War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0289 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Original Records

movements, of the Army of the Potomac in the months of June and July last, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the First Brigade of your division, then commanded by me:

After the interval which has since transpired I should fail in making a report from memory satisfactory to myself, but it happened that on the 4th and 5th days of July I prepared a written account of the events through which I had just passed and which, omitting incidents of a purely personal nature, is almost literally transcribed in the following report:

It is proper to premise that the infantry troops of the Fifth Provisional Army Corps then consisted of Sykes' and Morell's division and Berdan's regiment of Sharpshooters, under the command of Brigadier General Fitz John Porter; that Morell's division consisted of three brigades, as follows: First Brigade, commanded by the undersigned; Second Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General C. Griffin; Third Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General D. Butterfield. My brigade consisted of six regiments, viz, Eighteenth Massachusetts, Colonel James Barnes commanding; Twenty-fifth New York, Major Gilber, commanding; Twenty-second Massachusetts, Colonel Gove commanding; Second Maine, Colonel C. W. Roberts commanding; Thirteenth New York, Colonel Marshall commanding; First Michigan, Colonel H. S. Roberts commanding.

On Wednesday, the 25th of June, my brigade was encamped near Dr. Curtis' house, in the valley of the Chickahominy, about 1 mile from New Bridge and 7 miles from Richmond. Near night I received orders to detail a regiment of 500 men at least to go with General Stoneman on a reconnaissance. I detailed the Eighteenth Massachusetts. The Seventeenth New York, of Butterfield's brigade, was detailed for the same service. They were to leave as early as 5 o'clock in the morning of the 26th.

At 6 o'clock in the morning the regiment and expedition had left. In the course of the forenoon of the 26th I received a notice to repair to General Porter's quarters. There I learned that intelligence had been received that a strong demonstration against our right and our communications with the Pamunkey at White House was apprehended and to be guarded against. I was instructed to have our wagons all loaded and packed and to move with my brigade to the rear of and above Mechanicsville about three-quarters of a miles, and to form on the Hanover Court-House road to guard against any approach in that direction. The brigade was soon under arms and moved rapidly about 3 miles way and near to McCall's division, ready to resist any effort to turn his right and assail him in the rear. At this place Colonel Farnsworth was encamped with a body of cavalry. I proceeded more than 2 miles farther toward Hanover Court-house with a small escort furnished to me by Colonel Farnsworth, until it was reported to me by the scouts that the woods and grounds in front were full of rebels. I then formed my brigade in line of battle in a strong position about half a mile in advance of the Mechanicsville road. Afterwards I received peremptory orders from General Porter to withdraw from the line I had taken. I did so a very short distance. The battle had opened on our left nearer to Mechanicsville. I sent out the Thirteenth New York and Twenty-second Massachusetts to support General Reynolds, who was commanding in that direction, and waited the demonstration against my front. The fire was very hot on the Mechanicsville side. My regiments were not much exposed to it. The Twenty-second Massachusetts lost there but 4 men killed. In my front the enemy

19 R R-VOL XI, PT II