No. 25. Report of Colonel Samuel W. Black,
Sixty-second, Pennsylvania Infantry, of engagement May 27.
HDQRS. SIXTY-SECOND PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, Gaines' Mill, May 30, 1862.
COLONEL: Until our return to the camp it was not in my power to report the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Hanover Court-House. On Tuesday, the 27th instant, after a march of about ten hours, we were halted nearly 2 miles beyond the ground occupied by General Martindale with a portion of his brigade. The report that he was about to be attacked by a very large force from the rear was confirmed by rapid and heavy firing. By your order we returned our steps, moving left in front, following the Fourteenth New York and followed by the Ninth and Fourth Michigan.
Having passed through a large wheat field the Fourteenth New York filed to the left and front of the woods, from which the enemy were pouring a very fierce fire. I was ordered to enter the woods about 150 yards from the front and take the enemy on the flank. This order was executed as rapidly as the nature of the ground would allow. A deep ravine and swamp were passed, and on the crest of the high ground beyond I was enabled to form a very fair line and deliver a destructive fire. A few folleys drove the enemy from our front into quick retreat. A large part of their force breaking to the right and rear, I instantly moved by the right flank and struck the railroad. By this movement I uncovered the Ninth Massachusetts, which pushed forward through the woods to the open field in front. I ordered the two right companies, L and A, to pursue up the railroad, while I crossed the road into the woods with the rest of the regiment.
Obliquing to the left I came into an open field on the skirt of another wood. I paused, closed up the line, and had a good view of the rebels, making a stand at some distance to the left and front, against the fire of the Ninth Massachusetts and Griffin's battery. As quickly as possible I pushed forward by the edge of the wood, to try and cut off the rebels from what I supposed would be their line of retreat. About half a mile forward the woods projected some distance, and through these I sent Captain Wright with four companies from the right as skirmishers, deployed at close intervals, and moved on with the remainder of the regiment.
Before we could reach the enemy's flank and rear he broke before the presume on the left and fled, however not before we had done him some damage and captured a number of prisoners. The recall having been sounded, I called in the skirmishers from the wood, turned back, and joined the Ninth Massachusetts at --- house.
In the course of the afternoon's operations we captured 81 prisoners, including 7 officers. From a great many arms taken about 75 were brought into camp.
By the annexed statement it will be seen that our loss is only 6 men wounded, none killed, and not one missing.* I would do the brave and faithful men I have the honor to command injustice if I refrained from expressing in strong terms my admiration of their conduct from first to last. In common with the other regiments of your brigade they went into action with their bodies broken by fatigue and their physical
*Embodied in return,p.685.
46 R R-VOL XI