War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0223 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

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tated the gradual withdrawal of our right. The commanding general, however, left me, with the intention of deciding, on information he should receive on arrival at his own headquarters, whether I should remain where I was and hold Beaver Creek, or retire to a position selected by General Barnard near Gaines' Mill. General Barnard remained with me to conduct my command to the new position, if decided upon to withdraw from Mechanicsville.

Immediately after pointing out to me the new ground, General Barnard left me, to represent the state of affairs to the major-general commanding and the necessity for additional troops, and also to send me axes, that the proper defenses might to some degree be prepared. In accordance with the orders of the major-general commanding for this end, received about 2 a. m. on the 27th, the retirement from Mechanicsville was begun at daylight of Friday, the 27th June. The brigade of General Seymour was the last to start, and that force, under its gallant and skillful commander, most coolly retired, covering the march of the other forces, occupying the attention of the foe so perfectly that ample time was allowed for all, horse, foot, and artillery, wagons and wounded, to reach their designated posts in the line where a new stand was to be made before crossing the Chickahominy. The guns of position were safely removed from the works we were about to abandon-works overlooking New Bridge-and during the action of the same afternoon did us good auxiliary service by the fire from Smith's position beyond the Chickahominy. On the open plain near those works were posted Tidball's and Robertson's Horse Batteries, which carefully watched the road and secured the retiring troops from the enemy, now pressing upon Seymour's brave band. All finally got securely back within the lines selected for the next stand, near the upper bridges, in use by our forces.

General Stoneman during the events above described was in command of the force which was detailed to guard the region reaching from Meadow Bridges to the Pamunkey. To his cavalry force was added the Seventeenth New York and Eighteenth Massachusetts Regiments. By the movements of the enemy this command became cut off from its connection with the remainder of my corps, and was therefore ordered to White House to aid in securing the Government property at that point. The troops have since safely rejoined me via the York and James Rivers. The actions in which my corps was engaged followed each other in such rapid succession after this auspicious opening that it was not possible between each two to make a report of losses. The sad list of good soldiers whose loss reduced my noble corps by so large a part of its numbers in so short a space of time must be made up in one report, bearing date after the last of five battles fought by us in five successive days.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Asst. Adjt. General, Headquarters Army of the Potomac.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH PROVISIONAL CORPS, Camp at Harrison's Landing, Va., July 7, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that on Friday, the 27th of June, after the successful withdrawal of the right wing of the army