Pictures and Illustrations.
Positions and Movements, June 25 to July 1.
The Seven Days' Battles on the Peninsula.
[This paper, with considerable curtailments of detail, forms Chapter XIX. of "HARPER'S PICTORIAL, HISTORY OF THE GREAT REBELLION." The title the "Seven Days' Battles" has been adopted, although the series of actions was wholly comprised within six days, beginning with the battle of Mechanicsville, June 26, and ending with that of Malvern Hill, July 1. This account is based almost exclusively upon official documents, and it has been thought proper to give, either by full citation or by reference, the authority for every important statement. — The first volume of the "Reports of the Operations of the Army of Northern Virginia," is mainly devoted to this period. Besides the Report of General R. E. Lee, it contains the Reports of each commander of a Confederate division, those of nearly every officer commanding a brigade, with many regimental and even company Reports: in all more than 150. These, taken together, give a perfect representation of the operations on the Confederate side. These are cited as "Lee's Rep.," with special note of the separate Reports when necessary. The Reports on the Union side are far less full. General McClellan's Report (cited as "McC. Rep.") is vague and indeterminate as to actual operations; and few of the Reports of his subordinate commanders have as yet been made accessible. But this deficiency is measurably supplied by their Testimony embodied in the Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War (cited as "Com. Rep."). — The foregoing are the authorities constantly cited. Others are named when adduced. The newspaper accounts of the time, with hardly an exception, abound in errors to such an extent as to render them of little historical value.]
THURSDAY, June 26, had been fixed upon by both McClellan and Lee as the day when each was to commence an offensive movement. Neither was aware of the intention, and each was deceived as to the object and position, of the other. Lee presumed that McCellan intended to lay siege to Richmond by regular approaches. The city was in no condition to sustain a prolonged and close investment. It was not provisioned for a fortnight in advance, and its line of supply was liable to be interrupted at any moment. His object was simply to raise the siege. This he proposed to do by assailing McClellan at the point where he himself was most vulnerable: by threatening his line of communications with the York Elver, whence, as Stuart's raid had shown, his supplies were wholly drawn. MeClcllan's purpose was to attack Richmond by direct assault.
The armies by which these two plans were to be carried out were almost equal in number, character of troops, and equipment. Each consisted of a little more than 100,000 effective men, present for duty. Making every allowance for defective reports on either side, the difference could not have been more than 5000. In a contest between forces so nearly balanced the victory would rest with that which was most ably commanded. The general who made the fewest errors would win.
Lee's plan of operations was carefully elaborated by himself and Jefferson Davis, and carried into execution under the eye, and by the direction of both, who were on the field, and under fire at the most decisive points. A chance shot might at any moment, by killing either, have changed the whole course of the war.
The whole scheme of operations was set forth on the 24th, in an elaborate General Order from Lee, in which the movements of each division were carefully prescribed. A. P. Hill, Long-street, and D. H. Hill, with 34,000 men, were to march from before Richmond, cross the Chickahominy above the extreme right of the Union lines, and join Jackson, who, with 30,000; was coming down from the north. Half of the cavalry were also to cross the Chickahominy. On the south side of the river were left only Huger's and Magruder's divisions, numbering 24,000, and the reserve artillery and the remaining cavalry, about 3000 in all: making less than 30,000 men of all arms on that side.
477that the bulk of the Union army was still on the north side of the Chickahominy, whereas, of the 100,000 men of which it was composed, only 30,000 were on that side; the remaining 70,000 had already crossed, and were strongly posted on the south side.
This was held by two divisions of McCall's Pennsylvania Reserves, who had joined McClellan a fortnight before. The position was a strong one — the creek curving around Mechanicsville for a mile; the water, waist-deep, was five or six yards wide, with steep banks. It was impassable for artillery except by bridges on two reads, one crossing at Ellison's Mill, near its mouth, the other a mile above. These roads and the open fields between them were commanded by artillery, and the whole line on the north bank was defended by rifle-pits and felled trees. The position could be carried in front only by a superior force, and with heavy loss. But it could be turned on the right; and A. P. Hill supposed that this had been already done by Jackson, who would then have interposed his force between McCall and Porter, cutting off both retreat and reinforcements. Without waiting to ascertain whether this had been accomplished, Hill marched his whole division across the open fields, swept by the Union batteries. The main stress of his attack was at first directed upon the Union right at the upper road, which was held by Reynolds. The Confederates advanced gallantly under a murderous fire, and reached the edge of the creek. A few even succeeded in crossing above Reynolds's position, and gained a lodgment on the
478opposite side; but they effected nothing. Elsewhere the assault was repulsed, the assailants suffering fearfully.
Davis and Lee, who were watching the fight from different positions on the other side of the Chickahominy, ordered D. H. Hill to send forward a brigade to the support of the division which had been roughly handled. Ripley's was dispatched, and a little before dark aided A. P. Hill in a furious assault upon the Union left at Ellison's Mill, which was held by Seymour. The attack failed, even more disastrously than that upon the right. At 9 o'clock, the Confederates, repulsed at all points, fell back beyond artillery range, and the firing gradually ceased.
This action was fought on the Union side wholly by Reynolds's and Seymour's divisions, numbering 6000, and five brigades of the Confederates, numbering about 12,000. The Confederate loss in killed and wounded was about 1500, of which two-fifths fell upon Ripley's single division. The Union troops had every advantage in position, and their loss was not more than 300.
From the moment when McClellan learned of the approach of the enemy on his right he wisely gave up all idea of maintaining his position on the north bank of the Chickahominy. At noon of the 26th he telegraphed to the Secretary of War that his pickets were being driven in, he supposed by Jackson's advance-guard; that his communications would probably be cut off, and even Yorktown might be recaptured; the case was a desperate one, but he would do his best to outmanoeuvre, outwit, and outfight the enemy.
479Porter, and McClellan wished to give him all the reinforcements which could be spared from the other side of the river. He asked each commander of a corps on the south side how many men he could spare to reinforce Porter, after retaining sufficient to hold his own position for twenty-four hours. The answers showed that not one of them imagined that the greater part of the force of the enemy which had confronted them had been withdrawn and was now on the other side. Keyes wanted to keep all the men he had, "if the enemy is as strong as ever in front; "Heintzelman would undertake to hold his intrenchments with four brigades, which would leave two disposable for service on the other side of the river. The afternoon of the next day, when the battle of Cold Harbor hung in even scale, Franklin, half of whose corps had already been sent over, did not think it prudent to take any more troops from him; and Sumner ventured only to say that he could send two of his eight brigades; and even that would be hazardous.
The position was a strong one. A small unnamed stream, curving sickle-wise, empties into the Chickahominy. The banks are in most places fringed with a belt of swamp, but in places they rise steeply, and the bed of the stream forms a ravine. On the eastern side the land rises in a gradual slope crossed by gullies, about fifty feet above the swamp, and spreads into a flat table-land, with here and there a gentle swell. Patches of woodland dot the plain, which is mostly cleared and cultivated, the farm-houses standing alone each in the midst of its own fields. Two places find names on the map: New Cold Harbor, nearest the Chickahominy, and Cold Harbor a mile northward. Each consists of two or three dilapidated houses, a rifle-shot apart. Cold Harbor was the centre of Porter's line, which thence turned sharply eastward for a mile. The whole semicircular line covered the heads of the bridges crossing the Chickahominy. Hasty preparations had been made for defense. The trees in the swamp had been felled; rifle-pits and barricades had been flung up on the hill-side; and the crest was crowned by the artillery, which could thus play over the heads of the infantry upon an advancing enemy; but the elaborate earth-works, which now scam the region, were the work of Grant, almost two years later. The plain over which was the approach to the front of this line was also swept by the heavy guns two miles away on the other side of the Chickahominy. Butterfield held the extreme left of this line, extending to the swamps of the Chickahominy; next came Martindale — both of Morell's division — then Griffin's division; then Sykes, with his regulars; all of these, of Fitz-John Porter's corps, formed the first line. Behind this was McCall's division: Meade, then commander of a brigade, who was a year and a week after to win the battle of Gettysburg, the true turning point of the war, was on the left; next Reynolds, in a few hours to be a prisoner of war, then Seymour, who a few hours before had crushed Ripley and Render at Beaver Dam, as reserve behind the second line. Stoneman'a cavalry were miles away to the north; they could be of no use on this field, which must be contested by infantry and artillery. Porter, fearing that Stoneman would be cut off by the advance of Jackson, sent orders to him to retreat to the White House, and afterward rejoin the army as best he could — where, no one knew.
If a battle was to be fought here by these forces, no stronger position could have been chosen, and no better dispositions made. Porter expected to be hard pressed in front; he hoped to hold his position without aid long enough to cover the retreat of the army; but he asked that some division on the other side should be held ready to support him.
At dawn of the 27th the Confederates at Mechanicsville were astir. They had been aroused by a sharp artillery fire, and expected a renewal of the fight at Beaver Dam. After an hour they discovered that the firing was a ruse to detain them, and that the Federal forces had retired. Another hour was spent in repairing the bridges so that the artillery could cross; and then the divisions took up the line of march, as prescribed in Lee's order. D. H. Hill bore to the left to unite with Jackson, who was still behind. He had encamped for the night within sound of the cannonade. A. P. Hill and Longstreet — Hill in advance — kept to the right, following the road along the Chickahominy. The march was slow and cautious, for on rounding any swell of land they might come upon their enemy in force. Noon had passed before five miles had been accomplished. Passing Gaines's Mill, where a slight skirmish occurred, from which has been given one of the names to the whole battle, they came in sight of the Union force drawn up upon the hill-side across the unnamed creek. Between them lay an
480open plain a quarter of a mile wide, swept by artillery from the crest in front and from the other side of the Chickahominy, and bounded by a wood tangled with undergrowth, and traversed by a sluggish stream which converted the soil into a dense morass. Here a slight delay occurred to form the line.
It was past two o'clock
Longstreet's division had been drawn up in the rear of Hill, covered from fire by a low ridge. Lee, finding Hill sorely worsted, ordered Longstreet to make a feigned attack upon the left, hoping to divert a part of the Union force to that direction, and thus relieve Hill. Longstreet soon found that the force here was too strong to be disturbed by a mere feint, and that to be of service he must make a real attack with his whole force. Jackson now came into view; D. H. Hill, who had joined him, in advance, on the extreme right, Ewell and Whiting on the left, and Lawton a little in the rear. The line was now complete, and a general advance along its whole extent was ordered.
Porter, in the mean while, seeing the immense force advancing upon him had two hours before asked for reinforcements. Slocum's division of Franklin's corps had been all day kept in readiness on the south side of the Chickahominy for this purpose. They had, indeed, been ordered over at daybreak; and had begun to cross; but when half-way over the order was countermanded. They were now hurried over, and came upon the field at half past four, when the general Confederate attack had been fairly commenced. Porter's whole line was so severely pressed at every point that he was forced to divide Slocum's force, sending parts of it, even single regiments, to the points most threatened.
The general Confederate assault was commenced by D. H. Hill upon the extreme Union right, held by Sykes with his regulars. He opened by a sharp artillery fire; but in half an hour the battery was withdrawn badly crippled. Meanwhile he could hear, by the direction of the fire on his right, that the Federals were forcing A. P. Hill and Longstreet back. The assault must be made hand to hand. In the face of a fierce fire, by which his force was sorely galled, and some of the regiments thrown into disorder, he succeeded in passing the swamp I in his front, and pressed up the opposite slope, only to be forced back. Ewell had come up on Hill's left, and attempted to carry the position in front of him; but most of his command gave way under the fierce fire which they encountered. "We were attacked," he says, "in front and flank by superior numbers, and were for hours without reinforcements." The "hours" were less than an hour, and the "superior numbers" existed only in the imagination of the assailants, justifiable indeed by the terrible fire to which they were exposed. Trimble, of this division, led his brigade toward the Confederate right; he met two regiments coming out of the field in confusion, who cried out, "You need not go in; we're whipped; you can't do any thing!" "Get out of our way!" his men replied; "we will show you how to do it!" and they charged at a run across the field against the Union lines.
It was now half past six, an hour before sunset. The whole Confederate force on this side of the Chickahominy, with the exception of Kemper's single brigade of " 1433 muskets," of Longstreet's division, which was held in reserve,
D. H. Hill, on the Confederate left, had been annoyed by an isolated battery which swept the road hy which he proposed to attack in flank the Union right. A sudden charge by two of his regiments captured this battery; it was held only for a few minutes, then retaken, and the Confederates driven back, the regiment which had captured the guns losing half its number in the work. Brief as the time was, it was enough. The temporary silence of the terrible battery
482enabled the rest of Hill's division to advance. The extreme right of the Union line gave way; it rallied, and was again forced back, not without disorder, toward the river bank. Hill asserts
It was not a rout, though fast threatening to become one. The core of every division remained solid, but fragments were flying off, like sparks from an iron under the blacksmith's hammer. But all, soldiers and fugitives, pressed toward the bridges which stretched through swamp and over river, beyond which lay safety. All at once a great shout rent the murky air, and French's and Meagher's brigades — Meagher, they say, leading in his shirt-sleeves — dashed up the bluff, driving through the stragglers, who were thronging toward the bridge, and advanced to what was now the front. Their presence gave heart to the fugitives, who rallied behind them and marched up the hill. The Confederates paused in the pursuit, and after delivering a few ineffectual volleys withdrew, as night set in, and the battle was over. An hour earlier and these two brigades alone would have turned the wavering scale and won a victory. As it was, they were just in time to prevent a great defeat from becoming a disastrous rout. D. H. Hill, moralizing afterward, says: "A vigorous attack might have resulted in the total rout of the Yankee army and the capture of thousands of prisoners. But I was unwilling to leave the elevated plateau and advance in the dark along an unknown road, skirted by dense woods, in the possession ofthe Yankees."
When morning broke the whole Union force was safely across the Chickahominy, and the bridges behind them were down. Three regiments, at different points, had been isolated by the Confederate rush, were surrounded and made prisoners. Many stragglers, scattered through the wood, were picked up next day by the cavalry who scoured the region. In all, the Federals lost about 2000 prisoners, among whom was General Reynolds, who, three days later, at Richmond, met his division commander, McCall, captured in a subsequent battle. The Union loss in this action was about 4000 in killed and wounded; that of the Confederates 9500. The Federals also lost 22 guns, of which 20 were captured by the enemy; the others were run off the bridge while crossing.
During the whole of this action, while Lee was with his troops controlling their movements and directing the fight, McClellan was on the opposite side of the river.
All the movements by the Confederates, on this side of the Chickahominy, are detailed at length by the different commanders. The substance is, that with pickets, skirmishers, and artillery, they felt the Union line along its whole length, showing themselves at points here and there, and then the force vanished, to reappear
483at a different spot, thus trebling their apparent numbers. The nature of the ground afforded facilities for these operations. There was a scries of swamps, forests, low ridges, and ravines, which shut out all sight of what was passing at a few hundred yards distance. If a body of troops showed itself at any point, no one could say whether it was a single regiment or the head of a full division. So an artillery fire upon any point might be a mere feint, or the prelude to an attack in force. All the shows of force which had all day long disturbed McClellan were but feints. The only real attack on that day, south of the Chickahominy, was just at sunset, when Toombs, anxious to distinguish himself, sent two small infantry regiments, reinforcing them afterward, to force the Union pickets. The attempt cost dearly. Half of the Georgia Second went into action 271 strong, and lost 120; the Fifteenth carried in 370, and lost 70, in killed and wounded. Toombs claims that after "two hours of fierce and determined conflict" the Federals were "driven back and repulsed." Franklin says: "There was no infantry fighting until about dark, when two brigades of the enemy attacked Hancock's brigade, which was in position as the advance of the picket line. He had a sharp engagement for about three-quarters of an hour, when the enemy was driven back. It was then entirely dark, too late to make any pursuit."
Toward midnight McClellan hold a council of war — the only one, apparently, during the campaign. Even then he seems to have had some purpose of recrossing the Chickahominy and risking another battle on that side. If the purpose was a serious one it was soon abandoned, and orders were given for a retreat to the James River.
484mass, incapable of offense or defense. If McClellan had but known his own position and strength, and that of his opponent, he could hardly have I wished that Lee should have placed his troops in any other position than that occupied by them just after the battle of Cold Harbor. Magruder, who was in chief command on the left bank, appreciated the sore peril of the Confederate capital and cause. He saw that a vigorous attack upon him could not be other than successful.
But McClellan had resolved, instead of giving battle to Lee on the left side of the Chickahominy, or of assaulting Richmond on the right, to abandon the whole position and retreat with his whole force to the James River. The different commanders were ordered to load the wagons with ammunition and provisions, and the necessary baggage of officers and men, and to destroy every thing which could not be carried off. The sick and wounded, who could not march or be carried, were to be left behind. These were fewer than might have been expected. Of the 13,000 on the sick list, and the 3000 wounded in the two previous days, about 2500 in all were thus abandoned.
The problem of the "Change of Base" was, after all, a very simple one. It was merely to march an army for fifteen miles with no enemy in front, but with one, erroneously supposed to bo superior, in its rear, and upon one flank. The main difficulty was to carry off the guns and trains of supplies and ammunition. The country over which the march was to be made favored the retreating army. The retreat must indeed be slow, for the roads were few and difficult; but the pursuit must be slower, for these roads could be obstructed at every step.
Some three or four miles from the extreme left of the Union position White Oak Creek empties into the Chickahominy. This creek is bordered by a swamp. For five miles the stream has some volume, and the swamp is narrow, three or four hundred yards wide; then it spreads out for eight miles toward Richmond, to a breadth of three miles or more. From the Chickahominy to the head of the swamp it was crossed by only two roads. Southward, toward the James, the ground rises slowly, and becomes a dry flat instead of a wet flat, but with swamps along the sluggish streams, covered with scrubby forests, with here and there a clearing. The maps show roads in abundance and intricate confusion, but they are mainly mere paths, over some of which no wheeled vehicle had passed for years. Three roads, however, starling from Richmond, spread out like the sticks of a fan, and then unite half-way between the swamp and Malvern Hill, the point to which McClellan directed his retreat. Thence they branch out in every direction: toward the lower bridges of the Chickahominy, some miles below the railroad; and toward the rich plantations which border the James. Just skirting the swamp is the Charles City Road, then the Central or Darbytown, then the Newmarket. It was by these roads that Longstreet and A. P. Hill, who, having recrossed the Chickahominy and turned the head of White Oak Swamp, marched to make their attack on the 30th upon the retreating column; and Magruder, coming from near Richmond, reached Malvern, where he was so disastrously beaten back on the 1st of July.
McClellan's retreat was in the following order: At noon on the 28th Keyes, who lay nearest, crossed White Oak Creek and took position on its opposite bank, to cover the passage of the other troops and trains. These, which would have stretched for a distance of forty miles if drawn up in single line — accompanied by a herd of 2500 cattle — were got safely over, and proceeded on their way, Keyes's corps guarding the advance. They readied the James River without molestation on the morning of the 30th. Franklin and Porter followed from the rear, by the same route, and were over on the morning of the 29th. At daybreak, of this day Heintzeiman and Sumner evacuated their works in front, falling back toward Savage's Station, which they were to hold until night, and then to cross the swamp by the upper road. A part of these several corps were to keep a line of battle fronting toward the creek to check pursuit from the rear; while others were to take positions across the three roads, and so fronting toward Richmond, in order to protect the trains passing behind them from assault in flank. McClellan, having given general directions for the movements and positions of the troops, rode to the James to select the best position on that river, and to consult with the naval commanders there.
On the morning of the 28th Lee was wholly at a loss what next to do. There was no force in front of him on his side of the Chickahominy; but still McClellan might propose to cross the river lower down, and give battle, in order to preserve his communications with the York
485River. The cavalry, with Ewell's division of Jackson's command, were sent down to the railroad to observe the state of things there. As they approached, the few troops guarding the railroad passed the river, burning the bridge behind them. Ewell remained until evening, and then rejoined his command. Stuart, with his cavalry, dashed down the railroad toward the White House, which they reached next morning. With him was the proprietor of that estate, Fitz-Hugh Lee, son of the Confederate commander. The house was in flames; nearly all the immense quantity of stores accumulated here had been removed, and were on their way to the James.
At dawn Magruder discovered that the Federal works at Fair Oaks were abandoned, and Sumner and Heintzelman were slowly falling back toward Savage's Station. The works on the extreme right were held a little longer. An attack; was made upon them, but it was repulsed, with a loss of 150.
Magruder in the mean time had been delayed by various contradictory orders; but at length came in sight of Sumner's corps, drawn up a little in front of Savage's Station, and about half past five o'clock opened a sharp attack with artillery, supporting it by infantry. He had one heavy gun mounted on a railroad car, protected from cannon-shot in front by a sloping iron roof, and from rifle-shot on the sides by thick walls of wood, lined with iron. This contrivance, which the Confederates named "the land Merrimac," was used with considerable effect. The action continued hot for more than two hours, when darkness coming on, the firing
486ceased as if by common consent, neither side gaining any perceptible ground from the other, though the action was so close that firing was sometimes suspended on account of the impossibility of distinguishing friends from foes. The numbers actually engaged on either side were small. Magruder brought fairly into action only McLaw's two small brigades, numbering together 2250 men; of these 345 were killed and wounded. His entire loss was about 400. The loss on the Union side was considerably larger. Early next morning Magruder was ordered by Lee to cross over to the Newmarket Road in order to join in the flank attack of that day. Lee had counted in this action upon the co-operation of Jackson; but he was delayed by the necessity of rebuilding a bridge in order to cross the Chickahominy. Sumner's stand had effected its object of delaying the enemy; and before midnight his force was on its way to White Oak Swamp, leaving behind 2500 sick, wounded, and their attendants in the hospital at Savage's Station.
Lee's plan of battle for this day was an illustration of grand strategy — the only one deserving the name during the whole campaign. His purpose was to make an attack in column upon McClellan's long line, break through it at the centre, hurl the left back upon Jackson, and assault the right in the rear. To accomplish this plan his whole strength — more than 80,000 men — were so situated that they might apparently be concentrated at the right moment upon the given point: Jackson upon the rear, all the rest upon the flank. The plan failed because the force could not be brought together in time; and instead of the attack being made by the whole, the action on his side was confined wholly to Longstreet and A. P. Hill, with 18,000 men; and in place of a grand and decisive battle there were a series of combats, in which each brigade on both sides engaged almost without concert. From the accounts, more or less at variance, and all incomplete, we have to attempt to set forth the leading points in this fierce but desultory conflict.
Holmes, joined by Wise, crossed the James with 7000 men, mostly fresh North Carolinians, and on the morning of the 30th came within sight of McClellan's retreating right, upon whom in the afternoon he opened fire from a distance. A few rounds of artillery and a few shells from the gun-boats scattered his force, the cavalry and artillery breaking into a wild stampede, and riding over and through the infantry. Two were killed, forty-one wounded, and several others seriously hurt by being run over by the cavalry and artillery. Holmes and Wise made no further appearance in this campaign; but the day after the battle of Malvern marched quietly back to their encampments across the James.
Jackson reached the White Oak Bridge at noon. He found the bridge destroyed and the approaches covered by artillery from the opposite side. In vain ho attempted to repair it all through the afternoon. The men would not work under the heavy fire to which they were exposed. He was but two miles distant from the fierce battle in which Longstreet and Hill were engaged, and the noise of it could be distinctly heard; but he was powerless to aid the attack in which he had been expected to bear so prominent a part.
Longstreet and A. P. Hill resumed their march down the Darbytown Road in the morning, and about noon came in sight of a part of the Union line drawn up, its centre at Frazier's Farm, near a point where a road leading to the James River crosses the roads coming from Richmond, by which they were advancing. Huger was supposed to be coming down the Charles City Road, two miles on the right.
The whole Union line was so long that it was unoccupied in portions. At this point Me Call was in the centre, with Kearney on the left, and Hooker, then Sumner, on the right. McCall was somewhat advanced, and upon his division, weakened by the two battles in which it had been engaged, the first onset fell.
After some skirmishing at about four o'clock Longstreet made the onset with the fiery impetuosity which he ever manifested. The first attack was made by Kemper's brigade, which
487had not yet been engaged, it having been the only one held in reserve at Cold Harbor. The brigade was driven back, losing 250 killed and wounded, and nearly 200 prisoners — a quarter of its whole number. Its place was taken by others, who, in greater force, dashed upon the same point. They swept in the Union line for a space, bat were checked by Hooker and forced back. This was on McCall's left. All the force of Longstreet and Hill now rushed in, each brigade commander apparently acting for himself. Foiled at one point they dashed upon another, determined to break the line somewhere. At last, Wilcox's Alabama brigade leading, they poured over a swampy stream and through a dense wood, and across an open field upon McCall's right, straight in the teeth of his batteries.
The battle raged with almost equal fury along the whole line. Hill, on the Confederate left, pressed forward his brigades in a mass, and gained ground at first, capturing two full batteries, which he retained; but he was unable to gain any ground permanently, and it at last became apparent that Hooker and Kearney, on their right and left, were slowly gaining, while the earlier repulse; of McCall's flanks had been retrieved, and his centre remained unbroken. Lee, indeed, says:
The Confederates captured in the earlier part of the action about 20 guns, and lost about 300 prisoners. Their loss in killed and wounded exceeded that of their opponents. Their two divisions kept a part of the field after their enemy had retired, thus holding the honors of the battle; but they were so fearfully shattered, here and before, that not a man of them was brought into the greater fight fought next day at Malvern. A. P. Hill had crossed the Chickahominy four days before with 14,000 men, and at Mechanicsville, Cold Harbor, and Frazier's Farm had lost 4000 in killed and wounded. Longstreet had crossed with 10,000, and at Cold Harbor and here lost 4200. Some of his brigades had more than half their number killed and wounded. "Wilcox carried 1850 into action at Cold Harbor; in the two battles he lost 1035. Pryor had 1400, and lost 850.
Accounts current at the time represent the division of McCall as having been thoroughly
488routed on this field. Parts of it were, indeed, shattered and broken; but, as a division, it fought bravely and held its ground firmly. Of the whole army it alone had fought in two battles — Mechanicsville and Cold Harbor. Here it was opposed to the first onset and the severest brunt of the fight. Meade, then leading one of its brigades, and a year after, lacking two days, to command the whole Army of the Potomac down to the close of the war, claimed for this division no more than its rightful due when he wrote: "It was only the stubborn resistance offered by our division, prolonging the contest till after dark, and checking till that time the advance of the enemy, that enabled the concentration during the night of the whole army on the James River, which saved it."
The position was admirably chosen for a defensive battle. Malvern Hill is an elevated plateau a mile and a half long and half as broad, the top nearly free from woods. It slopes gently toward the north and east down to the verge of a thick forest; westward it falls more abruptly into a ravine, which extends to the James River. All along the front are ravines, rendering the approach difficult except by the roads which cross them. On the crest of the hill seven heavy siege guns had been placed in position, and the reserve artillery was so posted that a concentrated fire of sixty guns could be brought to bear upon any point in front or on the left, the direction from which the enemy must advance to tire attack. Here the main force was massed. The right, less strongly held, curved backward through a wooded region to the James. Both flanks thus rested upon the river, and were protected by the gun-boats. Porter's corps was on the left; then Heintzelman's, a part of Keyes's, Sumner's, Franklin's, and last, on the extreme right, the remainder of Keyes.
Jackson crossed the White Oak Creek, and followed in the track of the retreating army. At Frazier's Farm he found Lee, who ordered him to press forward; at 9 o'clock, coming in sight of the Union line, he took up his position, Whiting on the left, then Ewell; D. H. Hill being on the right, who was thus brought, in front of Hooker, near the Union centre. Hill was within range of the artillery on the plateau, and suffered severely. "Andersen's brigade was roughly handled, he being wounded and borne from the field." The division was then halted and the Union position reconnoitred.
But Lee was resolved that his grand stroke of strategy should not fail. He sent a note to each of his division commanders, ordering an assault. That brief note of forty words cost him. more than 4000 men.
Huger had been directed to march down the Charles City Road and join Longstreet and A. P. Hill in the battle of the 30th. He failed to reach the point in time. Next day he tried to move forward, but got entangled among the other divisions, arid finally lost his way. He had had the same misfortune a month ago at Seven Pines; and now when his divisions came up, they were one by one taken from him and given to Magruder, and formed a part of his command during the battle. At first he was inclined to ignore the arrangement, and even directed one of his brigade commanders not to place himself under Magruder;
489afterward against the slight which had been put upon him, not for the first time. After the battle was over he was suffered to direct his division in removing the wounded and burying the dead.
The afternoon was now wearing away when Lee ordered the artillery attack, which he hoped would break the Union lines. "But instead of one or two hundred pieces only a single battery opened, and that was knocked to pieces in a few minutes; and one or two others shared the same fate of being beaten in detail." Hill knew not what to do. He "wrote to Jackson that the firing from the batteries was of the most farcical character;"
"We advanced alone, neither Whiting on the left, nor Magruder or Huger on the right, moved forward an inch. The division fought heroically, but fought in vain. Garland, in my immediate front, showed all his wonted courage, but he needed and asked for reinforcements. I found Toombs's brigade in our rear, and ordered it to support Garland, and accompanied it. The brigade advanced handsomely to the brow of the hill, but soon retreated in disorder. Gordon pushed gallantly forward and gained considerable ground, but was forced back. Ripley's brigade was streaming to the rear. Colquitt's and Anderson's brigades had also fallen back. Hansom's brigade had come up to my support from Huger; a portion of it had come, but without its brigadier. It moved too far to the left, and became mixed up with the mass of troops there, suffering heavily, and effecting little. Winder was sent up by Jackson, but he came too late, and also went to the same belt of woods already overcrowded with troops. Finally Ewell came up, but it was after dark, and nothing could be accomplished. I advised him to hold his ground and not to attempt a forward movement."Hill lost in this action, lasting only an hour and a half, of his own division, 336 killed and 1373 wounded.
McClellan thus describes this part of the engagement:
"At six o'clock the enemy suddenly opened upon Couch and Porter, with the whole strength of his artillery, and at once began pushing forward his columns of attack to carry the hill. Brigade after brigade, formed under cover of the woods, started at a run to cross the open space and charge our batteries; but the heavy fire of our guns, with the cool and steady volleys of our infantry, in every case sent them back reeling to shelter, and covered the ground with their dead and wounded. In several instances our infantry withheld their fire until the attacking columns, which rushed through the storm of canister and shell from our artillery, had reached within a few yards of our lines. They then poured in a single volley and dashed forward with the bayonet, capturing prisoners and colors, and driving the routed columns in confusion from the field."
Hill was mistaken in supposing that "Neither Magruder nor Huger moved forward an inch," and in afterward reiterating, "So far as I can learn, none of our troops drew trigger excepting McLaw's, mine, and a portion of Huger's." McLaw's division was a part of Magruder's command; and all this time Magruder, with the whole of his own and Huger's force, was engaged in a fierce conflict on the right. From them came the shouting and firing which Hill supposed to be the signal for his own advance. To this attack by Magruder, as well as to that by Hill, belongs McClellan's account just quoted. So close were they in space and time that, viewed from the opposite lines, they appeared as parts of one movement.
Magruder, after a weary and harassing march from the battle-field at Savage's Station, was ordered by Lee to attack on the right of Hill, who was in position. He found Armistead, of Huger's division, awaiting the arrival of artillery. Magruder sent back to hurry it up, and pushed on some of his troops within range of a heavy fire. Just then he received a copy of Lee's note, ordering him as soon as he heard the yell from Armistead to "do the same" and charge. Armistead had driven in some skirmishers, and yelled. Lee supposing that the Union line was broken, and that the troops were retreating, wrote to Magruder to advance and cut them off.
490size, which reached far beyond the head-quarters of our gallant Commander-in-chief, burst amidst the artillery parked in the rear. Belgian missiles and Minie balls lent their aid to this scene of surpassing grandeur and sublimity." This determined attack failed in making any impression upon the Union lines, or in disturbing a single battery. The Federal troops had no occasion to leave their strong position. It was quite sufficient to mow down the enemy with artillery as they advanced. When darkness set in, Magruder "concluded to let the battle subside," and his wearied men sank down to sleep on the spot they had reached. Some of them were within a hundred yards of the Union batteries.
Of these closing scenes, as viewed from the other side, McClellan writes: "About 7 o'clock, as fresh troops were accumulating in front of Porter and Couch, Meagher and Sickles were sent with their brigades to relieve such regiments of Porter's corps and Couch's division as had expended their ammunition, and batteries from the reserve were pushed forward to replace those whose boxes were empty. Until dark the enemy persisted in his efforts to take the position so tenaciously defended; but, despite his superior numbers, his repeated and desperate attacks were repulsed with fearful loss, and darkness ended the battle of Malvern Hill, though it was not until after 9 o'clock that the artillery ceased its fire."
The Confederates were indeed repulsed fearfully — and, had McClellan only known it and followed up his advantage — disastrously.
General Trimble thus describes the condition of the Confederate army on the morning after the battle:
So closed the "Seven Days' Battles," and with them, in effect, the Peninsular Campaign. Never in all history was better fighting, and never worse generalship, on both sides. "In a contest between forces so evenly balanced, the commander who makes the fewest errors must win. "Lee won the object at which he aimed, and had good right to say: "The siege of Richmond was raised, and the object of a campaign which had been prosecuted, after months of preparation, at an enormous expenditure of men and money, was completely frustrated."
The plan on the opposite page indicates, in a general way, the positions and movements of the armies from June 25 to July 1.
A. A. Union position at Mechanicsvllle, June 26.
B. B. Union position atCold Harbor, June 27.
C. C. Union position at Savage's Station, June 29.
D. D. Union position at Frazier's Farm, June 30.
E. E. Union position atMalvern Hill, July 1.
F. F. Union position at Harrison's Landing, July 4.
G.G. Union intrenchmentd before Richmond: a. Keyes. b. Heintzelman; c. Sumner; d. Franklin.
H. H. Torter and McCall, after crossing the Chickahommy.
Jackson's and D. H. Hill's march. Longstreet's and A P Hill's march.Magruder's and Huger's march. Holmes'a and Wise's march.The retreat of the Union army was by the same line as Jackson's march, after crossing the Chickahominy.
Of the Confederate commanders, Jackson, D. H. Hill,
492Longstreet, A. P. Hill, Holmes, and Pendleton, give their exact losses. The losses of Magruder and Huger can he made up very cloaely from the reports of their brigade commanders. Barksdale (Lee's Rep. 296) says that "one-third of his brigade fell upon the field: it numbered about 2400, which would make the loss 800. Cobb (Ibid. 279) puts his loss in killed and wounded at "nearly 500." McLaws (Ibid. 161, 164), 97 killed, 456 wounded. D. R. Jones (Ibid. 172), 108 killed, 708 wounded. Ransom (Ibid. 370), 69 killed, 854 wounded. Mahone (Ibid. 372, 378), 63 killed, 216 wounded. Armistead (Ibid. 438, 439, 448, two regiments estimated), 320 killed and wounded. Wright (Ibid. 397), 55 killed, 243 wounded. — In all, 3984; of whom 656 were killed, and 3328 wounded. Of the cavalry and reserve artillery we find mention of about 20 killed and 104 wounded.
The missing in A. P. Hill's division are not given; the number was evidently small, probably about 100. In Magruder's command we find about 400 missing in about two-thirds of the brigades; we set down the whole at 600.
From the foregoing data we have compiled the following table of
|Sumner||187||1076||848||2,111||D. H. Hill||714||3,192||48||3,954|
|Keyes||69||507||201||777||A. P. Hill||619||3,251||100 (?)||3,970|
|Porter||620||2,430||1198||4,278||Magruder and Huger||656||3,328||600 (?)||4,584|
|Engineers and Cavalry||19||62||118||199||Artillery and Cavalry||20||104||—||124|
The losses in the separate battles can be given only approximately, by considering the troops engaged in each, and the nature of the fighting, aided by a few indicia scattered here and there through the various Reports of Confederate Commanders.
Keyes was engaged mainly at Malvern Hill; we put his entire loss in that battle. — Sumner wag engaged at Savage Station, Frazier's Farm, and Malvern; we divide his loss between those three engagements. — Heintzelman at Frazier's Farm and Malvern; we divide his loss between them. McCall was at Mechanicsville, where he lost about 800, and at Cold Harbor, and tlie Farm, losing about equally in each. Porter was chiefly engaged at Cold Harbor and Malvern: we put three-fourths of his loss at the former. Of Franklin's corps, half with Slocum waa at
Cold Harbor, the other half with Smith at Garland's and Price's Farms, and elsewhere; we put two-thirds of his loss at Cold Harbor, dividing the remainder among the other engagements.
Jackson was engaged at Cold Harbor and slightly at Malvern; D. H. Hill at Mechanicsville, Cold Harbor, and Malvern: both of these distinguish between their losses in each engagement. A. P. Hill was at Mechanicsville, Cold Harbor, and Frazier's Farm. We estimate his loss in the first at 750, in the last at 900, leaving the remainder for Cold Harbor. Longstreet was at Cold Harbor and Frazier's Farm; we put Ilia loss in tlie latter battle at 1100, leaving the remainder for Cold Harbor.
From these data we construct tlie following approximate table of
The Confederate force consisted of the divisions of Huger, Magruder, Longstreet, A. P. Hill, and D. H. Hill, the reserve artillery of Pendleton, and Stuart's cavalry, in front of Richmond; Jackson's command, comprising the three divisions of himself, Ewell, and Whiting, coming down from the valley of the Shenandoah. To these are to be added a portion of Holmes's division and Wise's brigade, brought over from the other side of the James River near the close of the operations. — A. P. Hill (Lee's Rep. 173), D. H. Hill (ibid. 187), and Holmes (ibid. 151) give the number of their force. Longstreet does not state his, but four of his six brigade commanders (ibid. 330, 331, 346, 353) give the number in their brigades, which enables us to fix very nearly the strength of the whole division. Magruder (ibid. 190) gives his, and (ibid. 191, 202) enables us, in connection with the statements of two of his four brigade commanders (ibid. 367,371), to fix very nearly that of linger, rendleton (ibid. 224) enumerates fifteen batteries as constituting the reserve artillery; to each of these we assign 100 men. Stuart's cavalry (ibid. 398) consisted of six regiments and three legions; we give the strength, wholly by estimate. The precise numbers are, however, of little consequence, as the cavalry was not actually employed on either side. The main source possible of error in estimating the Confederate force consists in fixing the strength of Jackson's command, of which we find no official statement. The lowest probable estimate is 27,000, the highest 35,000; we put it at 30,000, not merely as a medium between the two, but as the one which, upon careful examination, appears to be the closest approximation, to the truth.
From the foregoing data we educe the table on the next page, representing the effective force upon each side on the 20th of June.
Besides this effective force, "present for duty," each army contained many sick. Of those, on the 20th of June, there were in McClellan's army 12,325, probably increased on the 26th to 13,000; moreover, there were nearly 30,000 reported as "absent," a considerable portion of whom were undoubtedly away on sick-leave. We have no means of ascertaining the number of these in the Confederate army; but scattered incidentally through the Rep. are evidences that it was very considerable. It is clear, however, that Lee brought into the field every effective man at his disposal.
The Confederate force in Virginia previous to the "Seven Days" has been variously estimated, and always overstated. The following statement, furnished, at the request of the writer of this chapter, by General J. E. Johnston, gives the force under his command, at different periods from September, 1861, to June, 1862, when. he was wounded and succeeded by General R. E. Lee:
January 3, 1866.
"In September, 1861, the effective strength of the army under my command in Northern Virginia was about 37,000. It occupied Leesburg, Centreville, and Mauassas, and the Lower Occoquan.
"On the 31st of December it had been increased, by improved health and the addition of Loring's and Holmes's troops, to 54,000, including Jackson's command. Jackson's 8000 were near Winchester and Romney. There were 2600 at Leesburg; 31,800 at Centreville and Manassas; 7000 on the Lower Occoquan and near Dumfries; and 5000 about Fredericksburg. This army was much reduced during the winter by the effect of what we called the Bounty and Furlough Law, but received some recruits from the South in the early spring. When, in April, it moved to Williamsburg, its strength (effective) was about 50,000, of which 6000 were left with Jackson, in the Valley, and 6000 with Ewell, on the Rappahanuock.
"The remaining 38,000 were sent to the position near Yorktown in two bodies. I accompanied the second, which arrived on the 17th of April. Magruder's own force was about 15,000, making our army at Yorktown near 53,000, exclusive of cavalry. Sickness and the fight at Williamsburg reduced this number by 6000. Our loss at Williamsburg was about 1800.
"According to the above numbers the strength of this army, when it readied the neighborhood of Richmond, was about 47,000. To this were added, near the end of May, Anderson's and Branch's troops — about 13,000 — and three brigades of Huger's division — not quite 7000. If the effect of sickness is not considered, this would make the army amount to 67,000 at the time of the fights at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines. On that occasion four brigades of G. W. Smith's division were engaged at Fair Oaks; and at Seven Pines, D. H. Hill's four, and two of Longstreet's, were engaged on the 31st of May. On the morning of June 1 there were nine Confederate brigades at Fair Oaks, five of them fresh, and thirteen at Seven Pines, seven of them fresh — that is to say, which had not been engaged the day before."
At the close of October, 1861, when its actual force is thus shown to have been between 40 and 50,000, McClellan (Rep. 46) estimated it at not less than "150,000 strong, well drilled and equipped, ably commanded, and strongly intrenched." When, in the spring of 1862, it evacuated Manassas, he estimated it (ibid. 122) at 115,500, instead of 50,000, its actual strength. At Yorktown, April 7, he thought he "should have on his hands the whole force of the enemy, probably not less than 100,000 men, and possibly more" (Com. Rep. ); whereas, ten days later, when Johnston himself had arrived with reinforcements, the whole force was only "53,000, exclusive of cavalry." And months after (Report 239), he says that "the estimated strength of the enemy at the time of the evacuation of Yorktown was from 100,000 to 120,000." So, too, in May and June, he constantly supposed himself outnumbered, whereas the utmost numbers of the enemy at the close of May, sick and well, was 67,000, his own being [April 30, 115,000, June 20, 117,000, well and sick, Report, 53] about 117,000. And on the 25th of June, the day before the first of the "Seven Days," when the Confederates had been largely strengthened, he puts their force at 200,000 (Report, 238), or at least 180,000 (ibid. 239), whereas our table shows that it numbered barely 100,000 effective men of all arms.
|McClellan's Staff, Engineers, Cavalry Division.|
Provost Guard, etc.
|Deduct losses, June 20 to 26 (say)||1,500|
|Entire Force, June 28||103,224|
|A. P. Hill's Division||14,000|
|D. H. Hill's Divison||10,000|
|Entire Force, June 26||100,500|
"General Jackson's command will proceed to-morrow from Ashland toward the Slash Church, and will encamp at some convenient point west of the Central Railroad. Branch's brigade of A. P. Hill's division will also, to-morrow evening, take position on the Chickahominy, near Half Sink. At 3 o'clock, Thursday morning, 26th instant, General Jackson will advance on the road leading to Pale Green [Walnut Green] Church, communicating his march to General Branch, who will immediately cross the Chickahominy, and take the road leading to Mechanicsville. As soon as the movements of these columns are discovered, General A. P. Hill, with the rest of his division, will cross the Chickahominy near Meadow Bridge, and move direct upon Mechanicsville. To aid his advance, the heavy batteries on the Chickahominy will at the proper time open upon the batteries at Mechanicsville. The enemy being driven from Mechanicsville, and the passage across the bridge opened, General Longstreet, with his division and that of General D. H. Hill, will cross the Chickahominy at or near that point — General D. H. Hill moving to the support of General Jackson, and General Longstreet supporting General A. P. Hill — the four divisions keeping in communication with each other, and moving en echelon on separate roads, if practicable. The left division in advance, with skirmishers and sharpshooters extending in their front, will sweep down the Chickahominy and endeavor to drive the enemy from his position above New Bridge; General Jackson, bearing well to his left, turning Beaver Dam Creek, and taking the direction toward Cold Harbor. They will then press forward toward the York River Railroad, closing upon the enemy's rear, and forcing him down the Chickahominy. Any advance of the enemy toward Richmond will be prevented by vigorously following his rear, and crippling and arresting his progress. The divisions of Generals Huger and Magruder will hold their positions in front of the enemy against attack, and make such demonstrations, Thursday, as to discover his operations. Should opportunity offer, the feint, will be converted into a real attack; and should an abandonment of his intrenchments by the enemy be discovered he will be closely pursued. Commanders of divisions will cause their commands to be provided with three days cooked rations. The necessary ambulances and ordnance trains will be ready to accompany the divisions, and receive orders from their respective commanders."Magruder states (Lee's Rep. 191) that when these orders had been executed "there were but 25,000 men between the enemy's army of 100,000 and Richmond." He understates the actual force of all arms by some 3000.
Lee says (Rep. 6): "Jackson's march on the 26th was longer than had been anticipated, and his progress also being retarded by the enemy, A. P. Hill did not begin his movement until 3 P.M., when he crossed the river and advanced upon Mechanicsville. Longstreet and D. H. Hill crossed the Mechanicsville bridge as soon as it could be repaired, but it was late before they reached the north bank. D. H. Hill's leading brigade, under Ripley, advanced to the support of the troops engaged, and at a late hour united with Fender's brigade of A. P. Hill's division in an effort to turn the enemy's left; but the troops were unable, in the growing darkness, to overcome the obstructions, and after sustaining a destructive fire of musketry and artillery at short range were withdrawn."
D. H. Hill (ibid. 180) says: "I had received several messages from General Lee, and one from the President of the Confederate States, to and forward a brigade. In advancing this brigade I met General Ponder, whose brigade had just been roughly handled, who told me that, with the assistance of two regiments of Ripley's brigade, he could turn the position at Ellison's Mill by the right, while two regiments should advance in front. General Ripley was ordered to co-operate with Render, and the attack was made about dark. The enemy had intrenchments of great strength and development on the other side of Beaver Dam, and had the banks lined with his magnificent artillery. The approach was over an open plain, exposed to a murderous fire of all arms, and an almost impassable stream was to be crossed. The result was, as might have been anticipated, a disastrous and bloody repulse."
Ripley (ibid. 230) says: "I was informed by General A. P. Hill that the enemy had a strong and well-served battery and force in position near Ellison's Mill, to attack which he had sent Fender's brigade by the right, and Other troops to the left; and it was arranged that my brigade should co-operate. While the troops were in motion I received orders to assault the enemy from General Lee, and also from General D. H. Hill. Night coming on, and it being deemed important to attack the position at once, the advance was ordered along the whole line. We drove back the enemy from his advanced positions, and closed in upon the batteries and their heavy infantry supports, all of which poured upon our troops a heavy and incessant fire of shell, canister, and musketry. The ground was rugged and intersected by ditches and covered with abattis a short distance in front of the position to be assaulted. A mill-race, with scarped banks and in some places waist-deep in water, ran along the front of the enemy, at a distance ranging from fifty to one hundred yards. To this position our troops succeeded in advancing, notwithstanding the fire of the enemy was exceedingly severe. The loss was heavy in the extreme, amounting in the 44th Georgia to 335, and in the 3d North Carolina to 142. Some time after nightfall our troops were withdrawn. The fragments of the 3d North Carolina and the 44th Georgia were rallied some distance in the rear, under some difficulty, owing to the loss of all their field and many of their company officers." In this assault of hardly an hour's duration Ripley's single brigade of 2366 men lost 574 in killed and wounded — more than one-fourth being killed outright.
A. P. Hill (ibid. 174), after describing the several assaults made by his division, and their "failure with heavy loss," adds: "It was never contemplated that my division alone should have sustained the shock of this battle; but such was the case, and the only assistance I received was from Ripley." Each of Hill's four brigade commanders who were engaged in this action speak of heavy losses in their commands.
McCall (Com. Rep. 558) says: "On the right, Randall's battery was charged upon by the enemy in great force, and with a reckless impetuosity I never saw equaled. They advanced at a run over a space of six hundred yards of open ground. The guns of the battery mowed them down, yet they never paused. A volley of musketry was poured into them at a short distance by the 4th regiment, in support of the battery, but it did not check them for an instant; they dashed on and pistoled and bayoneted the cannoniers at their guns. Part of the 4th regiment gave way; the remainder, however, with part of the 7th regiment in their rear, then coming forward, stood their ground like heroes. As I was with the battery at the time it was my fortune to witness, in the bayonet fight that there took place, such a display of reckless daring on the part of the Alabamians, and of unflinching courage on the part of the Pennsylvanians, as is rarely beheld. My men were, however, overpowered and borne off the ground. The battery was taken, but immediately after abandoned by the enemy, who rapidly retired. Just before sunset Cooper's battery in front of the centre was, after several charges had been repulsed, finally taken by the enemy, but only to be retaken by the 9th regiment in a most glorious charge."
Wilcox (Lee's Rep. 342) says: "The enemy's battery had an open field of fire, the ground being perfectly level. The 11th Alabama advanced, and, entering upon the open field, came on the battery, which began a rapid fire of grape and canister. The regiment did not halt an instant, but continued to advance, steadily and rapidly, without firing until it approached within two hundred yards of the battery, when it gave loud cheers and made a rush for the guns. Halting in front of it for an instant they fire upon the battery and infantry immediately in rear of it, and then make a successful charge upon and take it. The enemy, at first repulsed and driven from the battery, retire to the woods and deliver a terrible and destructive fire upon this regiment. With its ranks sadly thinned, it heroically stands its ground. The enemy, now seeing this regiment isolated and unsupported, advance from their cover against it. The sword and bayonet are freely used; many of the men received and gave in return bayonet wounds. There are no supports for them; no reinforcements come, and they are at length forced to yield and retire to the woods in the rear, having left upon the field and around the battery in dead alone eight officers, of whom seven were captains or lieutenants commanding companies, and forty-nine privates."
"About 3 P.M. a heavy fire of artillery opened upon Kearney's left and Couch's division, speedily followed up by a brisk attack of infantry on Couch's front. The artillery was replied to with good effect by our own, and the infantry of Couch's division remained lying on the ground until the advancing column was within short musketry range, when they sprang to their feet, and poured in a deadly volley, which entirely broke the attacking force, and drove them in disorder back over their own ground. This advantage was followed up until we had advanced the right of our lines some seven or eight hundred yards, and rested upon a thick clump of trees, giving us a stronger position and a better fire. Shortly after 4 o'clock the firing ceased along the whole front, but no disposition was evinced on the part of the enemy to withdraw from our front." — McC. Rep. 271.