade, under Colonel S. B. Pickens, of our regiment (the Twelfth Alabama), led the corps; and we passed through Mechanicsville, crossed the Chickahominy, and entered the Brook turnpike five miles from Richmond. Here we turned towards Louisa Courthouse. I marched about fifteen miles, when I got in an ambulance and rode the remainder of the day, a distance of about five miles. During the afternoon I suffered from a hot fever. We halted about twenty miles from Richmond and rested until next day. This was one of the very few sick days I have had in three years. * * * * June 15th Feeling a good deal better,
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Strength of General Lee's army in the Seven days battles around Richmond. (search)
er the Battle of Seven Pines, were ordered immediately to the front, and performed picket and out-post duty, with slight intermission, until the march towards Mechanicsville. Two of the regiments — the First and Third North Carolina--had been some time in service, but not in action. The Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth Georgia wereys, page 256: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 26th of June, by direction of Major-General Hill, I marched my brigade, 1,228 strong, into Mechanicsville. The other brigade commanders do not give their strength. Field's brigade was a small one, Gregg's not large, and Anderson's and Branch's were perhaps about own) is put for that in Ewell's entire division. Correcting this according to Ewell's statement on page 189, and then adding the loss in Ripley's brigade at Mechanicsville before Jackson got up, and we have the entire loss in the troops that were under his command as above stated.] In Magruder's command, McLaws gives his loss at
9th. On Thursday, June twenty-sixth, the powerful and thoroughly equipped army of the enemy were intrenched in the works, vast in extent and most formidable in character, within sight of our capital. To-day the remains of that confident and threatening host lie on the banks of the James River, thirty miles from Richmond, seeking to recover, under the protection of his gunboats, from the effects of disastrous defeats. The battle, beginning on the afternoon of June twenty-sixth, above Mechanicsville, continued until the night of July first, with only such intervals as were necessary to pursue and overtake the flying foe. His strong intrenchments and obstinate resistance were overcome, and our army swept resistlessly down the north side of the Chickahominy until it reached the rear of the enemy, and broke his communication with York River, capturing or causing the destruction of many valuable stores, and, by the decisive battle of Friday, forcing the enemy from his line of powerful f
stream at Bottom's Bridge. From Richmond there are five roads which cut the Chickahominy at right angles, in the following order, from west to east: the Brook (or Hanover Court-house) Turnpike; the Mechanicsville Turnpike, (the village of Mechanicsville being on the north side of the river, and the headquarters of Fitz-John Porter, commanding the Federal right wing;) the Nine Mile Road; York River Railroad; the Williamsburgh Road; the Charles City Road; and the Darbytown Road. From the curvwas not more than four miles from Richmond; that of their left about seven miles. McClellan did not attempt to push his left and centre across the Chickahominy until more than a week after the tents and flags of his right were seen around Mechanicsville; in fact, the weather was unsuitable, and the proposed line of formation was in an unhealthy swamp of woods and fields. The circumstances left McClellan no choice. Between Richmond and the Chickahominy there is an insensible fall of the lan
The person who saw Uncle Pompey, added Jenkins, was wounded, and sat behind a tree, but said, although his hurt was extremely painful, the eloquence, rage, and impetuosity of Pomp, as he loaded and fired rapidly, was so ludicrous, being an incoherent jumble of oaths, snatches of Scripture, and prayers, that the tears ran down his cheeks, and he burst out into a roar of laughter. Among the incidents of battle near Richmond, the following amusing scene is said to have occurred near the Mechanicsville road. The Eighth and Ninth Georgia were ordered out to repel the enemy, when, upon the men falling in, one of the Ninth stepped from the ranks and told the captain, he wasn't able to face the music. You are scared, said the captain; lay down your gun and accoutrements, and retire, sir. The chicken-hearted gentleman did so, when shortly afterwards there stepped forward a good-looking darkey, named Westley, well known in camp, who asked permission to put on the deserted accoutrements, a
ent of the week's campaign before Richmond battles of Mechanicsville, Beaver Dam Creek, and Ellison's Mills terrific battd his last orders were to move next day in the rear of Mechanicsville. Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions suddenly marWilliamsburgh road on Wednesday, and bivouacked on the Mechanicsville road, Huger and others being left to hold the right ag excitement of couriers round Porter's Headquarters at Mechanicsville, told how vigorously Branch was pushing forward our ceom the appearance of smoke rising closer and closer to Mechanicsville, it was evident that he was rapidly gaining ground, anhad re-formed his troops, and commenced an attack upon Mechanicsville itself, which brought on a terrific fight. This plasure by thousands. When Ambrose Hill had captured Mechanicsville, Branch's brigade arrived upon the scene, and disposites sent to the rear, and from Brook Church turnpike to Mechanicsville, a distance of several miles, lights were flitting in
me to Magruder's quarters at Garnett's Farm, seven miles from Richmond; but as my orders led me on the north bank to Mechanicsville, and thence to town, I had excellent opportunities for viewing the route taken by our army. The quarters of Genery shattered by shot and shell, and in many instances nothing remained but a solitary and shaky chimney of brickwork. Mechanicsville was converted into one vast hospital; many citizens, old and young, satisfied their curiosity by lounging about the bthe front of Mechanicsville Bridge, where Longstreet and D. H. Hill cross and join forces. Marching by three routes, Mechanicsville, Ellison's Mills, and Beaver Darn Creek successively fall, and the enemy is vigorously pushed to Gaines's Mills, wherrticipated in all the adventures of his dashing chief. His news interested me. As soon as Ambrose Hill had taken Mechanicsville, and Jackson's advance through the country had cut off the Federal communication with their depots on the Pamunkey an
sued, in which we vanquished them. Our cavalry rode over to secure the pieces, but were met by a strong force of infantry and obliged to return. Hearing the firing at Frazier's, the Federal commander retreated, after delaying Huger more than five hours, and joined forces with McCall against the heroic Hill. Had not Hill's division been made of steel, rather than flesh and blood, they could not have withstood the many hardships of these trying days, for after fighting desperately at Mechanicsville on Thursday, they marched to Gaines's Mills and fought five hours on Friday; rested part of Saturday; travelled a circuitous route and a terrible road of forty miles on Sunday and Monday, achieving another brilliant victory, unassisted, against great odds! Hill, however, is a general of genius, and had it not been for the scientific handling of his men, few would have slept uninjured on the torn and bloody field on Monday night. All were prostrated with fatigue, and lay on the ground wi
sh on to Richmond. These prisoners told a doleful tale of affairs since the fight opened at the Branch turnpike on Thursday afternoon. The rank and file knew nothing of Jackson's approach in the direction of Hanover Court-House; but the officers knew: and when asked what the immense destruction of stores meant along the line, they answered ambiguously, spoke of a probable change of base, clearing of the rear, and of a speedy march to Richmond. When Porter's right wing was driven out of Mechanicsville, Ellison's Mills, and Beaver Dam Creek, McClellan laughed, and said he was only drawing the rebels on to destruction at Gaines's Mills; and when the whole of the right and part of the centre were driven thence, he said that now the rebels were fairly caught in his toils, he had gotten us all on the north bank, and was going to hurl his strength at our right, feeble as it was, and capture Richmond in one day, before we had time to re-cross and oppose him. This was all believed by the
ependence stamps him as a young man of real genius. He greatly distinguished himself at Manassas, twenty-first July, Mechanicsville, Gaines's Mills, etc. He is now a Major-General. Jackson was hovering in their rear, Jackson did it.-It is very e Branch fighting his way in our centre, so that before such a force they were obliged to fall back. Their defence of Mechanicsville, Ellison's Mills, and Beaver Dam Creek deserves credit, for had our men been less impetuous, we should have found evee said of dozens of those who, without talent, have risen through social or political influence. Ambrose Hill, at Mechanicsville, was ever in the front, regardless of danger, and, although, his coat was torn in several places, miraculously escapeed to on that point. From the Brooke Turnpike to Meadow Bridge I saw one; from the last-named place to and including Mechanicsville, I counted six--not reckoning siege-pieces taken in reverse; at Ellison's Mills, Beaver Dam Creek, and Gaines's Mills
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