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Cooper's and Kern's batteries by single regiments without success, they having recoiled before the storm of canister hurled against them. A like result was anticipated by Randall's battery, and the 4th regiment was requested not to fire until the battery had done with them. “Its gallant commander did not doubt his ability to repel the attack, and his guns did, indeed, mow down the advancing host, but still the gaps were closed, and the enemy came in upon a run to the very muzzle of his guns. “It was a perfect torrent of men, and they were in his battery before the guns could be removed. Two guns that were, indeed, successfully limbered, had their horses killed and wounded and were overturned on the spot, and the enemy, dashing past, drove the greater part of the 4th regiment before them. “The left company, (B,) nevertheless, stood its ground, with its captain, Fred. A. Conrad, as did, likewise, certain men of other companies. I had ridden into the regiment and endeavored to check them, but with only partial success.” xk >k >k >k :k >k >k “There was no running. But my division, reduced by the previous battles to less than six thousand, (6,000,) had to contend with the divisions of Longstreet and A. P. Hill, considered two of the strongest and best among many of the confederate army, numbering that day 18,000 or 20,000 men, and it was reluctantly compelled to give way before heavier force accumulated upon them.” >k >k >k :k >k >k >k General Heintzelman states that about 5 o'clock p. m. General McCall's division was attacked in large force, evidently the principal attack; that in less than an hour the division gave way, and adds: “General Hooker being on his left, by moving to his right, repulsed the rebels in the handsomest manner with great slaughter. General Sumner, who was with General Sedgwick in McCall's rear, also greatly aided with his artillery and infantry in driving back the enemy. They now renewed their attack with vigor on General Kearney's left, and were again repulsed with heavy loss.” >k >k >k >k >k >k :k “This attack commenced about 4 p.m., and was pushed by heavy masses with the utmost determination and vigor. Captain Thompson's battery, directed with great precision, firing double charges, swept them back. The whole open space, two hundred paces wide, was filled with the enemy; each repulse brought fresh troops. The third attack was only repulsed by the rapid volleys and determined charge of the 63d Pennsylvania, Colonel Hays, and half of the 37th New York volunteers.”
General McCall's troops soon began to emerge from the woods into the open field. Several batteries were in position and began to fire into the woods over the heads of our men in front. Captain DeRussy's battery was placed on the right of General Sumner's artillery with orders to shell the woods. General Burns's brigade was then advanced to meet the enemy, and soon drove him back; other troops began to return from the White Oak swamp. Late in the day, at the call of General Kearney, General Taylor's first New Jersey brigade, Slocum's division, was sent to occupy a portion of General McCall's deserted position, a battery accompanying the brigade. They soon drove back the enemy, who shortly after gave up the attack, contenting themselves with keeping up a desultory firing till late at night. Between 12 and 1 o'clock at night General Heintzelman commenced to withdraw his corps, and soon after daylight both of his divisions, with General Slocum's division and a portion of General Sumner's command, reached Malvern hill.
On the morning of the 30th General Sumner, in obedience to orders, had moved promptly to Glendale, and upon a call from General Franklin for re-enforcements, sent him two brigades, which returned in time to participate and render good service in the battle near Glendale. General Sumner says of this battle:
“The battle of Glendale was the most severe action since the battle of Fair Oaks. About 3 o'clock p.m. the action commenced, and after a furious contest, lasting till after dark, the enemy was routed at all points and driven from the field.”
The rear of the supply trains and the reserve artillery of the army reached Malvern hill about 4 p.m. At about this time the enemy began to appear in General Porter's front, and at 5 o'clock advanced in large force against his left flank, posting artillery under cover of a skirt of timber, with a view to engage our force on Malvern hill, while with his infantry and some artillery he attacked Colonel Warren's brigade. A concentrated fire of about thirty guns was brought to bear on the enemy, which, with the infantry fire of Colonel Warren's command, compelled him to retreat, leaving two guns in the hands of Colonel Warren. The gunboats rendered most efficient aid at this time, and helped to drive back the enemy. It was very late at night before my aids returned to give me the results of the day's fighting along the whole line, and the true position of affairs. While waiting to hear from General Franklin, before sending orders to Generals Sumner and Heintzelman, I received a message from the latter that General Franklin was falling back; whereupon I sent Colonel Colburn, of my staff, with orders to verify this, and if it were true, to order in Generals Sumner and Heintzelman at once. He had not gone far when he met two officers sent from General Franklin's headquarters with the information that he was falling back. Orders were then sent to General Sumner and Heintzelman to fall back also, and definite instructions were given as to the movement which was to commence on the right. The orders met these troops already en route to Malvern. Instructions were also sent to General Franklin as to the route he was to follow. General Barnard then received full instructions for posting the troops as they arrived. I then returned to Haxall’s, and again left for Malvern soon after daybreak. Accompanied by several general officers, I once more made the entire circuit of the position, and then returned to Haxall’s, whence I went with Captain Rodgers to select the final location for the army and its depots. I returned to Malvern before the serious fighting commenced, and after riding along the lines, and seeing most cause to feel anxious about the right, remained in that vicinity.
BATTLE OF MALWERN HILL.
The position selected for resisting the further advance of the enemy on the 1st of July was with the left and centre of our lines resting on Malvern hill, while the right curved backwards through a wooded country towards a point below Haxall’s, on James river. Malvern hill is an elevated plateau about a mile and a half by three-fourths of a mile in area, well cleared of timber, and with several converging roads running over it. In front are numerous defensible ravines, and the ground slopes gradually toward the north and east to the woodland, giving clear ranges for artillery in those directions. Towards the northwest the plateau falls off more abruptly into a ravine which extends to James river. From the position of the enemy his most obvious lines of attack would come from the direction of Richmond and White Oak swamp, and would almost of necessity strike us upon our left wing. Here, therefore, the lines were strengthened by massing the troops and collecting the principal part of the artillery. Porter's corps held the left of the line, (Sykes's division on the left, Morell's on the right,) with the artillery of his two divisions advantageously posted, and the artillery of the reserve so disposed on the high ground that a concentrated fire of some sixty guns could be brought to bear on any point in his front or left. Colonel Tyler also had, with great exertion, succeeded in getting ten of his siege guns in position on the highest point of the hill.
Couch's division was placed on the right of Porter; next came Kearney and IHooker; next Sedgwick and Richardson; next Smith and Slocum; then the remainder of Keyes's corps, extending by a backwood curve nearly to the river. The Pennsylvania reserve corps was held in reserve, and stationed behind Porter's and Couch’s position. One brigade of Porter's was thrown to the left on the low ground to protect that flank from any movement direct from the Richmond road. The line was very strong along the whole front of the open plateau, but from thence to the extreme right the troops were more deployed. This formation was imperative, as an attack would probably be made upon our left. The right was rendered as secure as possible by slashing the timber and by barricading the roads. Commodore Rodgers, commanding the flotilla on James river, placed his gunboats so as to protect our flank, and to command the approaches from Richmond. Between 9 and 10 a.m. the enemy commenced feeling along our whole left wing, with his artillery and skirmishers, as far to the right as Hooker's division. About 2 o'clock a column of the enemy was observed moving towards our right, within the skirt of woods in front of Heintzelman's corps, but beyond the range of our artillery. Arrangements were at once made to meet the anticipated attack in that quarter, but, though the column was long, occupying more than two hours in passing, it disappeared, and was not again heard of. The presumption is, that it retired by the rear, and participated in the attack afterwards made on our left. About 3 p.m. a heavy fire of artillery opened on Kearney's left and Couch's division, speedily followed up by a brisk attack of infantry on Couch's front. The artillery was replied to with good effect by our own, and the infantry of Couch's division remained lying on the ground until the advancing column was within short musket range, when they sprang to their feet and poured in a deadly volley which entirely broke the attacking force and drove them in disorder back over their own ground. This advantage was followed up until we had advanced the right of our line some seven or eight hundred yards, and rested upon a thick clump of trees, giving us a stronger position and a better fire. Shortly after four o'clock the firing ceased along the whole front, but no disposition was evinced on the part of the enemy to withdraw from the field. Caldwell's brigade, having been detached from Richardson's division, was stationed upon Couch's right by General Porter, to whom he had been ordered to report. The whole line was surveyed by the general, and everything held in readiness to meet the coming attack. At six o'clock the enemy suddenly opened upon Couch and Porter with the whole strength of his artillery, and at once began pushing forward his columns of attack to carry the hill. Brigade after brigade, formed under cover of the woods, started at a run to cross the open space and charge our batteries, but the heavy fire of our guns, with the cool and steady volleys of our infantry, in every case sent them reeling back to shelter, and covered the ground with their dead and wounded. In several instances our infantry withheld their fire until the attacking column, which rushed through the storm of canister and shell from our artillery, had reached within a few yards of our limes. They then poured in a single volley and dashed forward with the bayonet, capturing prisoners and colors, and driving the routed columns in confusion from the field. About 7 o'clock, as fresh troops were accumulating in front of Porter and Couch, Meagher and Sickles were sent with their brigades, as soon as it was considered prudent to withdraw any portion of Sumner's and Heintzelman's troops, to re-enforce that part of the line and hold the position. These brigades relieved such regiments of Porter's corps and Couch's division as had expended their ammunition, and batteries from the reserve were pushed forward to replace those whose boxes were empty. Until dark the enemy persisted in his efforts to take the position so tenaciously defended; but, despite his vastly superior numbers, his repeated and desperate attacks were repulsed with fearful loss, and darkness ended the battle of Malvern hill, though it was not until after 9 o'clock that the artillery ceased its fire. During the whole battle Commodore Rodgers added greatly to the discomfiture of the enemy, by throwing shell among his reserves and advancing collunarls. As thé army in its movement from the Chickahominy to Harrison's landing was continually occupied in marching by night and fighting by day, its commanders found no time or opportunity for collecting data which would enable them to give exact returns of casualties in each engagement. The aggregate of our entire losses from the 26th of June to the 1st of July, inclusive, was ascertained, after arriving at Harrison's landing, to be as follows:
List of the killed, wounded, and missing in the army of the Potomac from the 26th of June to the 1st of July, 1862, inclusive.
Corps. Killed. Wounded. | Missing. Aggregate. 1st. McCall's division"-------------------- 253 1,240 1,581 3,074 2d. Summer's---------------------------- 187 1,076 848 2, 111 3d. Heintzelman's ----------------------- 189 1,051 833 2,073 4th. Keyes's ----------------------------- 69 507 201 777 5th. Porter's ----------------------------- 620 2,460 1, 198 4,278 6th. Franklin's--------------------------- 245 1, 313 1, 179 2,737 Engineers -------------------------------|---------- 2 2I 23 Cavalry --------------------------------- 19 60 97 176 Total.------------------------------ 1,582 7,709 5,958 15,249
Although the result of the battle of Malvern was a complete victory, it was, nevertheless, necessary to fall back still further, in order to reach a point where our supplies could be brought to us with certainty. As before stated, in the opinion of Captain Rodgers, commanding the gunboat flotilla, this could only be done below City Point; concurring in his opinion, I selected Harrison's bar as the new position of the army. The exhaustion of our supplies of food, forage, and ammunition, made it imperative to reach the transports immediately.
The greater portion of the transportation of the army having been started for Harrison's landing during the night of the 30th of June and 1st of July, the order for the movement of the troops was at once issued upon the final repulse of the enemy at Malvern hill. The order prescribed a movement by the left and rear, General Keyes's corps to cover the manoeuvre. It was not carried out in detail as regards the divisions on the left, the roads being somewhat blocked by the rear of our trains. Porter and Couch were not able to move out as early as had been anticipated, and Porter found it necessary to place a rear guard between his command and the enemy. Colonel Averill, of the 3d Pennsylvania cavalry, was intrusted with this delicate duty. He had under his command his own regiment and Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan's brigade of regular infantry and one battery. By a judicious use of the resources at his command he deceived the enemy so as to cover the withdrawal of the left wing without being attacked, remaining himself on the previous day's battle-field until about 7 o'clock of the 2d of July. Meantime General Keyes, having received his orders, commenced vigorous preparations for covering the movement of the entire army and protecting the trains. It being evident that the immense number of wagons and artillery carriages pertaining to the army could not move with celerity
along a single road, General Keyes took advantage of every accident of the ground to open new avenues and to facilitate the movement. He made preparations for obstructing the roads, after the army had passed, so as to prevent any rapid pursuit, destroying effectually Turkey bridge, on the main road, and rendering other roads and approaches temporarily impassable by felling trees across them. He kept the trains well closed up, and directed the march so that the troops could move on each side of the roads, not obstructing the passage, but being in good }. to repel an attack from any quarter. His dispositions were so successul that, to use his own words, “I do not think more vehicles or more public property were abandoned on the march from Turkey bridge than would have been left, in the same state of the roads, if the army had been moving toward the enemy instead of away from him. And when it is understood that the carriages and teams belonging to this army, stretched out in one line, would extend not far from forty miles, the energy and caution necessary for their safe withdrawal from the presence of an enemy, vastly superior in numbers, will be appreciated.” The last of the wagons did not reach the site selected at Harrison's bar until after dark on the 3d of July, and the rear guard did not move into their camp until everything was secure. The enemy followed up with a small force, and on the 3d threw a few shells at the rear guard, but were quickly dispersed by our batteries and the fire of the gunboats. Great credit must be awarded to General Keyes for the skill and energy which characterized his performance of the important and delicate duties intrusted to his charge. High praise is also due to the officers and men of the 1st Connecticut artillery, Colonel Tyler, for the manner in which they withdrew all the heavy guns during the seven days, and from Malvern hill. Owing to the crowded state of the roads the teams could not be brought within a couple of miles of the position, but these energetic soldiers removed the guns by hand for that distance, leaving nothing behind.
On the 1st July I received the following from the President:
“WASHINGTON, July 1, 1862–3.30 p.m.
“It is impossible to re-enforce you for your present emergency. If we had a million of men we could not get them to you in time. We have not the men to send. If you are not strong enough to face the enemy, you must find a place of security, and wait, rest and repair. Maintain your ground if you can, but save the army at all events, even if you fall back to Fort Monroe. We still have strength enough in the country, and will bring it out.
“A. LINCOLN. “Major General G. B. McCLELLAN.”
In a despatch from the President to me, on the 2d of July, he says:
“If you think you are not strong enough to take Richmond just now, I do not ask you to. Try just now to save the army, material and personnel, and I will strengthen it for the offensive again as fast as I can. The governors of eighteen States offer me a new levy of three hundred thousand, which I accept.”
On the 3d of July the following kind despatch was received from the President: