The Seven Days Battles were a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia.
As the battle roared towards its climax, Lee’s spirits rose. Sending officers to all his division commanders, he said, “Tell them this affair must hang in suspense no longer; sweep the field with the bayonet!’
General John B. Hood, leading the Texas brigade, came up on his horse and saluted. Briefly Lee told him what had happened – how the troops on the front were fighting gallantly but had not been able to dislodge the enemy. “This must be done,” he said quietly. “Can you break his line?”
“I will try,” answered Hood, stoutly enough.
Louder and louder the battle roared through a half hour of uncertainty. Then came a strange, shrill, sustained cry, as if thousands of men were calling on the dogs in a fox hunt. It was the ‘rebel yell.’
It was a drama that gave Hood’s Texans a place in Lee’s heart no other command ever won. Law’s brigade was on the right, next Pickett, who held Longstreet’s left. Hood was on the left of Law. As they went forward, Hood saw an open field and he quickly moved the 4th Texas across Law’s rear and into this gap. The movement was flawless; the whole division swept onward, the 4th Texas ahead of the others. The fire grew faster. So did the pace of the men. They were passing through Hill’s ranks; they were passing down the grade to the swamp. A thousand had fallen now but scarcely a musket had been fired from the attacking division. The men were within twenty yards of the Federal front line – within ten – and then, suddenly, as if the same fear had seized every heart, the Federals were leaving their works, were running, were throwing their arms away. The Texans crashed in pursuit; and then, as the bluecoats spread in a confused mass, the Confederates loosed their volley where every bullet reached its mark.
The Texans had broken through the swamp.