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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 278 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Volunteers, the only surviving colonel of the Second Brigade, for promotion.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. W. MORELL,

Brigadier-General.

Captain FRED. T. LOCKE, Assistant Adjutant-General.


Numbers 113. Report of Colonel Hiram Berdan,

First U. S. Sharpshooters, of the battles of Gaines' Mill, Glendale, or Nelson's Farm (Frazier's Farm), and Malvern Hill.


HEADQUARTERS BERDAN'S SHARPSHOOTERS,
Camp on James River, Harrison's Landing, July 4, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to orders I marched the portion of my command not on detached service late in the afternoon of the 26th ultimo with the Second Brigade. We lay on our arms all night, and retired on the morning of the 27th ultimo as far as ordered, and I then posted my men in front of the Second Brigade, on the farther side of the woods in which the principal action of the day occurred, the First Brigade being on our left and the Ninth Massachusetts on our right.

About 1.30 p.m. the enemy advanced in line of battle the whole length of the woods. My men had good cover, and so rapid was our fire from our breech-loading guns we repulsed the enemy with great loss. They were also repulsed on our left, but the Ninth Massachusetts fell back some 300 yards in disorder, where it reformed. This made it necessary to bring my right back to prevent being outflanked.

We received and repulsed the enemy a second time, as did the troops on our left. At this charge the Ninth Massachusetts fell back altogether. We held the same position during the third charge, repulsing the enemy with great loss, but finding that at this time the lines of the First and Third Brigades were broken on our left and that our supports were falling back, we also fell back in good order.

When I arrived on the field in the rear of the woods (*) I saw not less than 12,000 of our men and officers, each apparently making quick-time for the bridge. Only a few of the enemy's cavalry would have been necessary to create a stampede. In this event the most of our force would have been inevitably lost. Seeing no effort made to rally the men, I rode through them to the right and left, appealing to the officers to get the men together, and I would go down to the bridge and bring up the rear. The bridge was full when I reached it, and finding my appeals to the officers and men of no avail, I drew my pistol and threatened to shoot the first officer or man who passed me, and finding these threats of no use, I fired several shots over their heads before I succeed in checking the rush, which had become almost a panic at this point. I forced them into line without reference to regiment or rank. I regret that I have not the names of some line officers who were more determined on crossing than the men, if possible. Others saw the importance of forming lines, if only for the appearance of order, to deter the enemy from attacking us, and rendered valuable assistance.

In about a half hour we reached the top of the hill with four battalions, varying from 600 to 2,000. Here I halted, them, and compelled the stragglers in front to form. Many a brave officer had responded to


Page 278 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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