Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/218

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214 Southern Historical Society Papers.

"Juiy /, 1862.

"General Batteries have been established to act upon the enemy's line. If it is broken, as is probable, Armistead, who can witness the effect of the fire, has been ordered to charge with a yell. Do the same.

"R. H. CHILTON. A. A. G."

Only a battery or two could get into position at the time, and as soon as exposed on the edge of the field fifty pieces turned on them and they were crushed at once. An eye witness of that fight, I shall never forget the spirit and gallantry displayed by the batteries I saw go in and engage the enemy. By the time they had fired a round every horse was dead. The men pulled back the guns by hand, and in the face of bursting shells and whizzing bullets and surrounded by dead and dying comrades, vainly atttempted to fire their pieces. On the hill in front of Magruder's centre, the only point from our position where artillery could be carried in, the ground was covered with dead horses and men, and in many places you could step from one body to another. The conditions of the order which I have read not having been fulfilled, some of the division generals wrote back for instructions, and received the reply to charge with a yell. I heard this order twice delivered to General Magruder as he was urging the commanders of his nine brigades to do all in their power to overcome the difficulties of the swamp and woods and press up to the batteries.

As General Hill's troops had the shorter route to reach the open field in front of Crew's, they became engaged sooner than Magru- der's. General G. B. Anderson began the attack, and in a short time was wounded and carried from the field. Then Gordon, Rip- ley, Garland and Colquitt charged with the yell. Battery after bat- tery was in their hands for a few moments, only to be wrested from them by the enemy. Had the attack been simultaneous, success must have crowned their efforts. Armistead, immediately on Ma- gruder's left, made a gallant charge an hour before, and the nine brigades of Magruder moved through the thick woods and up and around the hill skirting the field, and emerged into the same to meet the fire from fifty to one hundred guns, that tore gaps in their ranks and strewed the ground with their dead. Some of them reached the batteries, and the blue and the gray were mingled as they lay around the old sheds and barns in the Crew field. General Hill, in describing this scene, says it was not war it was murder. The bat- tle was delivered by fourteen brigades, while six divisions lay near