Tuesday, June 28, 2016

BIG NEWS FROM THE CONFEDERACY -- Seven Days Battles Continues.

[The Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 30, 1861]
The great battle.
brilliant victory.
the enemy in full retreat
details of the fight
Storming of Mechanicsville.
capture of Ellyson's Mills?
battle of Beaver Dam Creek.
the fight at Gaines Mills!
&c. &c. &c.
Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill
When Gen. A. P. Hill had steadily driven the enemy from Meadow Bridge, and had taken up the line of march towards Mechanicville and the road, evening had far advanced, and it was supposed that a halt would take place. Gen. Ripley, however, with the 44th and 48th Georgia, and 2d and 3d North Carolina, made an attack upon the Yankee fortifications at Ellyson's Mills, in which the 44th Georgia and 3d North Carolina suffered extremely, and did not succeed in taking them, owing to the impracticable nature of the ground. Operations were then suspended on our side, but the enemy kept up a deafening roar of artillery till late in the night. Long street's forces had meanwhile crossed, and marched parallel with the Chickahominy. The brigades of Gens. Featherstone and Pryor were in advance, and proceeding some distance, halted for the night. About midnight, Featherstone received orders to change his position, and to occupy a skirt of woods near Beaver Dam Creek, and facing the Federal batteries. He did so, and the men were scarcely asleep when, twilight approaching, the enemy discovered the bivouac, and immediately commenced to shell it vigorously. The men, thus unceremoniously aroused, seized their muskets and fell in, and Gen. Featherstone, just arrived from headquarters, led them to storm the position — mounting ten guns, and supported by two or three brigades. Sharp fighting now commenced on all sides, when Gen. Pryor sent for assistance, and Wilcox soon came upon the ground. To cover the infantry attack, and draw off the artillery fire, the 3d Richmond Howitzers, some pieces of the Donaldsonville and Thomas Artillery, moved up and played upon the enemy's position magnificently.--Having engaged the enemy for a long time, and finding it impossible to cross the creek without a bridge, one was constructed by some of the 19th Mississippi and 14th Louisiana, under fire when the whole force advanced, and closed up with the enemy, driving them in great confusion from the field. The difficulties of attack at this position were such that it is impossible to give a correct idea without maps — the battery being on a height, flanked by rifle pits, a deep creek at the foot of the hill, and covered with a thick hedge.
A daring attack.
The attack of our men on this position was impetuous and daring, but the loss was great, for the foe were so screened by their position it was impossible to get at them properly. Their loss was severe. Gen. Featherstone's Adjutant General, Geo. P. Foote, was shot while riding far in advance of the 12th Mississippi, and although hailed to return, he did not, and was quickly singled out and mortally wounded. His body was shortly afterwards found despoiled — watch, money, and swordsmen. The 12th Mississippi went out in the morning with 397 men, lost in this engagement 12 killed, 68 wounded, and 9 missing; the regiment was commanded by Major W. H. Lilly. who was wounded leading a charge,--the Colonel being absent and sick, and the Lieutenant Colonel wounded. The 19th Mississippi went into action with 521--had 31 killed, 150 wounded. The 2nd Mississippi battalion, Col. Taylor, went into action with 234 men, and had 30 killed and wounded. The loss of Pryor's brigade we have not learned; but hear that the 14th Louisiana and the remnant of St. Paul's battalion suffered severely,--Wilcox, being in support, did not lose many. The Generals speak in high terms of the execution of our field pieces in this attack, the 3rd Richmond Howitzers, some of the Donaldsonville, and Thomas artillery, having caused great destruction among the enemy, and with slight loss to themselves. The rapidity of their fire quite astonished the Yankees, and could be distinctly heard over all our city, long before dawn had fairly broken.
Fight at Ellyson's Mills.
While Featherstone, Pryor, and Wilcox were thus successfully engaging the enemy on the right of our advance, Gen. Maxcy Gregg and his brigade were also hard at work, and successfully stormed the strong position of Ellyson's Mills, and took up the line of march on the left. They did not advance on the Mills by the road, as had been done on Fridayevening by Ripley, but simply made a feint in that direction, crossed the main body higher up the creek, took the redoubts and rifle pits en flank carried them with the bayonet, pushed through the camps, and followed the road towards Gaines's Mills, whither the enemy were retiring.
At Gaine's Mills.
From prisoners captured at both positions — who proved to be of the Valley Army — it was ascertained that we might expect stout resistance at Gaines's Mills, since three or four whole divisions were strongly encamped there, McClellan commanding in person, with Major Generals McCall, Porter, Sedgewick, and others — their estimated force being not less than thirty-odd thousand men. As our three columns moved by parallel lines, we followed and conversed with prisoners, who informed us that their loss on Friday at Meadow Bridge, Mechanicsville, and Ellsyson's Mills, had been fearful, and that the whole night had been occupied in burial. The Federals carry off all their dead and wounded, as fast as shot, and we only discover those who fall and are left at the actual moment of retreat. This [  inforformation ] we believe to be correct.
      The heads of our three columns having reached Waller Hogan's farm, north bank of the Chickahominy, about 9 miles northeast of Richmond, all came to a halt, and Gens. Lee and Longstreet took up quarters in the house and made dispositions for a further advance towards Gaines's Mills, distant about one mile through the woods. Featherstone's brigade having suffered much in the morning, Wilcox led, being followed by Pryor, and Featherstone in reserve. The composition of Wilcox's command is mostly Alabamans; Pryor has the 14th Louisiana, St. Paul's battalion, 3d Virginia, and one other regiment; Featherstone has the 19th and 12th Mississippi, and 2d Mississippi battalion.
Character of the ground.
Emerging from the woods, the road leads to the left and then to the right round Gaines's house, when the whole country, for the area of some two miles, is an open, unbroken succession of undulating hills. Standing at the north door of Gaines's house, the whole country to the fight, for the distance of one mile, is a gradual slope towards a creek, through which the main road runs up an open hill and then winds to the right. In front, to the left, are orchards and galleys, running gradually to a deep creek. Directly in front, for the distance of a mile, the ground is almost table land, suddenly dipping to the deep creek mentioned above, being faced by a timber-covered hill fronting all the table land. Beyond this timber-covered hill, the country is again open, and a perfect Plataean, a farm house and out houses occupying the centre, the main road mentioned winding to the right and through all the Federal camps. To the left and rear of the second mentioned farm, a road comes in upon the flat lands, joining the main road mentioned. Thus, to recapitulate, except the deep creek and timber-covered hill, beyond it, the whole country, as seen from the north door of Gaines's house, is unbroken, open, undulating, and table land, the right forming a descent to the wood- covered creek, the left being dips and gullies, with dense timber still farther to the left; the front being for the most part table land. These particulars of the position are as correct, perhaps, as can be mentioned; but without a map it will always be difficult to understand the topography of this hard fought and victorious field of Gaines's Mills.
But to the southeast of Gaines's house is a large tract of timber, commanding all advances upon the main road, and in this McClellan and McCall had posted a strong body of skirmishers, with artillery, to annoy our flank and rear when advancing on their camps on the high grounds, if we did so by the main road or over the table lands to the north.

Battle of Gaine's Mill (Battles & Leaders)


Storming entrenchments.
It now being 3 P. M., and the head of our column in view of the Federal camps, Gen. Pryor was sent forward with his brigade to drive away the heavy mass of skirmishers posted to our rear to annoy the advance. This being accomplished with great success, and with little loss to us, Pryor returned and awaited orders. Meanwhile the Federals, from their camps and several positions on the high grounds, swept the whole face of the country with their numerous artillery, which would have annihilated our entire force if not screened in the dips of the land and in gullies to our left. Advancing cautiously but rapidly in the skirt of woods and in the dips to the left, Wilcox and Pryor deployed their men into line of battle — Featherstone being in the rear — and suddenly appearing on the plateau facing the timber-covered hill, rushed down into the wide gully crossed it, clambered over all the felled timber, stormed the timber breastworks beyond it, and began the ascent of the hill, under a terrific fire of sharpshooters and an incessant discharge of grape and canister, from pieces posted on the brow of the hill, and from batteries in their camps to the right on the high flat lands. Such a position was never stormed before. In descending into the deep creek, the infantry and artillery fire that assailed the three brigades was the most terrific on record. Twenty-six pieces were thundering at them, and a perfect hailstorm of lead fell thick and fast around them. One of Wilcox's regiments wavered,--down the General rushed, furiously, sword in hand, and threatened to behead the first man that hesitated. Pryor steadily advanced, but slowly; and by the time that the three brigades had stormed the position, passed up the hill through timber, and over felled trees, Featherstone was far in advance. Quickly the Federals withdrew their pieces, and took up a fresh position to assail the three brigades advancing in perfect line of battle from the woods and upon the plateau. Officers had no horses, all were shot —
           Brigadiers marched on foot, sword in hand,--regiments were commanded by Captains, and companies by Sergeants, yet onward they rushed, with yells and colors flying, and backward, still backward fell the Federals, their men tumbling every moment in scores. But what a sight met the eyes of these three gallant brigades! In front stood Federal camps, stretching to the northeast for miles! Drawn up in line of battle were more than three full divisions, commanded by McCall, Porter, Sedgewick, &c.--banners darkened the air — artillery vomited forth incessant volleys of grape, canister and shell — heavy masses were moving on our left through the woods to flank us! Yet onward came Wilcox to the right, Pryor to the left, and Featherstone in the centre--one grand, matchless line of battle — almost consumed by exploits of the day — yet onward they advanced to the heart of the Federal position, and when the enemy had fairly succeeded in almost flanking us on the left, great commotion is heard in the woods!--volleys upon volleys are heard in rapid succession, which are recognized and cheered by our men--"It is Jackson!" they shout, "on their right and rear!" Yes, two or three brigades of Jackson's army have flanked the enemy, and are getting in the rear! Now, the fighting was bitter and terrific. Worked up to madness, Wilcox, Featherstone and Pryor dash forward at a run, and drive the enemy with irresistible fury — to our left emerge Hood's Texan brigade, Whiting's comes after, and Pender follows! The line is now complete, and "forward" rings from one end of the line to the other, and the Yankees, over 30,000 strong, begin to retreat! Wheeling their artillery from the front, the Federals turn part of it to break our left, and save their retreat. The very earth shakes at the roar! Not one piece of ours has yet opened! all has been done with bullet and bayonet, and onward press our troops through camps upon camps, capturing guns, stores, arms, clothing, &c. Yet, like bloodhounds on the trail, the six brigades sweep everything before them, presenting an unbroken, solid front, and closing in upon the enemy, keep up an incessant succession of volleys upon their confused masses, and unerringly slaughtering them by hundreds and thousands!
Lt. Gen. T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson
“Stonewall" at work.
But "where is Jackson?" ask all.--He has traveled fast, and is heading the retreating foe, and as night closes in, all is anxiety for intelligence from him. Tis now about 7 P. M., and just as the rout of the enemy is complete — just as the last volleys are sounding in the enemy's rear, the distant and rapid discharges of cannon tell that Jackson has fallen upon the retreating column, broken it, and captured 3,000 prisoners! Far in the night, his insatiable troops hang upon the enemy, and for miles upon miles are dead, wounded, prisoners, wagons, cannon, &c., scattered in inextricable confusion upon the road! Thus, for four hours, did our inferior force, unaided by a single piece of artillery, withstand over thirty thousand of the enemy, assisted by twenty-six pieces of artillery!
      In total, we captured many prisoners, and thirty [ peices ] of artillery up to 5 P. M.Friday, and in the battle of Gaines's Mills, captured 26 field-[ peices, ] 15,000 stand of arms, 6 stand of colors, three Generals, (Reynolds, Sanders and Rankin,) and over 4,000 prisoners, including dozens of officers of every grade — from Colonel to Lieutenants of the line.
The Federal force.
Every arm of the service was well represented in the Federal line — cavalry were there in force, and when our men emerged from the woods, attempted to charge, but the three brigades on the right, and Jackson's three brigades on the left, closed up ranks and poured such deadly volleys upon the horsemen, that they left the ground in confusion and entirely for their infantry to decide the day. McCall's, Porter's and Sedgewick's "crack" divisions melted away before our advance, however; and had the fight lasted one half hour longer, not one whole regiment would have survived it. McClellan, prisoners say, repeatedly was present, and directed movements, but when the three brigades to our left emerged from the woods, such confusion and havoc ensued, that he gave orders to retreat, slipped off his horse, and escaped as best he could. Some say that he was severely wounded, and many officers (prisoners) believe the report that he was on the field is undoubtedly true; for everything had been previously prepared for a grand fight at Gaines's Mills, McClellan even promising to capture our whole force, should we attempt to storm his camps. Results were different, and so the Fates reward the greatest Liar of his age!
Charges and repulses.
Much has been said of repeated "charges" made, and "repulses." Wild imaginations have concocted many such foolish reports. There was but one. "charge," and from the moment the word of command was given--"fix bayonets; forward!" our advance was never stopped despite the awful reception which met it. It is true that one or two regiments became confused in passing over the deep ditch, abattis, and timber earthwork,--it is also true that several slipped from the ranks and ran to the rear, but in many cases these were wounded men; but the total number of "stragglers" would not amount to more than one hundred. This is strictly true, and redounds to our immortal honor. These facts are true of Wilcox's, Pryor's, and Featherstone's brigades, who formed our right, and we are positive that from the composition of Whiting's, Hood's, and Pender's brigades, who flanked the enemy and formed our left, they never could be made to falter, for Whiting had the 11th 16th and 2nd Mississippi, and two other regiments, unknown to us — Hood had four Texan and one Georgia regiment, and the material of Pender's command was equally as good as any, and greatly distinguished itself. These were the troops mostly engaged and that suffered most. It is gross injustice in any to talk of our troops making "three charges,""repulses," &c., &c. Our troops received the command but once, and if Satan and all his host had confronted them, instead of mortal Yankees, the result would have been the same. There were no repulses — all arrangements worked like a charm; and we ought not only to do our soldiers justice, but heartily thank Providence for his guiding hand and assistance, in the immortal events of Thursday and Friday.
"Who took the batteries?"
It is always a difficult matter to ascertain with any degree of certainty who took this or that battery, for ever since the capture of Sherman's at Manassas the question of conquered batteries has always been a vexed one. The position of regiments changes so often in an engagement that one, perhaps, who did but little, by some lucky chance, finds itself before a feebly defended or deserted battery, and simply for the trouble of planting a flag thereon has honor conferred on it for doing nothing! There were not less than six batteries captured in the battles of "Gaines's Mill," yet not one of any of our regiments can lay positive claim to any single one piece, for all are contested property. Some of the 12th Mississippi claim the beautiful brass pieces so much admired, and officers say that when they arrived in front a young man named Cassidy jumped upon one of the horses, and wished to drive them off or turn them on the enemy, but was not allowed. The 5th Texas, after hard fighting, found itself before a battery and cleared it, but yet some other regiment claimed it. A Georgia regiment of Hood's brigade claims one, Wilcox's brigade claims another, and so it is — they all fight for them, yet none can lay positive individual claim to any! Yet all enjoy the joke and laugh right heartily over the dangers of capture, and chat around camp fires right merrily, never counting the danger, but only desiring new occasions to distinguish themselves.
       Money was found quite abundantly among the slain. Some men, in interring the dead, often searched the pockets, &c., one man finding not less than $150 in gold; another fished out of some old clothes not less than $500; another $1,000 in Federal notes-Watches, both gold and silver, were found among the spoils, one lucky individual having not less than six chronometers ticking in his pocket at one time. As a general thing, more money was found upon the dead on the field than on any other of which we have heard.
      Clothing in abundance was scattered about, and immense piles of new uniforms were found untouched. Our men seemed to take great delight in assuming Federal officers' uniforms, and strutted about seriocomically, much to the amusement of dusty powder begrimed youths, who sat lolling and smoking in the shade. Every conceivable article of clothing was found in these Divisional Camps, and came quite apropos to our needy soldiery, scores of whom took a cool bath, and changed old for new underclothing, many articles being of costly material and quite unique.
      The amount of ammunition found was considerable, and proved of very superior quality and manufacture. The exact amount captured we have not yet ascertained, but from the immense piles of boxes scattered through the camps, we conjecture that the enemy had laid in quite an unusual supply, expecting to use it, doubtless, upon our devoted men, and so they would, did our troops stand, as they do, at "long taw," and not come to "close quarters."
The cannon and arms captured in this battle were numerous and of very superior workmanship. The 26 pieces were the most beautiful we have ever seen, while immense piles of guns could be seen on every hand — many scarcely having the manufacturer's "finish" even tarnished. The enemy seemed quite willing to throw them away on the slightest pretext, dozens being found with loads still undischarged. The number of small arms captured, we understand, was not less than 15,000, of every calibre and every make.
       The Federal wounded were collected together, and formed a very large field hospital. The court-yard of a farm house was selected, and scores could be seen reclining on the grass, and expert surgeons operating with much skill and zeal. By mutual agreement surgeons are not considered prisoners of war, hence at the close of the late battle, many Federal surgeons remained behind, and their services seemed very much appreciated by the men. As many as could be were conveyed to town and attended to, good conveyance being furnished, and much care manifested for their welfare.
Maj. C.R. Wheat, 1st Special Bn. La. Vols.
The gallant dead--Col. Wheat,
Among the many heroic spirits who sacrificed their lives on the altar of our country in the dreadful, but glorious, struggle at "Gaines's Mills" on Friday, June 27th, we would particularly mention the name of the immortal Wheat, of Wheat's Battalion,--the master-spirit of that heroic band, who, from the dawn of our struggle until the present, he always been found in the van-guard battling manfully for our lives, liberties, and homes. At Manassas, the name of Wheat became historical in our annals, for as long as that victory shall remain known to fame, so long will the name of Robert Wheat be coupled with it. Despising petty intrigue, Col. Wheat desired nothing more than to secure his own beloved South, and to be in active service was his chief delight Joining Jackson in the Valley, and winning imperishable fame, this gallant man fought all through that arduous but all glorious campaign, and while leading the small remnant of his once numerous battalion to the charge, at Gaines's Mills, was mortally shot in the head. "Bury me on the field, boys, " said he, and placidly expired. May he rest in peace.
Results.
It is impossible to get correct returns of the killed and wounded. Our loss is probably not over 2,000, at the highest calculation. The Federal loss is estimated at 20,000, killed, wounded, and prisoners, if not more. The following items we have from Featherstone's brigade.
       The casualties in the 12th regiment Mississippi volunteers, Featherstone's brigade, Long street's division, commanded by Major W. H Lilly, are as follows. Major W. H. Lilly, wounded early in the morning's action, while leading the regiment in the first charge. In the morning engagement this regiment lost 12 killed, 68 wounded, and 9 missing. Number taken into the field, officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, 397. In the evening engagement, (Capt. S. B. Thomas commanding regiment,) the loss was 6 killed, 38 wounded, and 18 missing. Number of officers and prisoner taken into battle, 308. The regiment lost 153 killed, wounded, and missing, during the day, out of 397 men.
      The above is as near correct as it is possible to be certain, as several reported missing have been found killed, and others wounded.
      The 19th Mississippi volunteers lost 31 killed and 150 wounded, out of 521 that went into action in the morning.
       The 2d Mississippi battalion lost 106 killed and wounded, out of 234 taken into action in the morning.
       The following is a list of casualties in the Purcell Battery, in the battle of Thursdayevening last:
Killed--Lieut. Wm. A. Allen; Corporal Murphy, Privates Boyd and Stillman.
Wounded--Lieut. H. M. Fitzhugh; Serg't Crow, McGruder, Temple, Ball, Messier; Corporals Eddins, Beck; Privates Beckham, Cheatham, Thos. Berry, Donahoe, Geo. Dockerty, Davis, Daniel, Ege, Flemming, Finnell, Mott, Grigsby, Herring, Holland, Heart, Harrow, Geo. W. Johnston, E. P. Jones, W. T. Flint, James, Kimball, Mitchell, Mahoney, McLeod, Morton, O Brien, F. S. Price, Ritchie, Rose, Sacrey, T. H. Thompson, B. M. Temple, Partington, W. T. Smith, T. T. Yager.
       This list proves the desperate bravery exhibited by the command in the bloody strife.--We learn that Mr. Dawson, a young English man, who came over in the Nashville, volunteered for the engagement, and received a wound while acting most gallantly.
     The Crenshaw Battery, of this city, (attached to Gregg's brigade,) acted with distinguished gallantry in Friday's battle. The casualties are: Serg't S. Strother and Private Robt Hines, killed; Corporal Wm. B. Allen, Marion Knowles, Geo. Young, Benton Graves, Daniel Lancaster, Thos. Mallory, and Thomas Ryder, wounded. The company lost fully one third of their horses, and had three of their guns disabled. All the pieces were brought off the field, however, though, owing to a lack of horses, some had to be dragged away by hand
     Casualties in Co. E., 44th Ga. Regiment, engaged before Ellyson's Mills, Thursdayevening: Killed--Privates A. Bagwell, J. Lee, E. Davis, R. M. Dawson, J. H. Digby. Missing — W. J Reeves. M. P. Swinney. Wounded--Capt. J. W. Adams, slightly in arm; Lieut. J H. Connally, slightly in chest; Lieut. S. A Scott, slightly in shoulder and knee; Lieut Manly, in hand and knee; Corp'l A C Cald well, badly; Corp'l T. L. Hatcher; Corp'l Madden, slightly; Privates J. M. Davis, W. S. Brown, J. W. Perkins, slightly; E. G. Curbow, badly; Daniel Curbow, slightly; Wm Bagwell, J. A. Collins, Joseph Beall, Robert Norris, J. Norris, F. J. Weldon, Green Allison, W. S. Futral, N. T. Gibson, H. H. Gibson, Wm. Jester, T. T. Bishop.
Engagement at Coal Harbor.
In the fight on Friday, Johnson's Battery, of this city, occupied an exposed position on the Coal Harbor road, about one mile from Coal Harbor, and was subjected to a fire remarkable for its accuracy, which (as an eye witness informs us) the command encountered without flinching Capt. Johnson was conspicuous for his bravery throughout the period in which his battery was engaged, and our informant says that not an inch of ground would have been yielded while a man remained to serve the guns, had not Gen. Lee, observing the deadly effect of the enemy's fire, ordered them to withdraw from the contest. The casualties, both in men and horses, were heavy.
       Among the sad incidents of the battle may be mentioned the death of Lieut. W. Eugene Webster, of Maryland, chief executive officer of the Arsenal, who was acting as Aid to Gen. Rodes. He fell in the thickest of the fight, while gallantly cheering on a regiment His body was brought to the city on Saturday. Lieut. W. was a relative of Gen. Lee.
       We regret to learn that Major T. S. Skinner, 1st N. C., was killed in the engagement on Thursday evening, in the attack on the Federal entrenchments.
At Garnett's farm.
About eleven o'clock Saturday, Capt. Monday's battery opened fire upon the entrenchments of the enemy located just beyond Garnett's farm. The battery fired some ten or fifteen minutes, and meanwhile a body of infantry, consisting of the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments, moved up under cover of the fire from the field pieces. The 8th, in advance, charged across a ravine and up a hill, beyond which the Yankee entrenchments lay. They gained the first line of works and took possession of them, but, it is proper to state, this was unoccupied at the time by the Yankees. --The fire of the enemy was murderous, and as soon as our men reached the brow of the hill, rapid volleys of grape, canister, and musketry were poured into them. It was found almost impossible to proceed farther, but the attempt would have been made, had not orders been received to fall back, which was done in good order, still under fire.
       The loss in the 7th is reported at seventy-odd men killed, wounded, and missing. In the 8th, upwards of eighty. Col. Lamar, of the 8th, was severely wounded in the groin, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Lieut. Col. Towers was captured, but uninjured. The Yankees were completely hidden behind their works, and did not suffer much apparently. We took a captain, lieutenant, and some five or six privates, the Yankee picket force at the point. Later a flag of truce was granted to take away our dead and wounded, but a conference with Col. Lamar was refused. The Federal surgeons, however, did not think his wound a fatal one, and, therefore, would not allow him to be taken away.
Gen. Toombs's brigade.
On Friday General Toombs was ordered to "feel" the enemy entrenched to the East and front of Garnett's farm. After receiving written orders to advance, Gen. Toombs sent forward the 2d, 15th and 17th Georgia. The enemy had near three brigades in a skirt of woods behind an abattis of felled timber and brushwood. The Georgians advanced spiritedly upon the Yankees and drove them back, not, however, until they had fought desperately for the ground. Finding it unfavorable to flank our force, the Yankees withdrew and left us in possession of the field. It was maintained until orders were sent for Gen. Toombs to retire.
       Our total loss may be summed up as follows Killed 24; wounded 160, and 4 missing, up to the time the reports came in Col. McIntosh of the 15th, lost his leg, Capt. Birch was killed' Capt. Tilley dangerously wounded, and Lt. Edwards slightly wounded. This engagement was a spirited and creditable affair, General Toombs obeying strictly his written orders.
       Gen. Lee pushed his advance until 10 o'clock last night, (Saturday,) and at 11 was in occupancy of the York River Railroad, the enemy's principal line of communication. This in effect pierces the enemy's centre, and separates their forces on the northside of the Chickahominy from those on the southside. Brig. Gen. Riker is among the prisoners brought to the city yesterday morning.
Miscellaneous.
Among the wounded may be mentioned Maj. John M. Daniel, editor of the Richmond Examiner, and late of Gen. Floyd's staff, but now acting with Gen. Hill. His arm was shattered.
Capt. Wm. Randall, company K, 1st Louisiana, was not killed as at first reported. He received a severe wound in the right arm at the elbow joint.
Maj. Edward Savage, N. C. State troops, was among the wounded.
Among the well known citizens of Richmond who met soldiers deaths were Clarence War wick, son of Abram Warwick Bradfute Warwick, son of Corbin Warwick and Samuel D. Mitchell, son of the late Wm. Mitchell, jr They were all young men.
Col. J. G. Seymond, of the 6th Louisiana was killed Saturday.
Among the killed in the desperate fight of Friday afternoon, was Col. J. W. Allen of the 2d regiment Virginia volunteers. He was shot through the head and expired almost instantly. At the time he received the fatal shot, he was acting Brigadier-General of Jackson's celebrated "Stonewall Brigade." His body was brought to this city yesterday morning, and during the day deposited in Holly wood Cemetery. Maj. Frank B. Jones, of the same regiment, is thought to be mortally wounded, having lost a leg. His condition is at least, exceeding critical.
      Capt. Wood McDonald, son of Col. Angus W. McDonald, of Winchester, and aid to Gen. Elzey, was killed in the same engagement.
      Major P. J. Sinclair, of the 5th North Carolina regiment, received a painful wound in the thigh, and was brought to the city yesterday afternoon by Dr. Coffin, by whom his wound was dressed. He is now at the American Hotel.
      Private Charles Lucas, of the "Wise Artillery," from Martinsburg, was killed on Fridayafternoon. His brother, Serg't Benj. Lucas, of the same company, was seriously wounded.
In the engagement near "Fair Oaks," yesterday afternoon, Brigadier General Griffith had one of his legs broken, and apprehensions are felt that amputation may be necessary.
      A Federal Lieutenant, who was captured yesterday morning and brought to the head quarters of Gen. Lee, reports that two entire regiments had deserted during the morning.
The Confederate forces yesterday afternoon occupied the enemy's position at the White House, on the         Pamunkey, but all the stores of the enemy at that point were destroyed by them in their retreat.
An official Dispatch.
The following dispatch was received by President Davis at a late hour on Fridaynight. It relates to the operations of Friday
Headquarters, June 27, 1862
His Excellency, President Davis: 
Mr. President
--Profoundly grateful to Almighty God for the signal victory granted to us, it is my pleasing task to announce to you the success achieved by this army to-day.
The enemy was this morning driven from strong position behind Beaver Dam Creek, and pursued to that behind Powhite Creek, and finally after a severe contest of five hours entirely repulsed from the field.
Night put an end to the contest. I grieve to stand that our loss in officers and men is great.
We sleep on the field, and shall renew the contest in the morning.
I have the honor to be, very respectably,


(signed)R. E. Lee, General

Sunday, June 26, 2016

BIG NEWS FROM THE COPNFEDERACY -- Opening of the Seven Days Battles

[The Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 27, 1862]
Opening of the Great battle.
heavy engagement on the left of our lines.
Our city was startled, late yesterday evening, by reports of heavy ordnance, and by one consent it was universally announced that the Great Battle had at last opened, and that the greatest and most momentous conflict of the age was fully inaugurated. As far as we can ascertain, at a late hour of night it appears that our forces attacked the enemy with unparalleled fury at Mechanicsville, and the suddenness of the attack, the enemy were nonplussed and driven from three large re-depots in rapid succession, seizing the guns and turning them with terrific effect upon the foe.--This accomplished, our forces advanced and captured two lines of entrenchments and field, works, taking everything before them in gallant style. Co-operating
A typical Louisiana Confederate.
(Liljenquist Collection, Library of Congress)
with the movement on the supreme right and rear of the enemy, our Generals ssed the Chickahominy at two points, viz! by the Mechanicsville bridge and Meadow bridge, attacking the enemy with great dash and ardor, having in their outposts, and ascending the opposes hills, seized the batteries erected thereon, and fully commanding the future movements of our forces in crossing the stream. In doing this, the rapidity of movement was such that the enemy was unprepared, and lost a monster battery, which our troops to the right and left of River Railroad. This achievement in of incalculable value, and is equivalent to the saving of five thousand lives. Gen. Branch, we understand, led the advance down the Meadow Bridge road with a brigade of North Carolinians, crossing, were instantly reinforced by troops of Gen. Hill's division. The nu field works and batteries opposed to their advance were assailed by our men in the coolest most nonchalant style imaginable, and while having the heavy masses of Federal infantry before were ably seconded by our heavy guns, which, with terrific noise, threw large shells thick and fast upon the enemy's chosen positions and camps, thus preventing our first forces from being overpowered by the swarming hordes of McClellan's hirelings. While these brilliant movements were progressing in the neighborhood of Meadow Bridge, our troops beyond the Mechanicsville Bridge formed a junction with them, thus forming a perfect cordon with others operating from the village of Mechanicsville itself. Our line being perfect, a general advance took place, but the brave Confederates had not progressed far ere they were encountered by the Federals in great force, and a terrific fight ensued; but onward pressed our infantry and artillery, until at 9 P. M. when the heavy cannonading ceased, it was generally known that the enemy had been driven fully three miles, having experienced great loss in every shape, but particularly in artillery. Purcell's battery, we are informed, immortalized itself, and was the first corps that crossed Mechanicsville bridge, and opened fire on the enemy. At Mechanicsville, the heaviest fighting is said to have taken place on Watts's farm, but resulted magnificently to us. All the heights beyond the Chickahominy are in our possession, thus ensuring the safe and speedy transportation of troops and munitions to the other side.
        From the late hour at which we write, it is impossible to obtain particulars of the sanguinary engagement of yesterday, but the facts stated are substantially correct, while much more was effected by the forces engaged than the most sanguine could have expected or predicted. The enemy were totally routed whenever they made a stand — batteries, entrenchments, field- works, camps, and farms, were captured with great rapidity, and our loss is much less than could have been imagined. In all likelihood, the engagement to-day will prove a general one at all points, and let us reverently hope that the God of Battles will smile propitiously upon our efforts, and crown our forces with a complete and glorious triumph over malignant and relentless enemies.
The more we learn of the fight near the old battle ground of Seven Pines, on Tuesday, the greater are we satisfied that it was one of the most brilliant affairs of the war, redounding greatly to our honor, and worthy of fitting memory and commendation.
        From the best information, we learn that the 1st Louisiana and 3d Georgia had brought upon themselves the especial hatred of the Yankees, while on picket service near Barker's farm; for on one occasion last week these two regiments suddenly appeared before the affrighted enemy, (Sickles's Excelsior brigade,) and, without much ceremony, drove them from their picket posts, and chased them through adjacent camps, inflicting much loss. From deserters and others, it was ascertained that the officers of Sickles's brigade had offered $100 to any one bringing in any man of the two named regiments, whether dead or alive, and vowed eternal vengeance against them, determining to lay some snare to entrap them. At 8 A. M. Tuesday the pickets along the Williamsburg road, near the old battle ground, gave warning of the enemy's approach in force, and retired, as usual, to their supports.
      Believing an attack was imminent, Gen. Wright ordered up the 48th North Carolina (Col. Rutledge's) regiment, which moved up the road and took position to the left of it, in an open field, with dense woods on their left flank. The right of the road was occupied by the 1st Louisiana, and to their right were the 22d and 4th Georgia. The North Carolinians were in an exposed position, but maintained their ground without flinching, losing not less than 100 killed and wounded. The position of the 1st Louisiana was equally disadvantageous. --Before them was a thick chaparral, in which the enemy were strongly posted. Behind this, also, several brigades were drawn up, their flanks extending beyond, so that they kept up a continual fire upon the Louisianians, inflicting sad loss. Being ordered to charge, the 1st advanced nobly, with the "Butler! and New Orleans!" and at the first dash drove the enemy forth with great havoc.--But emerging into the open field behind, they were astonished to discover not less than three brigades opposing them, viz: Thomas Francis Meagher's Irish brigade, Sickles's Excelsior brigade, and another one, the name of which we could not ascertain. Bravely holding their ground, the Louisianians maintained the unequal contest with great dash and boldness, the enemy quailing and retiring before their steady and deadly fire. To their right, however, things were progressing favorably, where the 4th and 22d Georgia were holly engaged with the enemy, who, after some two hours hard fighting, slowly and reluctantly retired. Comparisons are odious, but it is admitted that the conduct of the 48th N. C., 1st La., and 4th Ga., was beyond all praise. The first of these regiments was perfectly fresh from home, and had never been under fire before; yet there they stood, in open field, waiting for the cowards to advance, and although Col. Rutledge reports a loss of 100 killed and wounded, his brave fellows never gave an inch of ground, but kept up a murderous fire upon the foe, who suffered so much that, although five to one, they did not dare to leave the woods. The Louisianians went into action with 300, and lost 144 killed and wounded. These figures are more than enough to demonstrate their conduct in the fight — for every second man fell! The 4th Georgia, it is said, acted like very devils, and fought and charged three regiments three several times!--and, more than this routed them, losing not less than 50 in killed and wounded. The 22d Georgia lost some ninety odd in killed and wounded, and behaved splendidly.
     Among the Yankee brigades engaged were Meagher's Irish Brigade, Sickles's "Excelsior Brigade," and another, unknown, some of their other regiments being the 15th and 19th Massachusetts, 2d New York, 20th Indiana, 9th New Jersey, &c., &c. Sickles's brigade had five regiments, Meagher's the same number. Our force engaged consisted of but four regiments. Being signally repulsed, the enemy withdrew under cover of their guns, but Capt. Huger's battery galloping forward engaged them in gallant style, driving them ignominiously from the field, with heavy loss. The enemy sent in a flag of truce yesterday to bury their dead, and admit a loss of 1,200 killed and wounded. Our casualties in killed, wounded and missing will not be more than one-third that loss. Among the casualties in the 1st Louisiana we may add the names of Lieut. Colonel Shivers wounded in the arm and rapidly recovering; Major Nelligan, Adjutant Cummings, and Sergeant Major Entzminger.
     Towards evening on the same day, the 25th of North Carolina were sent out on picket on the conquered ground, when the enemy endeavored to flank and cut them off. Several Federal regiments advanced stealthily for this purpose, but the North Carolinians met them with heavy vollies, held them in check, when the gallant fellows of the 4th Georgia opportunely arrived upon the ground, and attacking the enemy in flank, routed them with great slaughter, following them up for more than a mile in the woods, mercilessly butchering the Yankees at every turn.         The ground conquered by us on both occasions during the day was occupied by our troops, and, together with many trophies, they brought in sixty or seventy prisoners. The prisoners confess that a deep scheme had been planned by Sickles and Meagher for the destruction of the Louisianians and Georgians, but think the loss inflicted upon their forces was so severe, and the of our men so irresistible, that the Federals were only too happy in effecting their escape. The prisoners themselves were particularly joyed, and seemed to regard their capture as a great blessing.
     We would conclude by mentioning the heroic conduct of Private James Henderson, Company A, First Louisiana. This brave fellow had undergone the severe fiery ordeal with his regiment in the morning, and when it was ordered to fall back he voluntarily moved to the front to assist the wounded, as there were neither surgeon nor stretcher bearers with his regiment. Henderson brought off Col. Shivers from the field on his back, returned and recovered the same officer's sword and other equipments, and whenever finding a wounded man sufficiently strong to be removed, he carried him from the field on his back, despite the repeated vollies which the cowardly enemy fired upon him.--More than this — when the enemy had posted their pickets, this fine soldier stole through the grass upon his hands and knees, and actually stole our wounded men from under the enemy's guns! We always delight to record the deeds of privates, but can any words of our add to the honor of such a brave fellow as Henderson? There are, doubtless, many who did as well, in some capacity or other, but we regret that none will advise us of their names and deeds.
      In this connection we would add an incident regarding a faithful servant at the battle of Chickahominy. When Gen. Rhodes brigade had driven the enemy from their redoubts and had captured the guns, the General was wounded in the arm, but would not leave the field or make known his injury to the troops. Becoming weak, he espied an Arkansas negro, named Archie, manfully fighting behind his master, and ordered him to bring water from a distant well. Mounting a horse, Archie dashed off to the well under a shower of shot, and soon returned.          The regiment to which he was attached (12th Mississippi) was soon afterwards ordered to occupy one of the captured redoubts, and to hold it at all hazards. Some of the companies being in want of ammunition, Archie again volunteered his services, and under a murderous fire went fully one mile to the rear and returned to the redoubt loaded down with haversacks filled with cartridges! This noble deed was witnessed by the whole brigade, and was applauded with hearty cheers. Such deeds speak for themselves, and require no comment.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

'Free State of Jones' not free of historical inaccuracies, Southeastern professor asserts

     HAMMOND – The soon-to-be released movie “The Free State of Jones” is influenced more by the Hollywood-New York mindset and not on historical records, according to a Southeastern Louisiana University history professor.
     The movie tells the story of former Confederate soldier purportedly turned Union sympathizer Newton Knight – played by Matthew McConaughey – who led a band of followers, crossed the color line to marry a former slave, and spawned a community of like-minded individuals in Jones County, located in southeast Mississippi. The movie is based on a book by historian Victoria Bynum, explained Samuel C. Hyde Jr., a specialist in Deep South history and director of the university’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.
     “According to some, Knight heroically defied the Confederacy sustaining the cause of the Union in Mississippi, one of the most rebellious states, before courageously crossing the color line to marry a former slave,” said Hyde. “Thanks to a sympathetic New Orleans newspaperman and a 1935 biography written by Knight’s son, he was seen as a modern day Robin Hood, delivering the poor from oppression and facing down evil.”
     In 1943, journalist James Street of Jones County wrote the story “Tap Roots,” which was made into a film designed to glorify the Knight myth and serve as an antidote for “Gone with the Wind” style nostalgia, Hyde added.
     “It was not until 1951, when Newt’s own grandniece published ‘The Echo of the Black Horn,’ that the other interpretation of Knight became more widespread,” Hyde said. “In 1984 historian Rudy Leverett published a scholarly interpretation of the Jones County saga that proved similarly critical of Knight and company.”
     According to Hyde, the revised version of Knight revealed evidence indicating that he was a deserter, murderer, horse thief and bigamist.
     “He maintained simultaneous relationships with a white woman and a black woman, and there is compelling evidence that he fathered children with a daughter of his black wife from a previous marriage,” Hyde said.
     He said trying to define the real Newton Knight is both simple and complex.
     “He is both,” Hyde explained. “He did desert the Confederate army after he had willingly volunteered. He then defied Confederate authorities who sought to press him and some of his neighbors back into a starved existence of bare feet and ragged clothing which thousands of other Mississippians grimly endured and fought courageously despite appalling deprivation. It is also true that he murdered his opponents, defied racial mores and was a bigamist.”
     But were his actions for love of the Union, as the film suggests? Hyde is skeptical.
With the exception of a couple of reports focusing on the activities of deserters in the area, Hyde said, there is little evidence to dispute that Knight most likely would have resisted the Union with the same vigor if they sought to press him into service or seize his crops.
     He was certainly a man who took care of his own, Hyde said, and preferred to be left alone like thousands of other fiercely independent piney woods farmers across the rural South.
     “Whatever position you take on Newton Knight, if you want to know the true man and the Jones County story, study the historical record,” Hyde said. “In this case, don’t look for it in this film from Hollywood.”
- See more at: http://www.southeastern.edu/news_media/news_releases/2016/june/hyde_free_state_jones.html#sthash.gySgac9a.dpuf

CONFEDERATE NEWS -- June 23, 2016

Virginia Flaggers Help Keep the Spirit of Dixie alive!


The Virginia flaggers have been on the streets in front of the VMFA (The Virginia Museum of Fine Ahem... ) for over 5 years now.  Initially, their  goal was to restore some battle flags that were removed from the premises of the Confederate Memorial Chapel. In the process, they have also been able to save and restore history to honor our brave Confederate ancestors. It all started with the removal of the Confederate Battle flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel. . . .

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The Jefferson Davis statue and several other Confederate monuments were defaced in Mid-City Tuesday night. . . .

'Free State of Jones' movie inaccuracies

The soon-to-be-released movie “The Free State of Jones” is influenced more by the Hollywood-New York mindset and not on historical records, according to a Southeastern Louisiana University history professor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

BIG NEWS FROM THE CONFEDERACY -- June 21, 1862

Brig. Gen. Richard Taylor's Louisiana
Brigade played a major role in 

Jackson's Valley Campaign
of 1862.  (M.D. Jones Collection)
[Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 21, 1862]

The battle near Port Republic.
     It seems to be generally admitted that this battle must be designated as the battle of "Cross Keys"--The term, although derived from Yankee sources, seems to have been adopted by both parties. The subjoined account of the affair is from the Lynch burg Virginian, received from an officer who participated in the engagement:
    The battle ground is five miles from Port Republic. General Ewell's division fought this action, and chiefly by Brigadier-General Trimble's brigade on the right, who, by skillful selection of his position, and judicious maneuvers, with 1,705 men — defeated in four several charges two full brigades of the enemy, numbering over 6,000 men and two batteries of artillery; killing and wounding of the enemy over 2,000 and with a loss in his own brigade of over 124 killed and wounded.
     Perhaps no action during the war has exhibited such brilliant results, obtained by skill in maneuvering on the field, as well as hard fighting, Gen. Trimble's theory seems to be unexpected and sudden assaults upon the enemy, and desperate fighting only when a great point can be gained.
     No officer of the army has gained suddenly more distinction than Gen. Trimble has done by his quick perceptions and swift movements, showing the highest qualities to command.
     After the battle, Gen. Trimble, we understand, strongly counselled a night attack on Fremont's whole army, urging its complete success, but in view of the decision of Gen. Jackson to attack Gen. Shields next day, the night attack was not sanctioned.
     Events afterwards fully showed that this night attack would have demolished Fremont's whole army and captured all his artillery, as his army was broken down and demoralized to such a degree as to have made but little resistance.
     Prisoners of Fremont's army acknowledge 1,000 killed in this battle, and near 4,000 in killed, wounded and missing. Large numbers of his men availed themselves of the chances of a battle to desert.
      The famous Dutch Bucktalls, and Eighth New York Dutch regiment, Blenker's men, were entirely demolished in this action a just retribution for their excesses in the Valley, by insults, abuse, robbery, and destruction of property.
     After the defeat of Shields on Monday, Fremont retired rapidly down the Valley, no doubt fearing a pursuit, and did not stop until he reached Mount Jackson, where he has halted, as if to make a stand.
     Jackson's army is resting both men and horses, and taking care of the sick. What his next move will be no our known — something Western beyond the Ohio.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

BIG NEWS FROM THE CONFEDERACY -- June 19, 1862

A Wheat's Battalion Zouave (reenactor) from Company B,
Tiger Rifles, waving the flag of the Louisiana Republic.
(Photo by M.D. Jones)
[Richmond Daily Dispatch]

Wheat's battalion.

This battalion, which came from Louisiana early in the war 500 strong has been reduced by various causes to about 150 effective men. Being active participants in Jackson's campaign in the Valley, they have marched 200 miles within a short period, and fought in nine different engagements. On Monday, the 9th inst., near Port Republic, they were in the glorious bayonet charge which resulted in the capture of the Yankee battery. In this charge Major Wheat's horse was shot through the head within twenty yards of the guns, after which he led his command on foot, and was the first field officer who reached the coveted prize. Of eight officers who went into the fight, five were badly wounded--Lieuts. Coyle, Cockroft, McCarthy, Ripley, and Adjutant Bruce Putnam--and thirty casualties occurred among the ninety-five men carried into action. The officers and men of Major Wheat's battalion think that his gallantry in this and many other battles entitles him to promotion. He has sacrificed much and suffered much in the cause of his country, and has been frequently congratulated by General Officers on his prospect of advancement, but has never received it from the Government; yet his zeal has shown no abatement, nor has his courage ever faltered when there was work to be done.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BIG NEWS FROM THE CONFEDERACY - June 14, 1862

[The Richmond Daily Dispatch]
Jackson's marches.
Stonewall Jackson's "foot cavalry" were on epic marches in May-June 1862.
Bonaparte, in his first campaign in Italy, wrote to the Directory that his troops had outdone the Roman legions. The latter, he said, marched eight leagues (twenty-four miles) a day, whereas the French marched ten, and fought a battle every day. The French are proverbially rapid marchers; but the great exploits alluded to by Napoleon in this letter extended only over a space of one week, during the time of Wurmser's first invasion, when the battle of Castiglione was fought. The General-in-Chief himself, during that time, never took off his clothes, or slept in a bed, and sometimes kept on horseback for twenty-four hours, changing only from one horse to another. At other periods the French enjoyed comparative repose, while engaged in blockading Mantna.
       For rapid marching, continued steadily through a long period of time, it may be doubted whether any troops — even those of Bonaparte in Italy — ever surpassed the troops of Jackson. For a whole mouth they are said to have made twenty-five miles a day; and when we look at the ground they passed over, we are induced to believe the distance not overstated. He has discarded all suspicious baggage, has few wagons and no tents, and makes his men move with no knapsacks on their backs. They carry nothing but a haversack, in which they thrust their rations, to supersede the necessity of stopping to eat when it is not convenient. Only one blanket is allowed, and this the men tie around their shoulders. Everything is brought down to the condition which allows of most speed, and is subject to least stoppage. The men who make these prodigious marches are the healthiest in the whole service. They complained at first, and were weary and foot sore, but they soon got over it, and grew every day more and more capable of enduring fatigue, until now they can bear as much as the deer that used to feed on the mountains around them. Stone. wall has moulded them into the very form for great exploits, and great exploits we are confident they will perform. Already they see that victory seems chained to his standard.--Already his name begins to exercise over them that magical influence which is the best omen of success. They think him invincible, and they will do their best to make him so.