Numbers 255. Reports of Brigadier General Isaac R. Trimble,
C. S. Army, commanding Seventh Brigade, of operations June 26-July 4, including battles of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill and skirmish at Westover.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTH BRIGADE.
Orange County, near Liberty Mills, Va., July 28, 1862
GENERAL: In compliance with orders I submit a report of the conduct and operations of the Seventh Brigade from June 26 to July 3:
On the 26th we moved with the army from Ashland i a southerly direction, passing to the east of Mechanicsville in the afternoon, and at 4 p.m. heard distinctly the volleys of artillery and musketry in the engagement of General Hill with the enemy.
Before sundown the firing was not more than 2 miles distant, and in my opinion we should have marched to the support of General Hill that evening.
On the 27th line of battle was formed at-roads by 8 o'clock, after which we marched toward Cold Harbor, passing near-Church. At this point, distant 1 1/2 miles from Cold Harbor line of battle was again formed at about 3.30 p.m. and the advance ordered. After marching half a mile the front was changed considerably to the left and orders received to hasten to the front in the direction of the enemy's fire. On reaching the vicinity of Cold Harbor our front was again changed toward the left under a heavy fire of the adverse artillery, and the point indicated where we were to engage the enemy, with the impressive caution that the troops already engaged were hotly pressed.
By order of General Ewell I took the Fifteenth Alabama, Colonel Cantey, the leading regiment, down the road leading from Cold Harbor to McGehee's farm crossed the swamp, and placed this and the Twenty-first Georgia Regiment commanded by Major T. W. Hooper, in position to advance. The Sixteenth Mississippi and Twenty-first North Carolina Regiments in the confusion were cut off and separated from us by several regiments which were marching out of action in such good order as showed they had fallen back without hard fighting.
The two regiments were ordered to advance, and soon encountered a furious discharge of musketry, shot, and shell from the well-selected position of the enemy. Several regiments were met falling back and leaving the field. We continued slowly to advance through a dense woods, met by a perfect sheet of fire, under which the killed and wounded were falling fast in our ranks. Still the brave fellows pressed on, followed by a Virginia and a Texas regiment, which took an active part in the action.
General Ewell being on this part of the field directing the movements and encouraging the men with conspicuous bravery, whose presence alone held the men in position for over an hour and a half under this terrific fire, I returned to bring up the Sixteenth Mississippi and Twenty-first North Carolina Regiments, with Major Wharton's battalion.
I met General Whiting near the Cold Harbor House, who had just rode up and asked me where he had better carry in his division. Convinced that our efforts were too much concentrated in the previous direction, causing much confusion in a dense wood, with the risk of firing on our own me (as I ma sure had been done), I strongly advised him to meet the enemy half a mile or more to our right (north), so as to flank the force in our front or encounter a separate body of the foe. After results showed that General Whiting's selection of the point