No. 50 Report of Colonel Nelson Taylor,
Seventy-second New York Infantry, of battle of Malvern Hill.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD REGIMENT, EXCELSIOR BRIGADE.
Camp near Harrison's Landing, James River, Va., July 4, 1862
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the regiment under my command in the attack made by the enemy upon the corps of General Porter and division of General Couch on the 1st instant:
At about half an hour before sunset notice was given me that the brigade was ordered to support General Porter. The brigade in going to support marched left in front, my regiment being upon the left of the brigade. Upon approaching the scene of action after some delay, which was occasioned by the difficulty of finding the precise point where a support was needed, General Porter appeared and directed the brigadier-general commanding the brigade to support with his command two batteries, which were then stationed to the right and rear of a large farm-house. By direction of the brigadier-general commanding the brigade my regiment was immediately formed in line to the left and rear of the left battery. In a few moments I was directed by General Porter to report to General Couch, who held the right of the position, and who, it was said, needed support.
Soon several officers, representing themselves to be of General Couch's staff, appeared, and in answer to my inquiry where to place my regiment, commenced to give a variety of directions, which were confused and conflicting. After some difficulty I found an aide of General Couch, who informed me that my regiment was to go to the front of a piece of woods behind which the artillery was posted. I moved my regiment by the right flank up a narrow road on the left of this piece of woods until I reached an open field on the right skirted on three sides by woods, and in this field our forces were engaging the enemy. I was to form my regiment in line and to relieve the Thirty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, who were on the right of another regiment of Union troops-the Sixty-first New York, I think-and both engaging the enemy.
Soon forming my regiment in line in rear of the Thirty-first Pennsylvania they began to withdrawn by the left flank, and as soon as sufficient space was opened by their withdrawal for a company to advance I pushed forward my regiment by companies, commencing with my right company, and directed each company as it was unmasked to commence firing by file. This was done, and when the front of the whole regiment was unmasked I advanced the line to the same ground as that occupied by the Thirty-first Pennsylvania.
Having been previously directed by General Porter, in the presence of the brigadier-general commanding the brigade, not to advance beyond the position then held by the regiment which I was to relieve, I maintained this same ground throughout the rest of the action. The enemy I found to be posted in my front in the edge of the woods, and also in the woods to my right and nearer to my line there than in front. I then threw back the two right companies so as to form an oblique line,and directed them to silence the fire coming from the woods on the right and directed the rest of the regiment to take care of the fire
10 R R-VOL XI, PT II