Numbers 252. Report of Major General Richard S. Ewell,
C. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of skirmishers at Hundley's Corner, battles of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill, and skirmish at Westover.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,
Near Somerset, Va., August 4, 1862
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of my division in the recent operations before Richmond:
The march from Ashland and the movements preliminary to the first at Gaines' Mill were all made under the immediate direction of the major-general commanding. I need only mention that in the skirmish at Hundley's Corner, on Thursday evening, the First Maryland and Thirteenth Virginia, and in that on the next day the Thirteenth Virginia and Sixth Louisiana, were the regiments engaged.
On Friday, having formed line along the edge of a wood, I was ordered to throw skirmishers across a field on my right into a wood some 400 yards distant, in which the enemy were understood to be posted, and to follow them with my main body.
The skirmishers passed through the wood without becoming engaged, but before the division reached it orders came to turn more to the left, as heavy firing was heard in that direction. Before arriving at the field of battle I was met by Colonel Taylor, of General Lee's staff, sent to bring up re-enforcements, and received directions for the march of my division.
On nearing the battle ground I ordered the Fourth Brigade, General Elzey, into the woods on the left of the road passing from Gaines' house toward McGehee's, and as my other two brigades were not yet up I took advantage of the interval to report to General Lee, who ordered me to hurry up my division as rapidly as possible, indicating where it was to take part in the action. I accordingly ordered the Seventh Brigade, General Trimble, and the Eighth Brigade, Colonel Seymour, into the woods on the right of the road, and by General Lee's instructions, sent back Captain G. Campbell Brown, assistant adjutant-general, to bring up the divisions of Generals Jackson and Whiting and Lawton's brigade.
Having crossed the branch and commenced the ascent of the hill, my division soon became warmly engaged with the enemy. The density of the woods and the nature of the ground were such as to prevent any extended view; and this fact, together with the importance of holding the position occupied by the Louisiana Brigade, and that portion of Trimble's which was on its left, now severely pressed by the enemy, made it necessary to confine my exertions mainly to that locality. These troops were attacked in front and flank by superior numbers, and were for hours without re-enforcements. The Louisiana Brigade, having sustained a very severe loss in field officers, besides suffering in rank and file, was driven off the field, but the line was held by part of Trimble's brigade consisting of a portion of the Fifteenth Alabama Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Trentlen (Colonel Cantey with the balance having accidentally become separated from the regiment), and the Twenty-first Georgia Regiment, under Major Hooper. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of these troops, which were immediately under my observation. They were opposed to constantly renewed forces of the enemy, and held their ground against vastly