Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/8

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4 Southern Historical Soviet >/ Papers.

scouted the enemy incessantly, and so effectually as to keep them close to their seventeen redoubts at Williamsburg. The 59th was stationed mostly at the Diascund, its rangers keeping the miserable 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry timidly at bay. Under orders, they guarded the River road whilst the battles around Richmond were going on, until the last at Malvern Hill was fought, when, without orders, they reinforced the fagged forces of General T. H. Holmes, on Lee's extreme right, and where they stood unbroken for two days under the Paixhans and bombs of the enemy's batteries and ironclads, though regiments of infantry and batteries of artillery of General Junius Daniel's command stampeded through their ranks. After that, Colonel A. W. Starke riddled one of the enemy's side- wheel steamers from the heights of Deep Bottom. Again, in 1863, they were given the most difficult order to be executed which can be issued from headquarters. To make a divertisement in favor of Longstreet in his operations around Suffolk, in Nansemond, and to prevent the enemy from sending reinforcements from Yorktown against him, orders were issued to me from Richmond to move with all my available force as low down the peninsula as possible, and to do all the damage possible to the enemy and threaten him as closely as was in my power, without hazarding a battle unless certain of suc- cess. With i, loo men, we moved to the six miles' ordinary in James City, ascertained that the enemy, 3,000 strong, already apprised of our movement, had occupied Fort Magruder and the other sixteen redoubts around Williamsburg, and we planned to destroy his stores of munitions and provisions at Whitaker's Mill, nearly four miles in his rear. Tabb, with only 218 men, a portion of the 59th, was sent forward that night, and we attacked the redoubts in front with 900 men at daybreak the next morning. The plan succeeded gloriously, in destroying from $300,000 to $500,000 worth of stores and their quarters at Whitaker's Mill, witnout the loss of a man. We occu- pied Williamsburg and vicinity for about a week in face of an enemy in our front three times our number; relieved many of the inhabi- tants of their durance vile; saved much property, and avenged some- what the outrages which had followed Shingler's raid, and returned to Chaffin's to meet the thanks of the War Department and of Gen- eral Elzey. Tabb and Page and Captain Rives, with a section of artillery, especially met my commendation.

After this, in September, 1863, this brigade was ordered to report to General Beauregard at Charleston, South Carolina. Whilst at Chaffin's Bluff, its men and officers began to chafe somewhat that