I moved on a short distance beyond Gaines' house, halted, and breakfasted. While breakfasting two of my caissons which had been sent back for ammunition the day before overtook me. The remainder of that day, June 28, and the whole day of June 29 I remained stationary near the infantry of the brigade.
At 2 a. m. June 30 I accompanied the brigade until it reached the vicinity of White Oak Swamp, where it halted. After reconnoitering with Major Crutchfield, chief of General Jackson's artillery, the position of the enemy, who was strongly posted on the hills covering the bridge over the White Oak Creek, I took charge of a pioneer corps and cut a road by which our artillery could get, without the observation of the enemy, behind the crest of the hill on our side of the creek, and come into action before the enemy could get our range. This having been accomplished, I advanced with the other batteries of General D. H. Hill's division, and all, coming promptly into action at a signal from Major Crutchfield, opened a sudden fire on the enemy. The effect of this five was soon seen upon the enemy; the riflemen fled from their pits in front of their cannon, one or two of their ammunition chests exploded, and in a short time they abandoned their position, leaving three of their guns. Our cavalry then forded the stream and advanced partly up the hill, but found that the enemy, though driven from the hill covering the bridge, still held a position ranking the road on the other side. After some time the enemy, who had been silenced and driven from his first position, again renewed the fight, but at long range, which gave him immense advantage with his Parrott guns. He had also the advantage of knowing our position, while he was effectually screened by a thick wood, concealing even the smoke of his guns. The fight was kept up slowly, however, until evening put an end to the contest. I lost in this engagement 2 men killed and 5 wounded; also 1 horse killed.
Next day all the artillery of General D. H. Hill's division were ordered back to Seven Pines to rest, for they had been marching and fighting up to this time constantly in advance of General Jackson's army. I therefore returned to Seven Pines, where we rested one day, and again joined General D. H. Hill's division.
From that time my battery accompanied the brigade in all its movements until the evening of July 9, when, by order of Major Pierson, I marched beyond Bear Swamp Creek before bivouacking.
The next morning I marched back to my camp on the Williamsburg road with two of my guns and all of my caissons, my howitzers being sent back under Lieutenant Gilbert to White Oak Creek to protect the rear of our army. Lieutenant Gilbert came into camp at 9 p.m. the same day.
My casualties in these engagements were as follows: Killed, 2; severely wounded, 5; slightly wounded, 12; stragglers, none. My loss in horses was, killed, 2; wounded, 9.
I am happy to state that the conduct of both officers and men was highly creditable and worthy of our cause.
With great respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
A. BURNET RHETT,
Captain Light Artillery, Commanding.
Captain LEO. D. WALKER,