Gregg's Report - The Seven DaysLast updated June 18th, 2007 by Jenny
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Seven Days Battle Report: Gregg's Brigade
No. 332. -- Report of Brig. Gen. Maxcy Gregg, C. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of the battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill.
HEADQUARTERS LIGHT DIVISION, Camp Gregg, Va., March 11, 1863.
GENERAL: I send you the report of' General Gregg of the battle of Cold Harbor and Colonel McGowan's report of the battle of Frazier's farm. This report of Cold Harbor is the only one that could be found among General Gregg's papers. Please put them with my report.
Respectfully, A. P. HILL, Major-General.
Brig. Gen. R. H. CHILTON, Adjutant and Inspector General.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
Camp on South Anna River, near Gordonsville, Va., Aug. 6, 1862.
MAJOR: My report concerning the battles before Richmond has been delayed, first, by the delay in the reports made to me by subordinate commanders, caused by the wounds or sickness under which all of them suffered, and next by movements of the brigade and duties in the field.
After night-fall, on June 25 last, four regiments of the Second Brigade, accompanied by Crenshaw's battery, followed from the position on the extreme right of the division the march of the other brigades to the left and halted to bivouac on the Meadow Bridge road. The Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under Colonel McGowan, was left on picket duty on the edge of the Chickahominy Valley, in front of the position vacated by the brigade, to be relieved by troops of another division the same night and to follow the march. By some mischance, however, it was not relieved at all, and had to remain in place the next day and night and until the middle of the following day, when the retreat of the enemy down the opposite side of the river enabled it to cross over and rejoin the brigade in the midst of the battle of Cold Harbor.
When the Light Division, in the afternoon of June 26, crossed the Meadow Bridge and attacked the enemy at Mechanicsville the Second Brigade, still marching in rear of the division, did not become actively engaged, but was deployed in reserve. It was exposed for some hours to a fire of shot and shell, from which, however, the lines were much sheltered by taking advantage of inequalities in the ground and causing the men to lie down. Only 4 men were wounded.
At one time an erroneous report was brought to me that the enemy were appearing to our left and rear. A detachment from Colonel Marshall's regiment, thrown out as skirmishers, quickly detected the error.
During the action I sent forward my aide-de-camp, Lieut. Langdon C. Haskell, to learn whether re-enforcements were needed from my brigade; but as he did not meet Major-General Hill, and did not find the state of the battle such as to require my moving forward without waiting for orders, I remained in position. The brigade lay on its arms that night.
Early in the morning of the 27th I received orders from General Hill to take the advance with the Second Brigade and to drive the enemy from their position on Beaver Dam Creek, at Ellison's Mill. Forming the First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Col. D. H. Hamilton commanding, and the Twelfth, Colonel Barnes, in line of battle, with two companies of skirmishers--Captain Cordero's, of the First, and Captain Miller's, of the Twelfth--thrown forward, while the Thirteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Col. O. E. Edwards, and the First Regiment (Rifles) South Carolina Volunteers, Col. J. Foster Marshall, followed in support, Crenshaw's battery being in rear. The brigade advanced to the attack. Slight resistance was made here by the enemy, and the passage of the stream, which presented a strong natural obstacle, was gained. Many Confederate soldiers, wounded or killed in a preceding unsuccessful assault, lay in the road toward the crossing of the creek and had to be moved aside to allow the passage of our artillery. A small bridge, broken up by the enemy, had also to be repaired. This was toward 8 o'clock in the morning.
Crossing Beaver Dam Creek the brigade advanced along the road among piles of knapsacks and other property and burning stores abandoned by the enemy, with skirmishers from the First and Twelfth Regiments kept out to the front and left. Coming into the edge of an open field Captain Cordero's company, First South Carolina Volunteers, deployed as skirmishers, were fired on by artillery in front, and Second Lieut. H. C. Heise and a soldier were wounded. Capt. W. T. Haskell's company, of the same regiment, advancing in open order, discovered that the forces meeting us in front from the left were those of Major-General Jackson's, and entered into communication with them, so as to avoid the risk of further mischief.
In the mean time two companies of the Twelfth Regiment (Miller's and Neville's), sent out under Lieut. Col. Cadwalader Jones to meet some of the enemy seen on the left, took and brought in some 17 prisoners, belonging chiefly to regiments of Pennsylvania Reserves.
At the intersection of the roads near Walnut Grove Church, where Major-General Hill stopped to confer with Major-General Jackson, I received General Hill's further instructions, and resumed the advance on the road running near the Chickahominy to Gaines' Mill, approaching the vicinity of Hogan's house, where General Lee stopped me by the road-side and gave me further directions for advancing and attacking the enemy. I moved the brigade forward in nearly the same order as at first, the First and Twelfth Regiments leading, with skirmishers in front. In compliance with a request sent to me by Major-General Longstreet, I rode hastily across to Hogan's house, where I informed General Longstreet of the route by which my brigade was moving forward, and learned from him [of] the parallel road on my right, by which his troops were to move. In approaching Powhite Creek we passed over extensive deserted camps of the enemy, with great quantities of accouterments and stores abandoned or burning. A large pontoon train was burning in a field to our left.
The enemy made some stand at Gaines' Mill, and here our skirmishers, Cordero's and Haskell's companies of the First and Miller's of the Twelfth, became sharply engaged. The enemy were sheltered by trees; our riflemen availed themselves of the inequalities of the ground, where they could fire and load lying down. This exchange of fire having continued for some short time, while the First and Twelfth were preparing to advance in line, and judging that a rapid charge of the skirmishers would dislodge the enemy with least loss to our troops, I ordered them forward at the double-quick. At the word of command the riflemen sprang to their feet, and advancing impetuously drove the enemy before them. The First and Twelfth now followed in line of battle, and after the bridges over the creek and mill-race, torn up by the enemy, had been relaid by a working party, under directions of Lieutenants Johnston and Izard of the Engineer Corps, crossed the stream and again formed line of battle on the brow of the hill, to advance, supported as before by the other two regiments. It was now nearly 2 p.m.
The advance across the plain which extends from the valley of the Powhite Creek to that beyond Cold Harbor was made steadily and rapidly under the fire of the enemy's skirmishers. For a good part of the distance the line advanced at the double-quick. Among the troops driven from the ground the Ninth Massachusetts Regiment was noticed. Descending into the hollow beyond Cold Harbor, the sides of which are wooded and the bottom occupied by a marsh somewhat difficult to cross, the brigade dislodged the enemy and was formed in two lines, the first consisting of the First and Twelfth Regiments, on the farther hill-side, the second, consisting of the First Rifles and Thirteenth, in the low grounds behind. Captain Crenshaw's guns were placed in battery near the brow of the hill on the Cold Harbor side, from which he commenced firing on the enemy across the valley, who replied from batteries on the hill in our front. In this position, with the fire of artillery passing overhead, the infantry remained at a halt, by General Hill's orders, from about 2.30 o'clock until 4 o'clock, to await the formation of the line of battle on our right and left, preparatory to a general attack.
When General Hill sent the order to make the attack I directed the First and Twelfth Regiments to advance up the hill-side. The ground, especially in front of the First, was covered by a dense thicket of young pines. As our troops ascended toward the open ground they were met by a continuous fire of small-arms from a much superior number of troops, and at the same time were exposed to a heavy fire of artillery, both direct and oblique. The fire was so destructive that they could not advance farther. Finding that great damage was done by an enfilading fire from a battery established a good way to our right, I directed Colonel Marshall, with his regiment, to charge and take it. Throwing forward two companies in open order, supported by two others, as reserves, in close order, and following with the rest of the regiment formed in column in companies, Colonel Marshall, addressing a few brief and stirring words to his regiment, proceeded upon the execution of this highly perilous service in the handsomest manner. The two flank companies of Capts. James M. Perrin and Joseph J. Norton were thrown forward as skirmishers, under the command of Captain Perrin. The companies of Captains Miller and Miles M. Norton followed in support. The four leading companies were all under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ledbetter. The charge was made at the double quick, the column of six companies being deployed into line after reaching the open ground. A most destructive fire of musketry and artillery in front and in flank did not check the charge, which was continued for several hundred yards across the open ground and into a wood where several regiments of the enemy were posted. The battery, which was the object of the charge, had been withdrawn. The regiment, on reaching the woods, commenced firing on the enemy's infantry and drove them on, many of the men engaging in hand-to-hand conflicts with the bayonet and with clubbed rifles. A strong body of New York Zouaves now made a hot attack on the left wing and flank of the regiment. They were repulsed and brought to a stand by a steady and well-directed fire from a party which, on the spur of the moment and with marked presence of mind and skill, Lieutenant Higgins formed to check them. Colonel Marshall, finding that no support was sent to him from the rest of the brigade, now, too, hard pressed on its own front, ordered his regiment to tall back, and re formed it in the wooded hollow some distance to the right of its original position, where aNorth Carolina regiment, which just then came up, and aided in holding the ground.
Of 537 men carried into action Colonel Marshall's regiment lost 81 killed and 234 wounded. Nearly all of this loss occurred in the charge just described.
I refer to Colonel Marshall's report for the names of the many gallant officers mentioned by him, both those who fell on the field and those who passed safe through.
I have to remark that in the two leading companies deployed in open order the loss was not so heavy in proportion as in the other companies. I have no doubt that by drawing the fire of the enemy those companies rendered the loss in the whole regiment less than it otherwise would have been.
While the First Rifles were thus engaged the First and Twelfth Regiments, although relieved from the enfilading fire of the battery on the right, had a hard struggle to maintain their ground against the superior forces in their front. The Twelfth was able at one time to gain some distance in advance in the open field, but Colonel Barnes found it necessary to withdraw and reform his line on or near his original ground in the hollow. Two of the companies of this regiment at first--McMeekin's and Erwin's, afterward relieved by Bookter's and Company G, Lieutenant Garvin commanding--had during the halt in the hollow been deployed as skirmishers in advance to watch the enemy. The two last named only resumed their places in line after the return to the hollow, and at this time, in consequence of the difficulty of the ground, the right of the Twelfth got in rear of the left of the First, and there was much danger in such a thicket of the first suffering from the fire of that portion of the Twelfth behind it, until Colonel Hamilton interposed and prevented it. The Twelfth advanced again abreast with the First, and the two regiments fought bravely to maintain the ground, but suffered great loss, and were compelled to fall back with some disorder.
It the First Regiment all the members of the color guard were shot down around Colonel Hamilton, who for a part of the time bore the colors himself.
Colonel Barnes, of the Twelfth, received a hurt, which, although he did not leave the field, in a great measure disabled him for the rest of the day.
The nature of the ground rendered it impracticable to preserve or re-establish regularity in the first line. I, therefore,ordered Colonel Edwards to hold the Thirteenth ready to receive the enemy with a steady fire at short range if they should descend the hill-side through the pine thicket. The Twelfth, not being at the time so heavily pressed as the First, I left to continue the struggle. The First I ordered to reform at some distance in rear of the Thirteenth, retiring around the left of that regiment. The Fourteenth Regiment, Colonel McGowan's, now arrived on the field at the moment it was so greatly needed.
By General Lee's order I had sent my aide-de-camp, Capt. Harry Hammond, across the valley of the Chickahominy to relieve this regiment from duty on the post so long occupied by it and to guide it to the brigade. Captain Hammond met at the river Captains Wood and Taggart, sent forward with their companies by Colonel McGowan to endeavor to communicate with me. The bridge at which they met was one constructed by the enemy opposite Dr. Friend's house, and torn up and burned by the enemy the night before. Leaving his horse at the river, Captain Hammond got across on foot and carried the order to Colonel McGowan, who at once led his regiment across the valley, and hastily repairing the bridge, marched on for the battlefield under a constant fire from one of the enemy's batteries.
Stopping the fire of Crenshaw's battery for a short time to allow a passage through the guns, I ordered the Fourteenth forward. Tired as they were, by two days and nights of outpost duty and by a rapid march under a burning sun, they recovered strength at once and advanced with a cheer and at the double-quick. Leading his regiment to the right of the Thirteenth and across the hollow, Colonel McGowan arrived just in time to repulse the advancing enemy and prevent them from establishing a battery at the edge of the open ground on the brow of the hill. The Fourteenth was formed along a fence up the hill, on the other side of the hollow, and maintained its position gallantly to the end of the battle. After it had held it some time alone other troops came up, and in concert with a North Carolina and Georgia regiment the Fourteenth made a charge across the open field for the purpose of taking a battery. In this charge Colonel McGowan was bruised by a grape-shot and for a short time disabled. The distance to the battery being too great, and the fire both direct and cross too heavy, our troops halted and lay down to shelter themselves, then retired, and the Fourteenth resumed its position near the brow of the hill, where after the close of the battle it lay on its arms.
Meanwhile Colonel Edwards held his position with the Thirteenth. The enemy did not venture to charge directly down the hill upon his position, but kept up a constant fire, which caused considerable loss. Colonel Edwards threw forward his right company, deployed as skirmishers, to dislodge the enemy from the pines in front and on the right, and then ordered the rest of the regiment to take a position a little in advance at the foot of the hill beyond the boggy stream. From the difficulty of crossing the bog and the incessant roar of cannon and musketry, his commands not being well heard, a separation of the regiment took place. A part of the left wing effected the movement intended by Colonel Edwards, and maintained the new position until the close of the battle. The right and center companies, supposing the order to be to move in a different direction, marched, under Maj. T. S. Farrow, a short distance to the rear. Desiring to form a reserve of this force and the First Regiment for further movements, I directed Major Farrow to march farther to the right and rear, and form near Colonel Hamilton. Two companies of the First, those of Capts. W. T. Haskell and A. P. Butler, not having heard the order to retire, remained engaged in the front, and on the advance of the other troops acted in concert with those nearest to them to the end of the battle. Before I made any other disposition the portions of the First and Thirteenth, under Colonel Hamilton and Major Farrow, were ordered by Major General Hill to take a position considerably to the right of my brigade, in support of the brigades of Generals Anderson and Field. At the close of the battle, being united with the First Rifles, the whole under the command of Colonel Hamilton, they bivouacked on their ground.
In the progress of the battle, after the wound received by Colonel Barnes, the Twelfth Regiment having suffered heavy loss and being in difficult grounds, became somewhat separated, but portions of the regiment, falling in with other commands, continued the fight to the end. Captain Bookter's company thus joined and fought in company with Col. James Cantey's regiment from Alabama.
The part taken in the action by Captain Crenshaw's battery was important at the beginning, but became more so after the infantry had become so severely engaged and after two regiments and the greater part of the third had been moved to the right, leaving the original position of the brigade to be held by a comparatively small force of infantry. The fire of the battery was well aimed and rapid, and its position under an exceedingly heavy fire from the enemy was maintained with the greatest gallantry. At one time very heavy bodies of infantry were to be seen in the open fields beyond the ravine and to our right, drawn up in many lines, and apparently preparing for a formidable advance. Captain Crenshaw's guns directed upon these masses caused them quickly to disappear, sheltering themselves in the long hollow which ran through the fields and rendered the enemy's position so strong. At a late hour a large body of troops was to be seen beyond a house in front and on our left. This was the point at which we thought it probable that General Jackson's troops would emerge from the woods and attack the enemy in flank. But upon watching the body of troops before us for a short time I became satisfied that they belonged to the enemy, and threatened a dangerous assault on our left, where it was weak. I therefore ordered Captain Crenshaw to fire upon them. Very soon a staff officer of Major General Ewell came up to insist on stopping this fire, as General Ewell believed the troops before us were friends. I caused the fire to be suspended for a few moments, but being fully satisfied by further observation that my first conclusion was right, I directed Captain Crenshaw to resume the fire, which he did with good aim, dispersing the enemy quickly. General Ewell was afterward fully satisfied with the correctness of this course. At one time during the action, and before firing on the troops just mentioned, Captain Crenshaw, with my approval, withdrew the battery some distance to the rear to rest for three-quarters of an hour. For a part of the time during the action two or three batteries were firing on him at once. At last, two of the brass pieces having been disabled by the breaking of axles and the other two having become too hot to fire and many men and horses killed or disabled, I directed Captain Crenshaw to withdraw his battery from the field, which he did by removing the two disabled pieces by hand and using three horses with most of the other four pieces.
Captain Crenshaw was immediately replaced by Capt. Marmaduke Johnson, whom General Lee ordered forward on my application for another battery. Captain Johnson, who had already at an early hour in the morning at Mechanicsville proved the efficiency of his battery by silencing the artillery of the enemy opposed to him, entered on this second conflict with great vigor. Three batteries opened upon him, and he was exposed to an incessant shower of rifle balls. He silenced one of the enemy's batteries by the use of round shot and kept up the contest hotly with the others. In a short time, I think about twenty minutes, 20 of his men and 10 horses were killed or wounded and his battery was disabled under this severe fire; his men stood to their guns like veterans till I ordered the battery to be withdrawn, in order to replace it by a section of that of Captain Mcintosh, sent forward by General Lee at my request.
Captain Mcintosh had hardly taken his position when his horse was killed under him. Like Captain Johnson, Captain Mcintosh had already proved the efficiency of his battery at Mechanicsville, having opened the fight and been hotly engaged the evening before, and having resumed it in the morning until all his ammunition was expended and he was obliged to go back for a further supply.
When Captain Mcintosh took his position he found the view of the enemy's position too much obstructed by smoke and dust to allow him to aim at any object. He fired two or three rounds, but no artillery replied to him. He then, by my direction, withdrew his guns some distance to the rear, to remain in readiness for further orders.
It was now toward sunset, and from this time until 8.30 o'clock, when the enemy were driven from the field under the repeated attacks of large bodies of fresh troops, the regiments of my brigade were engaged at different points, as I have stated above.
CAMP GREGG, VA., March 10, 1863.
I, A. C. Haskell, certify on honor that the original, of which the foregoing is a copy, was found among General Gregg's papers. I am well acquainted with General Gregg's handwriting, and I know the said report to be in his proper handwriting. No further report of the operations around Richmond can be found among General Gregg's papers.
A. C. HASKELL,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
Laurel Hill, Va., July 18, 1862.
GENERAL: I learn from Colonel Hamilton, commanding First South Carolina Volunteers, that, in an interview with yourself and the Secretary of War the other day, the name of Major McCrady, of the same regiment, having been somewhat accidentally incidentally] mentioned, Colonel Hamilton expressed the opinion that Major McCrady had not behaved properly, saying he had served on my staff on June 27, but could not find his regiment until it was driven back, and that now he had gone home on sick leave; upon which you remarked that Colonel Hamilton had better have him ordered back, and that you would issue such order if Colonel Hamilton desired it, and that if he should not report you would have a letter of another kind addressed to him, which would compel him to resign, to which the Secretary of War assented.
I differ entirely with Colonel Hamilton in the view which he takes of Major McCrady's conduct, and I beg leave to interpose to prevent any hasty action from being taken against Major McCrady without giving him a fair hearing.
When my brigade was put in march, at the commencement of the late operations, Major McCrady was sick in Richmond. He left a sick bed and overtook me on the battle-field at Cold Harbor, looking extremely feeble and ill. He said to me that he thought he might be able to accompany me and perform some staff duty, although not strong enough to accompany his regiment. This might well be, as I had required the field officers to dismount a while for the purpose of seeing better and sending orders more promptly. Myself and my staff remained on horseback. I do not think Major McCrady could have reasonably anticipated less risk in accompanying me on staff duty mounted than in marching with his regiment on foot. I requested him to accompany me, and he did so. In the heat of the battle I sent him to rally a portion of my troops, which, from the difficulty of the ground and the fierceness of the enemy's fire, had got into some disorder. I do not think I saw him again. Some time after proceeding to execute my order he was seen by one of my captains retiring in a state of exhaustion. He told this officer that he had rallied the troops referred to and staid with them in the fight until his strength gave out entirely. Major McCrady's regiment had at this time been formed by my order somewhat to the rear, preparatory to another movement. Major McCrady went to it, and in attempting to dismount fell to the ground, as I have been informed by his brother (Lieutenant Thomas McCrady), who was obliged to leave him thus lying on the ground when the regiment was shortly afterward ordered by Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill to take a position in advance. Lieutenant McCrady has not since seen the major, but understands that he got back to Richmond in a carriage in which he had come to the immediate neighborhood of the battle-ground.
I understand that Major McCrady afterward went home on sick leave, granted in Richmond, without referring the application to his commanding officers. If this proceeding was irregular, it was an irregularity which the War Department has permitted until very lately, if it is not still permitted, and Major McCrady cannot be held responsible for it.
Colonel Hamilton himself was very unwell during the late operations of the army, and at one time on the march, on June 29, sank fainting from his horse. He refused, however, to go off duty, and although I was advised to order him, I judged it best not to do so. By the power of his constitution Colonel Hamilton was able to overcome disease in a remarkable manner, and this may cause him to apply his own standard to other men. But I do not think it right. Few men have such power. Possibly Major McCrady may not possess it; but Major McCrady had been sick for a month before the march commenced, and was perhaps in a condition of body which no power of mind could overcome. I see no reason whatever to question the good conduct of Major McCrady.
I respectfully request that you will ask the Secretary of War to read this.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army, C. S.
General S. COOPER.
No. 334. -- Report of Col. D. H. Hamilton, First South Carolina Infantry, of the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Frazier's Farm, and Malvern Hill.
HDQRS. FIRST REGIMENT SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,
Camp on New Market Road, Va., July 14, 1862.
GENERAL: In obedience to orders I desire to report as to the part taken by my regiment in the recent battles of June 27 and 30 and July 1:
On Thursday afternoon, June 26, I put my regiment in march to cross the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge. Nothing of importance occurred until my regiment, leading the brigade, reached a position commanded by the battery of the enemy near Mechanicsville turnpike, when a pretty sharp fire of shot and shell was opened upon my regiment. By compelling my men to lie down behind the crest of the hill I escaped with the wounding of only 2 men---Company F.
On Friday morning my regiment and that of Colonel Barnes, leading the other regiments of the brigade, commenced the advance upon the lines of the enemy. We crossed Beaver Dam, only being slightly annoyed by the skirmishers of the enemy. On reaching one of the camps of the enemy, shortly before vacated, I was astonished to find myself under fire from field artillery; it, however, proved to be a section of artillery belonging to the army of General Jackson. The mistake was soon discovered, but unfortunately not in time to prevent the wounding of Lieutenant Heise, Company C, and one private of the same company.
After a short delay I was ordered to advance upon Powhite Creek, throwing out skirmishers in advance. This was done, and for some little time a brisk fire was kept up on both sides; but the enemy soon ceased to attempt to dispute the crossing of the creek, which was done very quietly and without any interruption. After a short rest, to enable us to collect and provide for our wounded, we resumed our march, and soon came upon the camp of the Ninth Massachusetts Regiment, which seemed at first disposed to give us battle; but upon giving the order to charge bayonets at double-quick they broke and fled. We continued to advance, and upon gaining an open field commanding a view of the enemy's position at Cold Harbor we were subjected to a severe fire of shell from the battery of the enemy. This fire was soon silenced by our own battery, and then, under your order, I advanced upon the position of the enemy through a thick, swampy piece of ground, and formed line of battle on the edge of the open field. In a short time I saw a brigade moving down upon us. When within easy range of us they opened a most deadly fire upon my regiment, wounding and killing s large number of my officers and men, and among these all of my color guard.
Here was my principal loss; among them, Lieut. Col. A.M. Smith, who had distinguished himself for gallantry and good conduct. All though feeble from a recent severe illness, his wound, which at first was apparently slight, proved eventually mortal, and he sank to rest calm and composed, feeling that he had done his duty to his country.
After being so severely handled I considered it proper to take my regiment out from under fire, which was accordingly done. Upon coming out of the swamp I found Colonel Marshall with a remnant of his regiment. This, with my own, I formed in line, and under orders from General Lee and Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill, I took command of these two fragments of regiments and led them into the wood in rear of the position occupied by the brigades of Generals Anderson and Field. Soon I was joined by a portion of Colonel Edwards' regiment, under Major Farrow, and with this portion of the brigade I occupied the ground as above indicated, and on Saturday morning I marched my regiment, by your orders, to another position near the battle-ground, where we remained until Sunday, June 29.
On this day we recrossed the Chickahominy. We marched in pursuit of the enemy, but did not come up with them until Monday evening, June 30. Then, although under fire and having several soldiers and one lieutenant (Sweeney, Company K) wounded by the fire of the enemy, there was no chance of our coming in actual contact with the enemy, from the fact that the ground in front of us was occupied by others of our own troops.
We were likewise drawn out on Tuesday afternoon, July 1, but did not become engaged with the enemy, although for some time under the fire of artillery. We continued the pursuit of the enemy with the rest of the Second Brigade, who had sought the shelter of their gunboats, and after remaining for twenty-four hours near them, we were ordered back to the neighborhood of Richmond, to go into camp.
I feel that it would be invidious, where all of my officers and most of my soldiers behaved so well, to single out any one for especial praise, except that I desire to mention Private Dominick Spellman, of Company K, who bore my colors gallantly during the battle after Sergeant Taylor and Corporal Hayne, who, carrying the colors, were shot down, the latter taking them from my hands when the former was first struck, to be mortally wounded himself immediately. I have promoted Private Spellman to be color-bearer for gallantry on the field of battle.
I beg to submit appended list of casualties, marked A,(*) and likewise lists showing where each officer and soldier of the regiment was on the three days on which we were engaged with the enemy. (+)
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. H. HAMILTON,
Colonel First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.
Brig. Gen. MAXCY GREGG,
Commanding Second Brigade, Light Division.
No. 338. -- Report of Col. J. Foster Marshall, First South Carolina Rifles, of the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Frazier's Farm (Nelson's Farm, or Glendale).
HDQRS. FIRST REGT. SOUTH CAROLINA VOL. RIFLES,
SECOND BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
------ ---, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to orders from headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report, as embracing the part that my regiment took in the battles before Richmond, commencing Thursday, June 26, and ending on Tuesday night, July 1, instant:
On Wednesday night, June 25, the brigade took up the line of march for Meadow Bridge, on Chickahominy, and halted about 3 a.m. to rest the troops preparatory to the coming struggle.
On Thursday evening, 4 p.m., the brigade was put in motion for Meadow Bridge, which we reached about 6 p.m., the enemy having abandoned all their intrenchments near the bridge and fallen back upon their stronghold at Mechanicsville. The other brigades of the division having engaged the enemy in and around Mechanicsville, there seemed to be no immediate need of our brigade, and, in obedience to orders, I formed my regiment in line of battle in rear of a hedge-row to await further orders. Here, during a heavy cannonade of shell and grape, my regiment was put to a severe trial of their courage for two and a half hours without the privilege of returning a shot; but I am happy to report that not a man shrank from his post of duty.
I had 1 private killed by a shell--Samuel O. Reid, of Company G. Night closed with the capture of Mechanicsville.
On the morning of the 27th the Second Brigade of Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill's division was put in the advance and pressed on after the enemy as rapidly as circumstances would allow. On approaching Gaines' Mill the enemy was discovered in strong force on the opposite side of the creek to resist our crossing and the rebuilding of the bridge. After reconnoitering the position of the enemy the Second Brigade was soon formed into line of battle, Colonel Hamilton on the right, supported by Colonel Edwards; Colonel Barnes on the left, supported by Colonel Marshall. Thus formed, we advanced upon the enemy, and in fifteen minutes after we opened fire they retreated in the direction of Cold Harbor.
The division having crossed over, General Gregg was again put in the advance, and was ordered to reconnoiter and scour the woods and fields that lay on the left of the road leading to the enemy's works. For this purpose the same line of battle was formed by the brigade as before, crossing at Gaines' Mill, and the order to advance given. As soon as we discovered the enemy, posted in a pine thicket, the charge was made, and in ten minutes we drove them out, and those we did not capture or wound beat a hasty retreat to the main battle ground, selected and fortified by the enemy.
At 2 p.m. we advanced to Cold Harbor, where we rested a few moments preparatory to a charge upon the enemy's positions. The Crenshaw Battery was ordered forward, which in a gallant style opened upon the enemy's position in front. This disclosed two heavy batteries of the enemy, who commenced throwing shot and shell into our ranks at a destructive rate. The Second Brigade was now formed into line of battle, with Colonel Hamilton on the right, Colonel Marshall in the center, Colonel Barnes on the left, and Colonel Edwards for a support. In this position we advanced upon the enemy at a double-quick under heavy discharges of shell, grape, and canister, many falling killed and wounded. We dashed through tree tops, mud, marshes, and branches, driving the enemy before us until we got possession of the brow of the hill upon which the enemy's batteries in strong force were posted. Here we remained for about two hours, exposed to canister, grape, and musketry, while a heavy cannonade was going on over our heads between the Crenshaw Battery and those of the enemy.
At 4 p.m. you, having determined to take a battery which had been throwing grape and canister on our right, called for the First South Carolina Volunteer Rifles. I asked what were your orders. You replied that you wanted me to take a battery, with my regiment, which had been playing on our right and drive the enemy back. The battery was about 500 yards in that direction, pointing with your hand. I replied that I would do it if it were possible.
I placed the two flanking companies, Captains Perrin's and J. J. Norton's, 100 yards in front as skirmishers, covering the front of my regiment when deployed, and under the command of Captain Perrin. I placed Captain Miller's company 50 paces in rear of Captain Perrin's to support him, and Capt. Miles M. Norton 50 paces in rear of Capt. J. J. Norton to support him. I placed the four companies under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ledbetter in rear of these companies. Thus disposed, I placed the six remaining companies, viz, Captains Harrison's, Moore's, Cox's, Hennegan's, Hawthorne's, and Hadden's, all the captains being present and in command of their respective companies. Before giving the command to advance I called upon the regiment to remember the State from whence they came; to put their trust in God, and acquit themselves like men.
At this awful moment there was not a quiver nor a pallid cheek, nor a disposition to give way on account of feeble health, when there were, as I personally know, more than 20 men who had just risen from beds of sickness to participate in the battles. There was a calmness and settled determination on the part of every man to do or die in the attempt. I gave the command, "Double-quick, march!" and as soon as we had gained the old field, "Charge bayonets," at the same time deploying the six remaining companies to the left, supporting the entire line of skirmishers.
As soon as we emerged from the pines we were met by a most destructive fire from the enemy in front and on our left and as soon as we had cleared about 100 yards of the old field two heavy batteries on our left, about 600 yards off, poured into our ranks a deadly fire of grape and canister.
Here it was that my adjutant, Lieut. J. B. Sloan, was shot down at my side while gallantly aiding me and urging on the charge of the regiment. Here also fell Capt. R. A. Hawthorne gallantly leading his company. A few paces farther fell Captain Hennegan, another noble spirit, leading his company. Close by his side fell his gallant lieutenant (Brown), and farther [on] fell the gallant and patriotic Lieut. Samuel McFall, and near him fell Sergeant-Major McGee nobly cheering the men on to the charge.
My men, although now under three cross-fires, and falling thick and fast from one end of the line to the other, never once faltered. Finding no battery, they dashed on to the woods in front, where were posted seven regiments of the enemy, including the Pennsylvania Reserves. Here my men got the first chance to exchange shots. They commenced a deadly fire upon the enemy, advancing upon them as they delivered the fire, some of the men having it hand-to-hand, clubbing their rifles, then dispatching four or five with the bayonet; many taking deadly aim through the forks of trees. While this successful movement was going on the left wing of my regiment was about being outflanked by about 500 New York Zouaves, who came down upon my left in a desperate charge. I looked for my support, but could not see any, and then to the left of the field for the other two regiments, but could not see either of them, and thus I was left alone contending against seven regiments. At this time Lieutenant Higgins gathered around him some 30 riflemen, who poured into the ranks of the Zouaves such a deadly >ar13_874>fire as to bring their left to a stand-still. During this halt of the Zouaves I ordered my regiment to fall back, after having drove the enemy to their camp to the edge of the woods, where we entered, and then filing to the right conducted them in safety down a road, where I formed the remnant under cover of the hill in front of the Zouaves. Just as I was forming a North Carolina regiment came up and assisted us in giving a complete check to any further movement of the enemy in this quarter.
Thus ended one of the most desperate charges I ever before witnessed, and I feel thankful to a kind Providence that so many of us escaped to witness the most complete triumph of our arms in the hardest-con-tested battle before Richmond, and the one which decided the fate of the Yankee Army.
That night the regiment, in connection with Colonel Hamilton's and a portion of the Thirteenth South Carolina Volunteers, under command of Major Farrow, slept upon the battle-field.
On Saturday morning I called for a report of the different companies of my regiment of the killed, wounded, and missing, and found from their reports that my worst fears were realized as to the destruction of my regiment. In that charge we had sustained a loss of 76 killed, 221 wounded, and 58 missing, and I had only 149-- officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates--for duty.
Early that morning I made a detail from each company to bury the dead, and so severe was the work of death in some of the companies that it took the detail all day to bury their dead. This sad duty performed, we were permitted again to sleep that night on the battle-field.
Early Sunday morning the brigade was put under marching orders, and about 9 a.m. we took up the line of march for the south side of the Chickahominy, via New Bridge.
After marching until 9 o'clock that night we bivouacked about 12 miles below Richmond, on the Darbytown road, close upon the rear of the enemy, who, we learned, had been driven that day and the day previous from his strong fortifications in front of Richmond.
On Monday, the 30th, we took up the line of march and pushed down the Darbytown road until we came upon the enemy strongly intrenched behind breastworks. The brigades of our division that were in front of the Second Brigade were soon engaged with the enemy, and our brigade was permitted to rest for a few moments preparatory to any emergency that might occur.
More troops were called for by General Hill, and the Second Brigade was rapidly advanced to the field of action. When near the position of the enemy two regiments--Colonels Edwards' and McGowan's--were advanced to the right to engage the enemy, and the other two regiments---Colonels Hamilton's and Barnes'--and my own were advanced to the left to engage the enemy if they presented themselves. Here we were exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, not being able to return a single shot on account of our friends, General Longstreet's division being in front.
Here I had 9 wounded without the least chance of inflicting any damage upon the enemy, but we had the consolation of hearing the shout of triumph from our friends in front and the rout of our enemies. We slept upon the battle-field that night.
The next morning we were marched back to the brigade camping ground that we had occupied the day before, for the purpose of having rations issued to the troops. Here we rested as a reserve to the forces that were engaged in the Tuesday's battle.
About 6' o'clock in the evening the Second Brigade, in connection with the other brigades of the division, was put in motion to render any assistance that might be needed by our friends in the desperate battle that was then raging, we formed in line of battle in rear of our advancing column, ready to strike a blow where most needed. Here we were again exposed to a heavy fire of shot and shell for an hour, but fortunately no one of my regiment was injured.
Thus ended the series of hard-fought battles before Richmond, resulting in a complete triumph of the Confederate arms and the repulse of the Grand Army of the Potomac under the self-styled "Young Napoleon," who had been forced to seek protection under cover of their gunboats 30 miles down the James River.
It affords me pleasure to bear record to the gallant and officer-like conduct in which my field officers, Lieut. Col. D. A. Ledbetter and Maj. J. W. Livingston, bore themselves throughout the day, and especially in the charge. Major Livingston received a severe wound on the left side while making the charge.
I am proud to record the gallant manner in which Capt. James M. Perrin, as commander of the skirmishers, acquitted himself, he deserves great credit for the coolness and bravery he displayed on that occasion. Also Capt. J. J. Norton, his junior in command of the skirmishers, who was wounded in the left arm while gallantly leading his company.
The handsome manner in which Captains Miller and Miles M. Norton supported the advance companies entitles them to great praise. Captain Miller was wounded in the right side while gallantly leading his company, which had 13 killed on the field. Capt. Miles M. Norton, who had left a sick bed to lead his men into action, bore himself in a gallant manner at the head of his company and is entitled to great credit.
Capt. F. E. Harrison was shot down, having received a severe wound in his leg while gallantly leading his company through the severest of the fight.
Capt. G. W. Cox was shot down while nobly leading his company through the charge. He had 16 killed on the field.
Captains Moore and Hadden, who passed through unscathed, were distinguished for their coolness and bravery throughout the entire engagement.
cut. William C. Davis distingushed himself for his coolness and
bravery during the battle. He received a severe wound on the head, bound it up, and fought throughout the day.
Lieut. W. W. Higgins, of Company G, was conspicuous for his coolness and bravery during the battle, fighting the Zouaves and bringing them to a stand-still with 30 men.
Lieutenant Latimer, Company G, fell seriously wounded in the ankle while gallantly supporting the skirmishers. He has since died.
Lieutenant McKay, of Company H, was seriously wounded in the arm while leading his company after his captain fell.
Lieutenant Philpot, of Company A, fell dangerously wounded while gallantly sustaining the charge of his company.
Lieutenant Norris, of Company K, fell mortally wounded (since dead) while nobly leading his company after his captain had fallen.
Lieuts. John B. Sloan, of Company D; Fullerton, of Company F; Pratt, of Company G; Cheshire, of Company K; Holcombe, of Company A; Dickson, of Company C, and Mace, of Company H, who passed through uninjured, deserve great credit for the coolness and bravery displayed by them throughout the engagement.
To Lieutenant Robertson, Company B, commander of the Infirmary Corps, >ar13_876>the regiment is greatly indebted for the prompt and timely assistance afforded the wounded during the thickest of the battle. This corps worked all night carrying off the wounded, and were until 12 m. the next day before their labors were ended. They deserve great credit.
To my surgeon, Dr. T. A. Evins, I am greatly indebted for the prompt preparations of the surgical department for the battles and for the skill and ability he displayed in his operations and taking care of the wounded.
To my chaplain, Rev. H. T. Sloan, I have always been indebted for the high moral influence he has exercised over the regiment, and particularly after this bloody battle in administering spiritual comfort to the dying and superintending the burial of the dead of the regiment. He is entitled to great credit for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office under great privations and trials.
My commissary, Captain Edwards, was always at his post with rations for the men, never allowing the regiment to be without something to eat during the battles.
My quartermaster, Capt. Thomas B Lee, was transferred a few days previous to the brigade staff, in which he bore himself gallantly. I am greatly indebted to him for his valuable services while acting as quartermaster to my regiment.
To my special aides, Lieuts. J. T. Parks and William J. Marshall, I was greatly indebted during the battle for their valuable services in extending my orders. They distinguished themselves for their coolness and bravery. During the day Lieutenant Parks captured 7 prisoners.
During the charge my color-sergeant (Kyle, of Company B) was distinguished for his coolness and the gallant manner in which he bore the regimental flag. When in the thickest of the fight he was shot down, dangerously wounded through the thighs. Corporal Milford, of Company F, one of the color guard, gathered the colors and bore them triumphantly through the charge; it has three bullet-holes through it and one nearly cutting the staff in two.
To the gallant non-commissioned officers and privates, who each personally distinguished himself for coolness and bravery during the bloody battle, the country owes a debt of lasting gratitude. It is the private who has to bear the heat and burden of the day, and his name should be placed high in the niche of fame. They are all entitled to the highest reward of a grateful country.
It is gratifying for me to report upon the accurate and deliberate firing of my regiment. There was not a tree on the side where we entered the woods marked by a ball higher than 6 feet and lower than the knees, while on the Yankee side they ranged from 30 feet down to the ground.
The result of our contest with the enemy was 253 regulars and Pennsylvanians and 32 New York Zouaves killed on the field, and 23 wounded prisoners, among them a major and a first lieutenant.
I trust that the part performed by my regiment in the recent battles before Richmond meets with the approval of our general. The highest ambition of the regiment was to perform every duty in the great struggle assigned to it, and to contribute by its efforts, in connection with other regiments, to the complete overthrow of the enemy, and to see victory perch upon the Confederate standard.
J. FOSTER MARSHALL,
Colonel First Regiment South Carolina Volunteer Rifles.
P. S.--In reference to proper persons to be recommended for promotions I ask for further time, and I desire a conference with the general.
No. 335. -- Report of Col. Dixon Barnes, Twelfth South Carolina Infantry, of the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Frazier's Farm (Nelson's Farm, or Glendale), and Malvern Hill.
HDQRS. TWELFTH REGT. SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS,
Laurel Hill, Va., July 17, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters I submit the following report of the part performed by the Twelfth Regiment in the late battles before Richmond:
On the 26th ultimo, at about 5 p.m., we crossed the Chickahominy near the Central Railroad, having bivouacked the night previous some 5 miles below that point, on the Meadow Bridge road. Immediately after crossing we turned in the direction of Mechanicsville, and had not advanced far before we came under the shells of the enemy, who had been attacked by the advanced forces of our division. We continued our march until we came within a half or three-fourths of a mile from the point at which the battle was progressing; formed in line of battle in a flat, where we were enabled to protect ourselves from the shell and shot of the enemy by laying on the ground. In this position we remained during the night, being annoyed considerably by the shell until a short time after dark, when the firing ceased. With the exception of 1 man, who was very slightly injured by a piece of shell, we escaped unhurt.
Early the next morning we marched across the Mechanicsville turnpike road in the direction of Beaver Dam Creek. Arriving within half a mile of that stream we halted, formed line of battle, and sent forward Company B (Captain Miller) as skirmishers. We were then ordered by General Gregg to cross the stream and occupy the hills beyond. This order was promptly executed and without much resistance, except from scattering shots from the pickets of the enemy, who fled as we advanced. We were now in full view of deserted camps and burning fires in front. We immediately continued our march, and about half a mile farther we entered a piece of woods where a large heap of commissary and other stores were on fire. But the quantity of knapsacks, oil-cloths, and other articles scattered through the woods and along the roads gave unmistakable evidence that the enemy had left his camp in great haste. Here we halted a short time, when General Gregg came up and ordered the regiment to be formed in column of companies and to advance in that order. Just at this moment I was told that the enemy had been seen on our left. This fact I communicated to the general, when he ordered the two left companies to be sent in that direction to reconnoiter. Immediately Company B, Captain Miller, and Company K, Captain Neville, were sent, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Jones. The regiment now moved off in column and soon [arrived] at a church, where we met General Jackson's command, or a portion of it. We remained here a short time, during which the two companies sent out to reconnoiter on our left sent in 9 prisoners, and soon after came themselves, bringing 8 more, making 17 in all captured.
We continued the march without further resistance until we arrived in the vicinity of Gaines' Mill, on Powhite Creek. Here, the enemy making demonstration of resistance, the regiment was formed in line of battle, and Company B, Captain Miller, thrown forward as skirmishers. A spirited attack being made by the skirmishers, and at the same time a few shells being thrown from one of our batteries, the enemy were soon put to flight, making toward a pine thicket beyond the creek. Advancing to the creek we found the bridge torn up. The regiment was ordered to cross on the dam, and after crossing to wait for orders. In a short time the bridge was repaired, so as to enable the whole command to cross.
The regiment was then formed in line, and throwing forward Company A, Lieutenant Parker, and Company I, Captain Vanlandingham, as skirmishers, we advanced at double-quick toward the pine thicket, the enemy as before firing and retiring before us.
In this advance Private N. S. Camp, Company A, was killed. Continuing the pursuit, we soon came in sight of the enemy in force at Cold Harbor. In a few moments a fight commenced between our artillery and that of the enemy. The shells from the batteries of the enemy soon began to fall thick and fast around us, and taking the double-quick, we advanced to a branch in front of us, and toward the enemy, under a heavy fire of shell. Crossing this branch, we came to a halt for nearly two hours. During the halt, by order of the general, I sent Company F, Captain McMeekin, and Company H, Captain Erwin, in advance to watch the movements of the enemy, and afterward relieved them by Company D, Captain Bookter, and Company G, Lieutenant Garvin. In the performance of this duty Company F and Company D had each 2 men wounded.
About 5 p.m., as near as! can guess, the Twelfth and First Regiments were formed in line, the Twelfth having only eight companies, the two sent in advance to watch the movements of the enemy not having been called in. My understanding of the order was that we were to make the attack on the enemy. The general himself giving the order to march, we moved off up the hill through the pines, and, on reaching the open field above, the Twelfth Regiment continued the march across this field toward a branch or hollow 200 or 300 yards in front of us, where the enemy was known to be. We did not advance, however, more than 100 yards before a battery (the position of which I was not before aware of), situated in a piece of woods about 300 or 400 yards to my right, poured a heavy fire of shell and grape shot upon us, wounding and stunning 5 or 6 men the first volley.
I now discovered that the First Regiment had halted at the edge of the pine thicket, and saw at once that to attempt to reach the hollow under this fire, and then to encounter the enemy there, or to change front and march alone against the battery, would be to sacrifice the regiment with little or no damage to the enemy. This being the sit-nation of the regiment, I immediately marched by the left flank down the hill to the branch, turned, and marched up the branch, through a dense thicket and under a heavy fire of shell and shot, until I got opposite the pine thicket through which I had gone before entering the open field. We were now out of range of the artillery, and here I formed the regiment in line as soon as I could, being joined by the two companies who were out reconnoitering the movements of the enemy when We commenced the advance.
The regiment was now marched in line through the pines up to the edge of the open field and took position on the left of the First Regiment. Scarcely had we got in position before a greatly superior force appeared in front of us, and an engagement immediately ensued, being commenced by us. We held our position obstinately for a time, but, in consequence of overwhelming numbers, we were driven back a short distance, suffering seriously in killed and wounded. Although our numbers were much reduced, and our line somewhat broken, the greater portion of the command was soon rallied, and recovered our former position at the edge of the open ground.
Again we poured a vigorous fire into the enemy and maintained our position for some time, but owing to the great disparity of numbers we were again forced back, sustaining a heavy loss in officers and men.
The entire command by this time was well-nigh exhausted and greatly reduced. I myself, from exhaustion and from a wound which I received in the thigh, causing considerable pain, was unable to take further command. I am not able of my own knowledge to say what part any portion of the command took in the fight after this time, yet from reliable information I am fully convinced that some did fall in with other commands and continue the fight. Captain Bookter, with Lieutenant Talley and others of his company, joined an Alabama regiment, commanded by Colonel Cantey, and while with this regiment Captain Bookter and several of his men were wounded.
The conduct of the command as a whole was gallant and commendable. We had when we left Mechanicsville about 430 muskets, including many who were indisposed. Taking from this number those who tired out during the march of the day, I am sure that we did not carry more than 400, if that, into the fight.
The casualties, a list of which accompanies this report, are 17 killed and 131 wounded, making a total of 148 killed and wounded. Among the killed was First Lieut. J. W. Delaney, commanding Company B. He was killed in the first conflict at the edge of the pine thicket. By his death the regiment, the State, and the Confederacy has been deprived of an officer of intelligence and great gallantry. Among the wounded are some of our most valuable officers, to wit: Captains Van-landingham, McMeekin, Bookter, and Miller. Captains Vanlandingham and McMeekin were wounded at the last stand we made at the edge of the pine thicket. I am not informed as to [the] place Captain Miller was wounded, he having been absent ever since. Captain Bookter, as before stated, was wounded after joining an Alabama regiment, late in the evening. It is gratifying to know that the wounds of Captains Bookter, McMeekin, and Miller are such as to render the loss of their services only temporary, but even this will be seriously felt by the regiment. The wound of Captain Vanlandingham was such as to require the amputation of the left leg. His loss will be seriously felt in the regiment, and to his company it will be irreparable.
Passing by all the details of the pursuit I come now to the fight of Monday evening, June 30. About 5 p.m. we arrived in the vicinity of the enemy, halted, and stacked arms in a piece of woods to the right of the road. The fight soon commenced in front of us, and about 6.30 o'clock the regiments of the brigade were formed in line and marched by the right flank about 1¼ miles to a point near where the fight was progressing. On arriving at this point we were halted and the regiments were formed in column of companies, the Twelfth being third in order. About sundown the Twelfth was ordered to form line to the front. This being done, we were ordered to march through the thicket and take position in rear as a support to the Fourteenth, which had been previously sent into the fight. I marched a short distance through the thicket and came upon the First Regiment lying down.. Halting there for a few seconds to make some inquiry about the position of the Fourteenth, I gave the command left face, marched around the left of the First Regiment, then marched to the front, and took position about 200 or 300 yards in rear of the firing, with my right flank a short distance from and nearly opposite the center of the line of the First Regiment and perpendicular to it. I made the men lie down in order to protect them from the bullets, which were flying fast and thick over and about us. We remained in this position until the close of the fight, about 8.30 p.m., having 7 men wounded at this place.
Colonel McGowan now brought out his command (the Fourteenth) and the regiments of the brigade bivouacked. About 10 or 11 o'clock at night the general himself came to us and ordered us to return in the morning to the place we had left in the evening. This we did, and remained in that position until about 6 p.m. of Tuesday, July 1. We were then marched up the road about 2 miles, passing the battle ground of the previous day, and were there halted.
In a very short time the battle of July 1 began and progressed fiercely in front of us and on the right wing of the enemy. The firing of the enemy soon slackened on his right, but was taken up fiercely along his line toward his center and left, and we were marched back about half a mile, halted and faced to the front. General Hill came up and ordered the Twelfth and Fourteenth to remain in that position and watch toward the enemy. Here we remained until the close of the fight, without participating in the engagement.
I close this report by acknowledging the cordial and efficient assistance rendered me by Lieut. Col. Cad. Jones, the only field officer I had, and also by bearing testimony to the faithful discharge by Dr. J. Ford Prioleau, surgeon,and Dr. J. W. Keith, assistant surgeon, of their arduous duties.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
Colonel Twelfth Regiment.
Capt. A. C. HASKELL,
No. 336. -- Report of Col. O. E. Edwards, Thirteenth South Carolina Infantry, of the battles of Beater Dam Creek, or Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Frazier's Farm (Nelson's Farm, or Glendale), and Crew's Farm, or Malvern Hill.
JULY 18, 1862.
Report of the part taken by the Thirteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers in the late combats before Richmond, with lists of casualties:
1. The Thirteenth, numbering 413 men, reached the scene of action, near Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam Creek, at 6.30 p.m. on June 26. Formed line of battle and remained under fire of shot and shell until 9 p.m., when the firing ceased, and then bivouacked for the night on the spot. No casualties.
2. In the action at Beaver Dam, on the morning of the 27th, my regiment numbered 414. The fire of shot and shell from the enemy's battery beyond the creek opened at 4 a.m., sweeping across our position, and continued until 5.40 o'clock, when we advanced half a mile to the Mechanicsville turnpike; halted [and] loaded· Under orders to support Colonel Barnes (Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers) I advanced in that attitude to the bridge across the creek (7.35 a.m.), where a brief delay occurred to repair the bridge. Crossing as soon as the work was completed I pursued the march directly on along the road to Walnut Grove Church, where at 9.10 a.m. the command halted until 10 a.m. No casualties.
3. In the action near Powhite Creek, about noon on the 27th, my regiment numbered 414. Under the former orders extended I moved, supporting Colonel Barnes, forming line of battle at 12 m. While the front of the brigade was actively engaging the enemy I moved on in position assigned me, through some camps of the enemy, to the road near its crossing a bridge over the creek. Halted while the bridge was being repaired.
4. Into the action at Gaines' farm, or Cold Harbor, my regiment went with 413 men. Under orders to support Colonel Hamilton, First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, I moved forward at 2 p.m. from Pow-hite Creek eastward toward the strong position held by the enemy. Near the outset of this advance I lost some men.
After a brief pause, by order, the forward movement was continued until we reached a ravine and brook between the position about this time assumed by Captain Crenshaw's field artillery and the main front of the enemy. This halt of the brigade was at 2.40 p.m.
The fire under which my regiment remained here was very heavy, and from the ordering forward of the commands of Colonels Hamilton, Marshall, and Barnes it was a double fire from front and right. Being ordered to hold the position assigned me along the brook until Colonel Hamilton should fall back, I held the position and awaited that event. My instructions were to hold the position and be ready when Colonel Hamilton fell back, and then to pour a destructive volley into the enemy as he emerged from the pines; that Colonel Hamilton at that juncture would take position in my rear to support me. After occupying this exposed position--exposed by reason of the apparently unimpeded fire of small-arms pouring constantly upon us, as before stated--for an hour or so without the appearance of Colonel Hamilton or his command, finding my regiment severely pressed and partly surrounded by the enemy upon my right, where I had expected the regiments of our own brigade, and finding the availability of my left wing materially interfered with by the bog and undergrowth, I felt it my duty to change my position slightly. I accordingly ordered forward as skirmishers my right company, driving the enemy from that wood, and then threw my regiment a few yards across the brook with a view of protecting my right, in case of a repetition of the enemy's former movement, and as the best means of holding my position as ordered, for the purpose indicated in that order. The brook is passable at only two or three places in the portion occupied, so that a regular movement in line was impracticable. In the confusion produced by this circumstance, by the din of incessant cannon and small-arm firing, and other noise incident to battle, my commands could not be heard perfectly, and the irregular nature of the ground and the undergrowth caused a separation of the wings of my command.
Major Farrow, with the right and center companies, in a few minutes reported to Brigadier-General Gregg, near by, and under orders from him took position on another part of the field. A fragment of three companies of the left, under my command, remained on the ground until night and victory closed the action. Bivouacked on the field. Casualties--4 killed, 44 wounded, 4 since died.
5. My regiment went into the action at Willis' Church Monday, June 30. numbering 342 men.
At 5.30 p.m. we halted in a wood adjacent to the action and were for nearly an hour under a sporadic fire of shells, by which I lost 1 man killed.
At 6.30 the brigade moved forward to the immediate scene of the battle. My regiment moved under same orders to the left by successive stages, halting frequently.
About 7.30 loaded, fixed bayonets, and when it neared the front of the supposed enemy, under a galling fire of small-arms in front, it was ordered to form in close column of companies, and to charge bayonets through a dense copse. This movement was arrested to inquire definitely whether friends or enemy were before us, for darkness utterly prevented our distinguishing by sight. Inquiry seemed to result in determining that our friends were before us, and I was ordered to move by the right and reform in the road from which the charge was made, which I did promptly and bivouacked there for the night. Casualties--1 killed, 15 wounded, I since died.
6. My regiment numbered 269 in the action at Malvern Hill, or Crew's farm, on July 1.
At 5 p.m. we were marched, with some halts, perhaps 2 miles to a position near the road, where our line of battle was formed about 8 p.m. Here we were under sporadic fire of shells until about 9.30, when the action closed. We then returned to our bivouac. No casualties.
General summary.--Killed, 5; wounded, 60. Grand total casualties, 65. Since dead, 5. Grand total deaths, 10.(*)
The conduct and bearing of my regiment-- officers and men--in these actions were, with a few exceptions, highly commendable. They were steady, cool, prompt, and ready. Under the most trying ordeal of receiving a severe fire for hours without returning it they proved themselves efficient soldiers and worthy our great cause.
O. E. EDWARDS,
Colonel Thirteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.
Capt. A. C. HASKELL,
No. 337. -- Report of Col. Samuel McGowan, Fourteenth South Carolina Infantry, of the battles of Gaines' Mill and Frazier's Farm (Nelson's Farm, or Glendale).
HDQRS. FOURTEENTH REGT. SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,
Near Richmond, Va., July 10, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under my command, in the late battles around Richmond:
On Wednesday, June 25, the brigade was encamped at Smith's farm, on the Chickahominy, and my regiment went on picket duty that morning. During that day all the brigade, except my regiment, was ordered to move up the river toward Meadow Bridge. I was informed that other troops would relieve me on picket during Wednesday night, and in that case I was to follow and join the brigade. It turned out, however, that we were not relieved; the regiment remained on picket all the night, next day, and the next night, being two days and nights, without rest or sleep. About 10 a.m. on Friday we could discover from our picket post on the hills that the enemy was retreating and our friends pursuing them down the opposite bank of the Chickahominy. As soon as the enemy had cleared our front I sent two companies (Captains Wood and Taggart) down to the river, to communicate, if possible, with General Gregg. They there found Captain Harry Hammond, of the general's staff, who, not being able to get his horse across the river, came on foot to the regiment, delivered an order for us to join the brigade, and guided us on the march. We had great difficulty in crossing the river, as the enemy had torn up and burned the bridge--the upper new bridge--the night before. We succeeded, however, in repairing it, so that the regiment crossed and moved on, under a constant fire of shells from one of the enemy's batteries. The ambulance and surgeon's wagon had, however, to make the circuit by Mechanicsville, and arrived about the time the battle began. The day was intensely hot, and the regiment being much fatigued, Captain Hammond led us to a point near where the brigade was engaged, on the extreme right of the enemy, and halted us to rest for a few moments while he went forward to see the general.
At this moment the battle opened with great fury and, exhausted as we were, we were at once ordered forward. By the direction of the general and under his own eye I formed line of battle in rear of Crenshaw's battery (which ceased firing for a moment to allow us to pass), and charged at the double-quick between the guns, down the hill, straight toward the heavy firing in the front. I was informed by the General that I would find the regiments of Colonels Edwards and Barnes in the skirt of woods bordering the field occupied by the enemy; as soon, therefore, as we had crossed the boggy ravine in the woods and commenced to ascend the hill beyond I halted the regiment and sent out in every direction to find the regiments indicated. The thicket was very dense, and for fear of firing into friends I went forward myself to the edge of the field held by the enemy, calling aloud for our friends, who were supposed to be there. I soon found that no friends were in front of us, for the enemy had retaken possession of the field and were in the act of establishing a battery at the edge of the woods near where my regiment stood. Seeing the enemy in front and hearing nothing of our friends, I ordered the Fourteenth to advance alone through the woods to the fence to drive the enemy back and hold that position, which was promptly and gallantly done. For a long time we held this position without any assistance whatever.
During this period the enemy once made an effort to turn our left flank, but was repulsed by the left companies, under Lieut. Col. W. D. Simpson. The left wing of the regiment was then advanced over the fence and through the pine thicket, making nearly a right angle with the right wing, but it was soon drawn back to its original position. At length a North Carolina regiment came up on our right and a Georgia regiment on our left. Endeavoring to act in concert with these we made a charge upon the batteries in front of us, but finding the distance so much greater than was expected, in an open field, under a terrific cross-fire of musketry, grape shot, and canister, the men, after having gone over half the distance, were compelled to lie down, and soon after were ordered to retire and occupy their former position. In this charge I received a severe bruise on my right side from a grape shot, which for a short time disabled me. We never yielded for one instant our original position; we held it, except when charging, all the afternoon. We held it at the time the batteries were finally carried, late in the evening, and after the struggle was over fell upon the ground entirely exhausted, and slept there surrounded by the dead and dying.
I grieve to have to state that the list of killed and wounded in this battle is large. Lieutenant Plunkett, Company H, was shot twice, and gloriously died upon the field. Maj. W. J. Carter, Captains Brown, Taggart, and Croft, Lieutenants Brunson. O. W. Allen, Stevens, McCarley, Dorroh, and Carter were wounded, besides many others were killed and wounded, a list of whom is hereto attached;(*) some have since died.
The whole regiment acted in the most satisfactory manner, and where all did their duty it is impossible to discriminate without injustice. Lieutenant-Colonel Simpson and Major Carter were always active in preserving order and in encouraging the men. Adjutant Ready was also active until he was wounded and left the field. William F. Nance, esq., of Newberry, happened to be with the regiment when it left the picket station Friday at noon, and being unwilling to remain a mere spectator at such a time he voluntarily accompanied us, and made the charge of that evening with the regiment. Capt. C. H. Suber, assistant quartermaster, as directed, remained with the train at our camp upon Smith's farm.
In regard to the fight of Monday night the general well knows how suddenly we were called upon to go into it. We had marched all day until late in the evening, and soon after we arrived in the neighborhood of the fight it was represented to us that the enemy was turning the left of our lines. I was directed to form the Fourteenth, which was the leading regiment, in line of battle immediately, and send forward through the thick undergrowth, skirmishers, to feel the enemy and as' certain his position. I accordingly sent forward Captain West, who threw out his men as skirmishers and gallantly advanced some 300 yards toward our left and front. In a few moments he returned, stating that he had found General Featherston in the undergrowth wounded, who informed him that the enemy's skirmishers were all around him, that he was in danger of being captured, and that if any Confederate troops were near at hand they should advance at once. As soon as Captain West made this report my regiment was ordered forward through a perfect jungle of vines and bushes. We took the direction indicated by the skirmishers, and as soon as we approached the open ground in which the enemy had hastily thrown up a breastwork we fell upon his skirmishers, who upon our approach scattered and fled in every direction. The regiment was halted at the edge of the cleared ground and volley after volley thrown into the ranks of the enemy, who returned upon us a very hot and fatal fire. In this musketry fight some of my men, having obtained patent cartridges, shot seventy times. At one time, just after dark, the belief seemed to take possession of the enemy, as it did of ourselves, that we were mutually fighting our friends, and the firing ceased for a time entirely. During the cessation of fire an officer came over to us and inquired who we were. I demanded to know to what regiment he belonged; to which he replied the Twentieth Indiana, which was in the woods to our left and front. Thereupon he was politely informed that he was in the midst of the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, and at the same time ordered to the rear for safe-keeping. A few moments after this interview an officer of the enemy was distinctly heard to give the command, "Commence firing," and in a moment the whole ridge in our front was a sheet of flame. They poured into the regiment for a short time the most destructive fire. We, however, held our ground and returned the fire until the enemy fled. The Fourteenth certainly fired the last gun in the battle of Monday. We remained on the ground until all the firing had ceased, and then joined the other regiments of the brigade. Once during the evening the enemy endeavored to turn our left flank, but Lieutenant-Colonel Simpson directed upon them the fire of the left companies, and with distinguished gallantry drove them back. If we could have had a regiment on our left we certainly would have captured the Twentieth Indiana Regiment.
In this contest also, as well as that of Friday, we lost many valuable officers and men. Captains Owens, Harper, and Stuckly were wounded, the first two I fear very seriously. Lieutenant Davis died gallantly on the field, and Lieutenants Watson and Miller were wounded, besides many others killed and wounded, a list of whom is inclosed.(*) Seven captains went into the right--6 were wounded, leaving only I for duty.
In the combat of Monday night we took about 20 prisoners, the names and regiments of some of whom are remembered: Harrison Patrick, Twelfth Pennsylvania Reserves. Company B; Frederick Harvey, Fortieth New York, >ar13_871> Company H; Captain Reed, Twentieth Indiana, Company K, and 15 or 16 others, mostly of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment. Having no place to keep these prisoners, they were turned over by my direction to a mounted escort in charge of prisoners.
As we were going into the charge General Pryor, in rear of whose brigade we passed, presented to General Gregg a battle-flag, bearing upon its folds the names of" Williamsburg" and "Seven Pines," and belonging to St. Paul's Louisiana Battery, which the general intrusted to the Fourteenth for that occasion. I called upon Company D, the flag company, for a flag-bearer, and T. W. Carwile, quite a youth, volunteered to carry it, and did carry it through the fight with great gallantry. It was struck by balls five times during the contest, and yet the bearer escaped unhurt. I recommend young Carwile to the favorable consideration of the general for his distinguished gallantry.
I cannot omit to mention, also, the services of Lieut. James Dunlap, of Co. F, who, in addition to his other laborious duties as commanding officer of his company, after his gallant captain (Owens) had fallen, discharged, also, at my request, the duties of adjutant of the regiment. I take pleasure in commending him as a most faithful and efficient officer.
As my adjutant and both orderlies were shot down in the first action (Orderly White was killed and Orderly Harrison seriously, if not mortally, wounded), I am unable to give the exact number that went into the different combats. I know that several fainted and many broke down on the march. I judge that about 500 went into the fight of Friday and about 200 into that of Monday evening. It will be seen that our loss is more than half the number engaged. We lost on Friday 18 killed and 197 wounded and missing, and on Monday 11 killed and 65 wounded and missing; total, 291. Some of those reported as wounded have since died. I have heard of the death of Captain Owens, Sergeant Franks, and Albert Boyce, and I greatly fear that others have, and that many will still die.
The honored and lamented dead have laid down their lives in a just cause, defending their country from invasion and their homes from pollution. They died gallantly. Their names will be embalmed in history as martyrs of liberty and added to the long roll of Carolina's departed heroes.
I have been greatly indebted to Surgeon Huot and Assistant Surgeon Youngblood and their assistants for their indefatigable attention to the numerous wounded.
Hoping that the general is satisfied with the conduct of the regiment, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.
Capt. A. C. HASKELL,