opposite side and moving to the left toward the bridge I found that the enemy had retired to Mechanicsville, more than a mile farther back. I here rejoined the rest of the brigade that had crossed by the brigade.
It was now, and for some time had been, quite dark. I threw out, by General Davidson's directions, two companies of pickets, and were several times fired upon by them during the night. Shots were thus received as late as 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th. The rest of the regiment slept on their arms.
at daybreak on the next morning the brigade was placed in position for battle. By the order of General Davidson I put my regiment in line of battle in an open field to the right of the road and moved it forward toward the village. On approaching the summit of a gentle acclivity about a quarter of a mile in front of the village the enemy opened upon us with shell, canister, and solid, and solid shot. The men did not recoil, but continued to advance. By General Davidson' order I soon halted the regiment, the fire of the enemy continuing and increasing. I then commanded, "Down, men! down@" when the men fell to the ground, and the shot of the enemy passed over them, doing little damage. At length, by the command of General Davidson, for the double purpose of giving place to Wheeler's battery and taking a less exposed position, I moved the regiment some 20 or 30 rods to the right, and halted in a gentle hollow in the field, receiving several discharges of canister and shell from the enemy's guns while moving to and after taking that position.
Wheeler's battery then most effectually riddled the village, driving the enemy's sharpshooters out of the buildings, and causing his artillery to reply at longer and still longer intervals until it was silent. General Davidson then commanded me to charge upon, seize, and hold the village. Breaking my regiment into column by companies I put them on a double-quick, and with a prolonged and defiant shout they rushed toward the village and the foe. The enemy's artillery dashed down the road toward Richmond; his infantry, many of the men throwing off their knapsacks, ran across a broad field in rear of the village and into the wood. The village and the enemy's position were taken. Two of my companies, deployed as skirmishers, followed the retreating enemy through the field and through the adjoining wood. We had that pleasure of capturing an artillery or cavalry flag from the enemy. It is the "Stars and Bars," and bears the motto, "Victory of death." We took one prisoner, who wounded so late in the engagement that he had not been sent to the rear.
I ought not to conclude this report without expressing my conviction that had the plans and orders of the general commanding been less skillful and considerate this regiment would have to mourn some scores of slain, whereas it sustained a loss of 1 killed and 6 wounded.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McKEAN,
Colonel Seventy-seventh Regiment N. Y. S. Volunteers.
Lieutenant WILLIAM H. LONG.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.