Report of the Light Division Artillery at the Seven Days

Last updated June 10th, 2007 by Jenny

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Seven Days Battle Report: Artillery Brigade

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No. 349. -- Report of Capt. William G. Crenshaw, Virginia Battery, of operations June 25-July 1, including the battle of Gaines' Mill.

HEADQUARTERS CRENSHAW BATTERY, Near Richmond, Va., July 14, 1862.

GENERAL: In obedience to your orders of 10th instant I beg leave respectfully to submit the following report:

Soon after receiving your orders, while in camp at Dr. Friend's house, Wednesday, June 25, to cook two days' rations and prepare to march that evening, the enemy opened fire upon us from the earth works he had just thrown up near Hogan's house, on the opposite side of the Chickahominy. This fire was kept up very constantly during the day, and resulted only in the killing of 2 of my horses.

In accordance with your orders, the fire was not returned by me. Soon after we started on the march; bivouacked near the brook about 3 o'clock at night; rested nearly all of Thursday in the road, and in the afternoon crossed the Chickahominy at the Meadow Bridge in the rear of your brigade.

In accordance with your orders I halted the battery under shelter of the hill about half a mile this side of Mechanicsville, where we remained until next morning, receiving the shell of the enemy, but without taking any part in the fight. This shelling resulted in no loss to us.

On Friday morning, June 27, we started down the Chickahominy in rear of your brigade, and my battery was the first to cross the bridge at Gaines' Mill, which was effected about 1 p.m.

Soon after crossing, in accordance with your orders, we went into battery near New Cold Harbor house and commenced firing at the enemy's infantry, who were drawn up in line of battle across the hill above us. They were soon scattered and driven out of our sight, and we were opened upon by three batteries of the enemy on the same hill, who fired very rapidly, and against whom we then directed our fire. Unfortunately for us our position was such that we could not maneuver our battery 10 yards to the right or left, the opening in the woods through which we had to fire being very narrow. We continued under the incessant fire of the enemys batteries for nearly two hours, ceasing our own fire more than once when the charge on the enemy's batteries was ordered to be made by our infantry.

During this engagement I received your message to maneuver the battery or remove it from under fire at my discretion. Finding that no infantry of the enemy were in sight, and that we had been so long under fire of their several batteries that they had been able to get our range very accurately and that we were being damaged by them, having lost in killed and seriously wounded 5 men and 11 horses, I, in the exercise of the discretion you gave me, withdrew my battery some 200 yards from the field. After resting about three-quarters of an hour, and finding the enemy's infantry had formed on the hill above us again, we returned with the battery to its original position, soon scattered them, and then continued firing upon their batteries. While firing upon the infantry on the hill to our left it was suggested that they might be friends, and we ceased firing upon them a few moments until, with your assistance, we could examine them minutely with our glasses. You being satisfied that they were not friends, we, by your order, opened upon them again, when they soon disappeared from our view. We continued in this second engagement about an hour, when, two of our brass pieces becoming disabled by the breaking of the axles and the other two brass pieces too hot to fire with safety, you ordered us to retire to make room for Captain Johnson, who had been ordered up to relieve us.

We had lost in it 4 men killed and seriously wounded and 11 horses, but succeeded in taking off the two disabled pieces by hand and the others by dismounting our chiefs and hitching three horses to most of the pieces.

In accordance with your orders the battery was then taken to the rear, and Lieut. C. L. Hobson started at 12 o'clock that night to Richmond with the disabled carriages for repairs and a wagon for ammunition and men to bring out more horses.

The next morning, Saturday, June 28, what ammunition we had left, consisting almost entirely of solid shot, canister, and long-range rifle shell, was placed in the chests of three pieces which we carried upon the battle-field of the previous day. Soon after we arrived there we received orders from Major-General Hill to return with my battery to Richmond, there to refit and remain for orders. Upon my informing you of these orders, you authorized me to rejoin you as soon as I had fitted up, and that you would take the responsibility of my doing so without orders.

I accordingly returned to Richmond Saturday afternoon and remained there until the Thursday morning following, having succeeded in getting a temporary detail to my company of 30 men. With these I proceeded down the road and overtook your brigade just below the battle-field of the Tuesday previous; remained with you until the return of the division to its present position near the city without being in any other engagement. We fired between 700 and 800 shots, with what loss to the enemy I do not know.

I thus sum up my loss: Nine men killed and seriously wounded, per list annexed, besides several others slightly wounded, and 24 horses killed and seriously wounded, including the 2 killed on June 25.

I went into the engagement with 94 men and 4 officers. None of my men left their guns while they were in battery. Only two who were in the first engagement failed to be present in the second, and both of those sent me certificates of physicians that each had a foot so badly mashed as to unfit them for duty. Therefore, when all behaved so well I cannot draw any distinction, and shall always be contented if in the future all do their duty as well as they did on June 27, which was the first regular engagement the men were ever in.

Respectfully submitted, by your obedient servant,

WM. G. CRENSHAW,

Captain, Commanding Crenshaw Battery.

P. S.--We were fortunate enough to get all of our wounded into the city during the evening and night.

No. 341. -- Report of Capt. Marmaduke Johnson, Virginia Battery, of the battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill.

RICHMOND, VA., July 17, 1862.

GENERAL: I have just received your order directing me to report to you the part taken by my battery in the late combats before Richmond, accompanied with a list of the killed, wounded, missing, &c. I beg leave to state that I should have done this some time since but for continual and severe indisposition, on account of which I am now confined in my chamber.

It may not be impertinent to state that on Thursday, the 26th ultimo, I was under the command of Brigadier-General Branch, and marched my battery with his brigade from Brook Church to Mechanicsville, and arrived at that place late in the evening and but a short time before the battle ceased. I took my position behind some uncompleted breastworks erected by the enemy, and had hardly planted my battery when the order was given to cease firing. The breastworks were not in condition to be serviceable, and I kept my men all night hard at work in putting them in condition, so that they could be useful.

About daybreak the enemy s batteries, which had created so much havoc on the evening before, opened on me, and also most vigorously shelled all the quarters surrounding. I immediately replied, having the co-operation of none of the other batteries on the field, Captain Mcintosh having exhausted his ammunition the evening before, and Captain Pegram, I believe, having been ordered to hold his fire, so that this battle was contested alone by my battery and those of the enemy.

At 6 o'clock precisely I entirely silenced and repulsed them, they hastily leaving their works after having suffered very great damage, as was obvious from a subsequent visit to the intrenchments. During the two hours of this engagement the fire was unceasingly vigorous on both sides. The enemy had an almost perfect range, and he would have done serious injury to my command but for the fortunate protection of the breastworks mentioned.

I beg leave to say that too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men for the coolness and intrepidity manifested by them in this the first heavy engagement in which they had ever participated. In this engagement only 2 men and 2 horses were slightly wounded. Later in the day I marched to the scene of the bloody battle which took place on Friday, and quite late in the evening was ordered by General Lee to report with my battery to you, which I immediately did with all possible dispatch. You yourself were a personal witness to the behavior of the men and officers. You saw the fearless courage with which they stood and fought through that deadly fire until 20 of them fell, 10 horses killed and wounded, and the battery entirely disabled--exposed to the fire not only of the batteries of the enemy, but of sharpshooters, who could not be seen. You saw them silence one of the batteries and manfully resist others until by your orders I withdrew them from the field. It is needless, therefore, for me to assure [you] of my gratification at their behavior.

Accompanying I send you a list of the casualties, as directed.(*)

I have the honor, general, to be your most respectful and obedient servant,

MARMADUKE JOHNSON,

Captain.

No. 350. -- Report of Capt. L. Masters, commanding battery, of operations June 26-July 1, including the battle of Mechanicsville.

JULY 12, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the battery of rifled guns under my command from the 26th ultimo to the 1st [instant]:

Shortly before the action at Mechanicsville began the enemy withdrew from their works in front of me. In the progress of the action I saw that while the guns were useless if kept in the works built for them, if removed a few hundred yards to the right they could be used with effect against the heavy battery of the enemy near Beaver Dam Creek. I procured horses from Major Richardson and moved the gun, but when near the position I had selected General Longstreet ordered me to carry it about 1 ½ miles farther to the right, and be ready to open the next morning on an important position of the enemy which he intended to attack. This gun was placed in the position directed by him, and I open[ed] a rapid fire of 30-pounder shells (and, as I hear from an officer who was taken prisoner, with effect), which was continued until ordered by General Lee to cease, to enable the troops to charge over the ground I had been shelling.

I had no further opportunity of participating in the battles before Richmond, although by the orders of General Pendleton I was with one of the guns near Garnett's farm and both of them near the battleground of the 1st. The officers and men behaved well, laboring patiently and cheerfully to get the guns into the several positions to which I was ordered, especially Captains Milledge and Ancell, who accompanied me with detachments of men and horses from their companies. Respectfully, &c.,

L. MASTERS,

Captain, Provisional Army, C. S., Commanding Battery.

Captain MORGAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Light Division.

No. 333. -- Report of Capt. D.G. Mcintosh, Pee Dee (S. C.) Artillery, of the battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill.

HEADQUARTERS PER DEE ARTILLERY,

July 14, 1862.

GENERAL: In obedience to orders I submit herewith a report of the part taken by my command in the late combats before Richmond:

At about 4 p.m. on the afternoon of Thursday General Hill ordered me to engage the enemy's batteries to the rear of Mechanicsville, then shelling the head of our column. I took position behind a small breastwork of the enemy and opened upon them at a distance of about 700 yards, mine being, I believe, the first battery to open fire. After a few rounds one of the howitzers broke its axle and had to be sent to the rear. The fire from the other three pieces was continued with slight intermissions until about 9 o'clock, when I was ordered by General Hill to cease. The enemy at one time directed a fire against me from three points, but the only casualties which occurred was the killing of 4 horses. I had discharged when the firing ceased 160 rounds from each gun, and they became so warm during the action that it was with great difficulty the brass piece could be worked.

At daylight on Friday morning the firing was resumed on my side slowly, as I had but little ammunition left. At 8 o'clock, having expended every round, I withdrew.

The casualties on this morning were--1 man, Private J. T. McLindon, killed and Private Newgas severely wounded. One horse was also killed. I carried into this action 70 men, exclusive of officers.

At 12 m., having received a supply of ammunition, I followed the division and overtook it at Cold Harbor.

During the afternoon you ordered a section of the battery into action. The first section was carried in, but after firing two or three rounds and finding no artillery opposed to me, and the smoke too great to tell friend from foe and reporting the same to you, I was ordered to retire. In this action Sergeant Hepburn was wounded in the arm.

On the battle-days of Monday and Tuesday I was frequently with the battery under fire, but took no part in either action.

Respectfully submitted.

D.G. McINTOSH,

Captain.

Brig. Gen. MAXCY GREGG,

Commanding Second Brigade.