War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0273 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

the whole forming almost a straight line, slightly convex, facing to the west, and in its general direction a prolongation of General W. F. Smith's, from which it was separated by the bottom land and the Chickahominy, his being on the south side of the river. Some of his guns, however, commanded part of the open country between my left front and Dr. Gaines' house, and rendered good service during the battle. The Third and First Brigade were each in two lines, with small intervals; the second in one line, with one regiment in reserve. Martin's battery was in the open field between my division and General Sykes', on my right, mine being on the extreme left. A section of Weeden's, under Lieutenant Buckley, was placed at an opening through the timber in General Martindale's line, and a section of Allen's in a like position in General Butterfield's. the rest could not be brought into action. Kingsbury's was on the high ground some distance in rear of my left, to command the valley of the Chickahominy. The Ninth Massachusetts Volunteers, Colonel Cass, of Griffin's brigade, was ordered to hold the enemy in check at the bridge at Gaines' Mill as long as practicable and then to retire slowly to our position, which duty was ably performed.

With the few axes that could be obtained and the time at command a few trees were felled along a small portion of our front and slight batteries erected by means of rails and knapsacks. Berdan's Sharpshooters, under lieutenant-colonel Ripley, were thrown well forward as skirmishers. The enemy approached through the woods from the direction of New Cold Harbor, and made their first serious attack about 12 o'clock upon the right, which was handsomely repulsed by Griffin's brigade. The second attack was made about 2.30 and the third about 12 o'clock upon the right, which was handsomely repulsed by Griffin's brigade. The second attack was made about 2.30 and the third about 5.30 o'clock, each extending along my entire front, and both, like the first, were gallantly repulsed. At the fourth and last, about 6.30 o'clock, they came in irresistible force, and throwing themselves chiefly against the center and left, swept us from the ground by overwhelming numbers and compelled us to retire. Lieutenant Buckley lost his two guns, yet without discredit, for he fought them to the last moment, having but three men, including non-commissioned officers, left to each piece when the infantry gave way. As we retired the artillery opened fire from the left and rear, but the pressure was so great that the troops could not be rallied except in small bodies to support it.

Besides, General Cooke's cavalry, having been repulsed in a charge upon the enemy's right, rode at full speed obliquely through a large portion of the artillery, carrying men and horses along with them. The cavalry reformed under the hill beyond the reach of musketry, and advancing to the neighborhood of Adams' house imparted some steadiness to the infantry near them. I urged their immediate commanding officers, Colonel Blake, in the presence of Lieutenant-Colonels Grier and Platt, to make a demonstration on our left, which he seemed disposed to do, when he received a peremptory order from General Cooke to retire from the field, any they rode at a brisk pace to the rear. The infantry followed, and finally rallied in the valley before reaching the hospital. The Third Brigade, with the exception of part of the Twelfth New York Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, crossed the Chickahominy near Woodbury's Bridge, and bivouacked with General W. F. Smith's division.

It was now dark; the firing had ceased on both sides; ammunition was partially distributed, and after taking all necessary precautions wa laid ourselves down to rest. During the battle my command was