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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 399 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

mond northward, roads diverge to Meadow Bridge, Hanover Court-House, to Cold Harbor, and along the Chickahominy, these two last intersecting the position on the Beaver Dam.

The approach of the rebel forces was announced on the morning of the 26th. Mechanicsville was then occupied by the Fifth, Colonel Simmons. A few companies of the First Rifles, Major Stone, were on picket duty near Meadow Bridge, and the Eighth Illinois Cavalry. Colonel Farnsworth, patrolled the roads toward Hanover Court-House for several miles. It was by this last route that the enemy first came down, but soon after heavy columns crossed at Meadow Bridge and above. The Bucktails made resistance, and one company, Captain Irvin, holding ground too eagerly, was surrounded and fell into the enemy's hands.

From the Chickahominy northward the line of battle was as follows:

Twelfth, Tenth, Eighth, Fifth, Bucktails and Sharpshooters, Second and First. The Ninth was in reserve on the left; the Fourth on the right. The immediate crossing at Ellison's Mill was held by the Twelfth, Colonel Taggart, supported by a section of Cooper's battery, under Lieutenant Fullerton, and still farther on a section of Smead's battery, Fifth Artillery, under Lieutenant Van Reed, and Easton's battery (all light 12-pounders) swept the road in advance of the point. The center was occupied by Captain De Hart's battery and by a section of Kerns' battery, while the right road was held by the Fifth and Bucktails with the right section of Smead's battery and the remaining four guns of Cooper. The remaining four guns of Kerns' were on the extreme right. Martindale's and Griffin's brigades came up after the engagement commenced and deployed upon our right toward Shady Grove, where the ground was open and our position might have been turned.

As the rebels came down in great force and commenced crossing the plateau in front of our line the artillery opened upon them with excellent practice. Lieutenant Van Reed smote the head of one column so sharply with shot and shell that it broke and fled. The ground immediately in front was soon occupied by skirmishers. Artillery came up rapidly, and about 4 o'clock the engagement became general along the line. The brunt of the action was borne by those regiments that were nighest the crossings. From rifle pits and parapets (previously prepared at these points) a close fire was kept up, under which column after column, advancing by the two roads, and endeavoring to force a passage, melted away or retired. On our right the Second, Lieutenant-Colonel McCandless, held a ford against superior numbers, experiencing considerable loss, but gallantly repulsing every attempt of the enemy, and here the Fourth Michigan and four companies of the Fourteenth New York (Griffin's brigade) were engaged and rendered important service.

About sunset the left of our line, being threatened, was re-enforced by a portion of the Second Brigade and by Edwards' battery, Third U. S. Artillery, of six 3-inch rifles. As night fell the fire slackened, but not until after dark did it cease entirely, and both sides laid upon their arms. Through the night the cries of wounded and suffering rebels came plainly to our ears and attested the vigor of our defense.

Soon after midnight orders, in pursuance with the commands of the general-in-chief, were received to withdraw. This difficult movement was executed on the right by General Reynolds, the Bucktails, under Major Stone, being the rear guard, and on the left, under my supervision, by the Ninth, Colonel Jackson. In the early morning, as soon as object were visible, a sharp fire recommenced on both sides, under


Page 399 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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