Numbers 109. Report of Captain Alonzo Snow,
Battery B, Maryland Light Artillery, of the battle of Malvern Hill.
CAMP ARTILLERY RESERVE, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Harrison's Landing, July 4, 1862.
SIR: About noon on Tuesday last, July 1, when in column at camp near James River next above this camp, I was ordered by yourself to move my battery forward to General Porter's headquarters and await further orders. Colonel Hunt there ordered me to report at once to General Griffin out on the road by which the battery fell back from White Oak Swamp. On reporting, the general directed me to General Couch, who placed the battery in a corn field on the right of the road in rear of the battery then playing on the enemy. Afterward I was placed on the right of the line of battle by General Howe, in a field of oats, and before I got into position the enemy opened upon us from a battery in a field of wheat opposite, well masked by stacked and standing grain. After a fire of thirty minutes the enemy were driven from the field, one piece with its team and men certainly destroyed. Shortly after another battery in the same field, about 200 yards nearer to us and to the right of the position of their farther battery, opened on us, to which we replied, and after about a half hour's fire drove it from its position.
During this time the enemy's sharpshooters drew up in a wooded ravine and annoyed us severely, wounding two of my men badly. The colonel commanding the infantry support was repeatedly begged by myself and first lieutenant to drive them out, but did not comply. The myself and first lieutenant to drive them out, but did not comply. The enemy's batteries an order came to send a section toward the left of the line. The left section, in charge of Lieutenant Vanneman, moved off at once, and in obedience to a second order the center section, under Lieutenant Kidd, was sent out also, leaving the right section, under Lieutenant Gerry, on the right. I had fired some canister into the ravine to silence the enemy's sharpshooters, but some remained and continued their fire upon us. The right piece had a canister lodged in the bore, and although tremendous efforts were made to disengage it all failed, and I was compelled to send it back to camp. Whilst in this position I had 4 men wounded and 4 horses killed.
Leaving the right section, I proceeded along the line and found Lieutenant Vanneman's section in action in a hot fire about the center and Lieutenant Kidd's on the left of the line of battle. Both of these sections were exposed to a heavy fire of musketry during the remainder of the battle, and by their gallantry drew forth the praise of officers and cheers from the troops. My battery remained thus divided until the close of the fight, when they were separated and ordered to cease firing and fall back to camp, the remaining piece of the right section with the last of the caissons being the last to leave the field, between 9 and 10 o'clock at night. I used 688 rounds during the engagement, but having long fuse, rendering it necessary to cut them, and a large number of rounds having been expended after night, I cannot give as full report of the efficiency of the fuse and shell as may be desirable. Those used at the batteries did excellent execution at the different ranges of about 1,200 and 1,500 yards.