Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/164

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100 Southern Historical Society Papers.

A. T. Cole, who commanded Company D after the reorganization. General Johnston having been badly wounded at Seven Pines, Gen- eral Robert E. Lee was now in command. After Seven Pines, the boys went into camp near Richmond, and here several weeks were passed in drilling. The Federal line of battle stretched along the Chickahominy a distance of nine miles, the right wing resting upon the northern bank of the stream, and extending a short distance above the village of Mechanicsville, six miles from Richmond.

The fighting at Mechanicsville, on the evening of the 26th of June, opened the ball that resulted in the demoralization of McClellan's forces, and his rapid retreat to the shelter of his gun boats in James river. According to General Lee's plan of attack, Jackson threw his force upon the right flank of the enemy, whilst A. P. and D. H. Hill pressed them vigorously at other points. Their breastworks were soon carried, and the enemy fell back one mile to a stronger line of works, from which position A. P. Hill failed to dislodge them. Night came on, but an artillery contest was still maintained until a late hour. Next day at dawn the Confederates renewed the attack, after a bloody conflict of two hours, the enemy, realizing that the mighty " Stonewall " had got in their rear, abandoned their position, destroying ammunition, &c., and fell back to a yet stronger line of works. In fact they had three lines of battle here, each protected by breastworks extending from a point on the left near Games' Mill, to a point on the right beyond Cold Harbor. In the attack on this position, the division of D. H. Hill to which the 23d belonged was the first to become engaged. When the battle became general, and the whole of Jackson's and Longstreet's corps had come into action, a charge was ordered and the first line of works carried then the second line, then the third; and now McClellan's army was on the wing and running for dear life. It has been a disputed point between Confederate commands as to which was entitled to the glory of first mounting the enemy's works at Cold Harbor. General Lee officially paid high compliment to D. H. Hill and his division in this battle. Northern writers admit that their right wing gave way first, and it was at this point that D. H. Hill's charge was directed. McClellan's defeated army fell back upon Malvern Hill, a' strongly entrenched position, where he managed to concentrate his forces and park his three hundred pieces of artillery. Here again the division of D. H. Hill opened the fight by a vigorous attack upon the enemy's right. Through some misunderstanding, the attack upon the left, was not promptly made, and from the fact the