Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/62

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62 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Then there would be the deafening roll of musketry, and in a few moments all would be hidden from view by smoke. On the occasion of one charge my eyes were upon the advancing line when it received the fire of the enemy. The poor fellows reeled and fell, it seemed by the dozens. The line, broken, is forced back to seek shelter under the brow of the hill. In a few minutes the men are rallied, and returning to the charge, meet the same fate. This was a fair sample of the many charges made during the afternoon.

Let us now draw from the official reports of leading officers. What is there found will not fail to interest and furnish some excep- tionally graphic pen-pictures of this historic engagement. First let the Confederate commanders speak.

General Lee says: "On the right the attack was gallantly made by Huger's and Magruder's commands. Two brigades of the former commenced the action; the other two were subsequently sent to the support of Magruder and Hill. Several determined efforts were made to storm the hill at Crew's house. The brigades advanced bravely across the open field, raked by the fire of a hundred cannon and the musketry of large bodies of infantry. Some were broken and gave way, others approached close to the guns, driving back the infantry, compelling the advanced batteries to retire to escape cap- ture, and mingling their dead with those of the enemy. For want of concert among the attacking columns their assaults were to weak to break the Federal line, and after struggling gallantly, sustaining and inflicting great loss, they were compelled successively to retire. Night was approaching when the attack began, and it soon became difficult to distinguish friend from foe. The firing continued until 9 P. M., but no decided result was gained. Part of the troops were withdrawn to their original positions, others remained on the open field, and some rested within a hundred yards of the batteries that had been so bravely but vainly assailed. The general conduct of the troops was excellent in some instances heroic. The lateness of the hour at which the attack necessarily began gave the enemy the full advantage of his superior position and augmented the natural diffi- culties of our own."

General Magruder says: "The fire of musketry and artillery now raged with terrific fury. The battle-field was enveloped in smoke, relieved only by flashes from the lines of the contending troops. Round shot and grape crashed through the woods, and shells of enormous size, which reached far beyond the headquarters of our gallant commander-in-chief, burst amid the artillery parked