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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 384 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.


Numbers 154. Reports of Brigadier General George A. McCall,

U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Glendale, or Nelson's Farm (Frazier's Farm).


HEADQUARTERS McCALL'S DIVISION,
Camp near Harrison's Landing, August 12, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith a report of the operations of my division in the battles before Richmond on the 26th, 27th, and 30th June last, my capture by the enemy at the close of the battle of the 30th and subsequent detention in prison at Richmond having necessarily deferred my report until the present day.

On the afternoon of the 19th June I received your orders requiring the "greater part" of my division to move forward from Gaines' farm, where I was then encamped, about 2 1/2 miles from Mechanicsville, and relieve Taylor's brigade, of Franklin's division, at the above-named village, then the extreme right of the Army of the Potomac. In accordance with this order I directed the First and Third Brigades, commanded respectively by Brigadier Gens. J. F. Reynolds and T. Seymour, to proceed to Beaver Dam Creek, 1 mile this side of Mechanicsville, and occupy a strong position on its left bank near its junction with the Chickahominy, and thence to throw forward to the heights in front of Mechanicsville one regiment and a battery to relieve Taylor, and to post a strong line of pickets from the Mechanicsville Bridge to the Meadow Bridge. The position selected on the Beaver Dam Creek was naturally a strong one, the left resting on the Chickahominy and the right extending to thick woods beyond the upper Mechanicsville road, which were occupied. The passage of the Beaver Dam Creek was difficult throughout the greater part of my front, and, with the exception of the roads crossing at Ellison's Mill and that above mentioned, impracticable for artillery. On the right of the last-named road an epaulement calculated for four pieces of field artillery was thrown up and rifle pits for a regiment each were constructed in advance of each brigade. Cooper's battery of six 10-pounder Parrott guns on the right of the upper road and Smead's battery (regular) of four 12-pounder guns on the left commanded that approach. De Hart's battery (regular) of six 12-pounder guns was near the front-center, commanding a more distant view of the same road and also the lower road direct to Mechanicsville. I held in reserve the Second Brigade (Meade's) in front of Gaines' farm, ready to act either in support of Reynolds and Seymour to oppose the crossing at New Bridge should the enemy attempt it.

In this position I awaited any movements the enemy might initiate. Cobb's Legion, of the Confederate, was encamped within view on the opposite side of the Chickahominy, and A. P. Hill's division about a cannon-shot to the rear, detachments from both of which held two redoubts and an extensive line of rifle pits along the crest of the highlands overlooking the river.

At about noon on the 26th the enemy was discovered to be in motion, and at 12.30 p.m. our pickets at Meadow Bridge were driven in by the advancing column of the enemy, and those along the road were ordered to fall back. Soon afterward, when the head of his column approached, my infantry and artillery in front of Mechanicsville were recalled. I now ordered forward Meade's brigade, and directed them to occupy ground in rear of the line, where they would be out of the range of


Page 384 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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