manding, toward Old Church, and retained the Second, General Griffin's, with Weeden's First Rhode Island Battery, in camp. The Third was subsequently ordered to go no further than Cold Harbor.
Early in the afternoon the attack of the enemy was developed at Mechanicsville, and I was ordered to go there with the Second Brigade, and to recall the Third and direct it to follow me. I arrived at Mechanicsville, or Beaver Creek, between 5 and 6 o'clock, and found McCall's division Pennsylvania Reserves closely engaged on the defensive. His right, under General Reynolds, was severely pressed, and I ordered General Griffin to support him and take care of the interval between him and General Martindale. Two of Griffin's regiments, the Fourteenth New York Volunteers, Colonel McQuade, and the Fourth Michigan, Colonel Woodbury, became almost immediately engaged; the other two, the Ninth Massachusetts, Colonel Cass, Sixty-second Pennsylvania, Colonel Black, and Weeden's battery, were held in reserve. The action continued until after dark, our troops repelling the enemy and maintaining their ground. As soon as the Second Brigade, was in position I rode to General Martindale, who was near Richardson's. Three of his regiments, Thirteenth New York, Twenty-second Massachusetts, and First Michigan, had been slightly engaged in the early part of the action. The Third Brigade returned from Cold Harbor, and was placed in line of battle in rear of General Sykes' division by General Porter, between his headquarters and Gaines' Mill, and remained under his immediate orders until we formed line of battle the next day. Toward morning it removed by hand the heavy guns from the battery near Hogan's house to the hill near Watts' and Adams', to cover the retrograde movement of the troops from Mechanicsville.
About 1 o'clock a.m. Friday orders were received from General Porter for the whole line at Mechanicsville to retire beyond Gaines' Mill and take a position in that vicinity, which movement, begun on the right just before daybreak, was successfully executed, the rear being covered by Seymour's brigade, McCall's division. We reached our old camping ground at Gaines' Mill about 7 a.m. Our wagons had been packed and sent over the Chickahominy near general headquarters the evening previous. A small quantity of commissary and ordnance stores were not removed, and as for want of transportation (some of which was absent at White House) they could not be, they were destroyed, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. We then retired about a mile beyond Gaines' Mill to Mrs. Watts' farm, near New Cold Harbor, and under General Porter's orders formed line of battle.
From Gaines' Mill to a distance beyond New Cold Harbor the road is bordered on the southerly side by woods. Near New Cold Harbor a small, shallow stream of water flows southerly between steep banks of equal height (say 30 feet), passing 150 or 200 yards west of Watts' house, and having on each side to the edge of the table-land a belt of timber, which diminishes in width and terminates where the stream strikes the bottom-land of the Chickahominy. On the east side the table-land ascends gradually some 1,200 or 1,500 yards to Adams' house, where it falls of abruptly toward the river. On the west the ground is also open and rolling to Dr. Gaines' house.
The Third Brigade, General Butterfield, which during the night had been under the immediate command of General Porter, was posted by him behind this stream, with its left in the southerly extremity of the belt of timber, and being directed to place my other two brigades also in this timber, I posted the First, General Martindale, on the right of the third, and the Second, General Griffin, on the right of the First,