Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/223

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The twelfth Alabama Infantry. 219

as high as our ankles, and often went to our knees, and even to our waists.

May 31 and June i, 1862, found General Joe Johnston and Gen- eral McClellan fronting each other and fighting the great two-days battle of Seven Pines, called by some "Fair Oaks." This was one of the most desperate, hotly contested and bloody fields of the war. In the morning we noticed many federal balloons flying in the air taking observations. McClellan had 100,000 splendidly equip- ped soldiers, while Johnston had only 63,000. Our losses were 6, 134 killed and wounded, and the federals lost 5,031, making a total of 11,165 brave men. The storm passed away on the morn- ing of the 31, leaving the air cool and bracing. It was a lovely May morning and the sun rose bright and clear. Though they were wet, and had enjoyed little sleep, the men were full of life and courage, and the woods resounded with their cheerful voices and brisk movements. Breakfast was soon enjoyed and the order "fall in" was given. The Twelfth Alabama numbered 408 men and officers present for duty, and was led by Colonel R. T. Jones, Lieu- tenant Colonel B. B. Gayle, Major S. B. Pickens, while Captain R. H. Keeling commanded Company F, and I, as second lieutenant, accompanied our command, while Lieutenant McNeely was acting commissary of the regiment. Lieutenant Wright was also absent.

The Fifth Alabama under command of Colonel C. C. Pegues, Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Hall, and Major E. L. Hobson; the Sixth Alabama under Colonel John B. Gordon, Lieutenant Colonel B. H. Baker, and Major Nesmith; the Twelfth Mississippi under Colonel N. H. Harris, afterwards promoted to brigadier general. These regiments composed, with the Twelfth Alabama, Rodes' Brigade.

Early in the morning we were drawn up in front of the enemy's works under cover of a dense forest, within one-fourth of a mile of the enemy's batteries and redoubts. These redoubts bristled with artillery, and were supported by numerous infantry and flanked by breastworks. We moved forward through the mud, water and limbs of trees, cut down to form obstructions to our approach, and, as we moved, the enemy opened on us with their artillery, and a dreadful storm of shot, shell, grape and cannister tore through the trees, plowing up the ground on every side and cutting off limbs and small trees above and around us. We moved on to the assault, and under the terrible fire of musketry and artillery which we could not return, because of the abatis in our front, and the difficulty of