War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0256 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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dead on the field and many were badly wounded. Captain Thompson's battery had opened fire also, and being on the same line with our caissons it was impossible to move up the limber of the caissons, so I ordered them to leave the field.

When the enemy entered the battery they drove the cannoneers (who had up to this time kept up the fire) from their posts at the point of the bayonet, and took Lieutenant Hill, who was badly wounded, a prisoner. It was impossible to stop all our frightened, flying supports, but I rallied a few companies, and with them charged the battery and retook it, one of their officers recapturing Lieutenant Hill; but we could not hold our advantage. The enemy were within 50 yards, charging again, and I was obliged to leave the field.

I found two caissons and four limbers and the bulk of the men of my battery on the road about half a mile from the battle-field, and proceeded with them to the hospital, where the wounded of my battery had been carried. Soon afterward I moved the remnant of the battery, carrying all my wounded except 2 to City Point, where I reported in person to the colonel. My loss during the action was 2 killed and 8 wounded. Thirty-eight horses were killed and 8 wounded. I also lost six light 12-pounder guns, four caissons partially packed, and two limbers.

The regiment that pretended to support the battery was the Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves. They acted very badly, rushing forward as if to charge the enemy, receiving one volley, breaking and running, notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts of General Meade and his staff to rally them.

I would particularly call your attention to the conduct of my officers and men during the engagement. It was gallant and meritorious in the extreme, although almost completely worn-out by frequent picket duty and long and tedious marches night and day; yet they performed their duty willingly and cheerfully, and manfully stood by their guns till (being unarmed) they were driven from them at the point of the bayonet. Lieutenant Hill, who was badly wounded, taken prisoner, but retaken, acted with commendable bravery and coolness, and was one of the last to leave the field. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the conduct of Lieutenant E. W. Olcott during the whole engagement; constantly active, ever foremost in the fray, endeavoring to rally our panic-stricken supports by voice and action, it was a miracle he was not killed. After we had been driven from the battery he joined Captain Thompson, and did noble duty as cannoneer to one of his guns. He left the field with me, but after we had assembled the remnants of the battery he returned and acted as volunteer aide to one of our generals. All my non-commissioned officers performed their duty with great gallantry, and where all did so nobly it would seem invidious to make any distinction among them; but I would particularly recommend for promotion my first sergeant, James Chester, who commanded the center section of the battery, and exhibited qualities which eminently fit him for a higher position than the one he now fills. The greater part of my command were in the attacks on Forst Sumter and Pickens, and they did not belie the almost world-wide reputation they there obtained for bravery, skill, and endurance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding Battery E.


U. S. Army, Commanding Second Brigade, Artillery Reserve.