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Serving at this time as his volunteer aide-de-camp, I was following him, when he directed me to remain with the other regiments, saying that he would send me orders for their movement. As these two regiments, with him, moved out of cover, a few puffs of smoke and sharp rifle cracks from the oat-field in front, proved that the enemy were not only concealed there, but wide awake to our movements; we had thrown out a line of skirmishers, from the 19th regiment, to feel them.
Nothing as yet had been heard from Gen. Jackson's column, although we knew he was somewhere on our left; the general order being that we were to attack in front, upon hearing his musketry open upon the enemy. We had not long to wait. Longstreet's Adjutant-Gen. In the absence of Gen. Pickett from this part of the field and being temporarily charged by him to await his orders, I rode up to Gen. Longstreet, and received the order from him in per.
The 19th regi. In this order we charged, at a double-quick, over this terrible piece of ground, Gen. Pickett with the other two regiments moving down at the same time; from the extreme right the five regiments were again united in the centre of the field, and pressed the charge in full line of battle, brigade front; in a few minutes, the skirmish line of the enemy was driven in, or literally run over.
The fire from the enemy's batteries and small arms was now terrific. I have never seen such a storm of projectiles of every description, and at short range, concentrated upon so narrow a field of battle. The effect upon our ranks was terrific, but the brave old brigade pushed on. The men fell around us like leaves in autumn. The officers were being fast thinned out. Withers, leading his regiment, was soon shot down, and supposed mortally wounded.
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Slaughter, commanding the 56th, was wounded as badly. Neither of these gallant officers was ever again fit for service in the field. Many others doing as valiant devoir on this bloody ground were, according to the inscrutable Providence of battles, preserved entirely, or else slightly wounded.
It is difficult to comprehend how any could have come out of such a fire unhurt. It was almost impossible to see or hear anything distinctly, such was the continual rush of the shot and shell. Pickett was within ten paces of me when he was shot from his horse. I did not perceive his fall until he said.
I immediately dismounted, examined his wound, and found the hole of a mini6 ball in his shoulder. This scarcely occupied a moment, when we pressed on with the brigade, leading our horses. Just before reaching the deep ravine I have mentioned, the men came to a momentary check, caused by the excessive fire upon their shattered ranks; but only for a moment.
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A supporting brigade R. Anderson's South Carolina came up at this decisive moment, and the two brigades rushed together into the ravine, and charged up the cliff lined with its batteries and infantry. Never on any battle-field was witnessed a more gallant action.
Officers of high grade, the then Secretary of War, Gen. Randolph, and many others who looked upon the scene from the surrounding heights, say that they never saw so glorious a sight. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson's guns had been thundering on the right of the enemy, on the Cold Harbor road; and he was pressing hard down on the flank of this position. Taken thus so fiercely in front and flank, the brave little McClellan was forced from his cherished stronghold and driven into the flats of Chickahominy Swamp. This important action rather settled the question of his holding position upon this line.
With his military engineering foresight, however, he had already corduroyed and trestle-bridged the otherwise impassable bogs and delectable low grounds of that swampy stream, and thus was enabled to slip out of this dilemma under cover of the darkness. I do know this much, however, that after this very handsome whipping at Gaine's Mill, he was off before morning, and Gen. Lee, with his whole force, including the remnant of Pickett's Brigade, was in hot pursuit of him.
He might have been only "changing his base" from the Chickahominy to James river, for aught I know. This fight at Gaine's Mill, at least, was altogether decisive of the change of base from the Chickahominy; and although of short duration, was, for the importance of its success and the heavy fighting done there, the best up to that period of the war. The loss was heavy on both sides, and nothing but the extreme valor of the Confederate troops engaged, could have won it. Pickett's severe wound rendering it necessary that he should leave the field for some time, the command of the brigade devolved upon Col.
Eppa Hunton. CoL Hunton, although suffering from ill health, continued in command of the brigade in the battle of Frazer's Farm, June 30th, where it was again engaged with great distinction and considerable loss; at the battle of Malvern Hills, where with the rest of Longstreet's Division it was held in reserve; at the second battle of Man.
This series of fights reduced the old brigade to a mere handful of men and officers. Stuart Symington, A. Pickett, had his horse killed under him. These officers received favorable notice for their gallantry, in the official reports of these several actions. At the battle of Sharpsburg, sometimes called " Antietam," Col. Strange, commanding the 19th Virginia, a gallant and esteemed'officer, was killed. Soon after the battle of Sharpsburg, Gen. Pickett reassumed the command of his brigade; but upon his promotion to the grade of Major-General, and a division formed for him, the command of the brigade was assigned to Brig.
Richard B. GarnettL From this point the history of the brigade becomes merged in the general record of Pickett's Division.
This was the only brigade from which any official report was received of the battle of Gettysburg. Such was the terrible casualty among the officers, that Major Charles S.
Pickett and His Men
Peyton, of the 19th Virginia, became the commander of the brigade and made this report. Major Peyton, although deprived of an arm- by -a wound received on a former fiele of battle, went into this fight, and was again slightly wounded, but not sufficiently to prevent him a few days after from taking command, as ranking officer left from the brigade. He was the son of Gen. Walker K. John A. Stanley of N. He was entered as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, but on account of some youthful escapade I have been told, the partial cracking of Jubal A. Early's head with a mess-hall plate , he was retired from that Institution before graduation.
He was appointed Second Lieut. Zachary Taylor, who afterwards became the distinguished Mexican hero, and President of the United States. He served during the latter part of the Florida war, under his father, Gen. Armistead, and was promoted First Lieut. He joined Gen. Scott, in Mexico, at the siege of Vera Cruz, was breveted Captain for gal. These brevets were conferred by President Polk.
March 3, , he was commissioned Captain in the 6th Infantry by President Pierce. Early in , he resigned his commission in the United States Army, and in company with Gen.
Albert Sidney Johnson and other officers of that army, who had also resigned, crossed the plains, and offered his services to the State of Virginia. He was soon commissioned Colonel and given command of the 57th Regiment of Virginia Infantry. In April, , he was commissioned by President Jeff. Davis Bricg. This brigade was composed of the 57th, 53d, and 14th Virginia Regiments and 3d Georgia Regiment; subsequently the 3d Georgia was exchanged for the 38th Virginia, and the 9th Virginia added to the brigade.
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