Numbers 123. Report of Captain Walter S. Sampson,
Twenty-second Massachusetts Infantry, of the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Malvern Hill.
HDQRS. TWENTY-SECOND MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT,
Harrison's Landing, Va., July 7, 1862.
SIR: Thursday morning, june 26, at 6 o'clock, I was detailed to take the four right companies (A. Lieutenant H. C. Connor, commanding; D, Captain John Dunning; F, Captain S. J. Thompson; L, Lieutenant Charles O. Conant, commanding), and proceeded to the vicinity of Upper Bridge (one of the new military roads) to do picket duty. Nothing of unusual interest occurred during the day. At night I had orders to assist in destroying the bridge. This accomplished I awaited further orders. To Captain D. K. Wardwell, of Company B, I am indebted for verbal report of the proceedings of the regiment during my absence.
About noon (Thursday, June 26) the regiment received light marching orders to proceed to the vicinity of Mechanicsville to support General McCall, who was severely pressed by the enemy in overwhelming numbers. The right of the line was placed in charge of the First Brigade. The left of the right was the position of the Twenty-second Massachusetts, and on approaching the scene of action the regiment was brought under a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery. Shot, shell, and grape flew fast and furious over and around the regiment for upward of an hour, during which time 1 man of Company K was killed and 2 mortally wounded in Company G (since dead.)
About this time Company B, Captain Wardwell, was deployed in front in a piece of woods and exchanged several shots with the enemy. About 8 o'clock p. m. the regiment retired slowly across a large field toward the Hanover Court-House road, leaving Company B in the woods to do picket duty. The regiment was drawn up in line of battle alongside of the Richmond road. Colonel Gove ordered Company C, Captain Burt, to deploy in the large field through which the regiment had just passed and the balance of the regiment to seek what rest they could resting on their arms. The shades of night were closing around the fearful scene (the battle on the lull), except discharges of artillery, which was kept up until about 10' o'clock p. m.
About 3 o'clock a. m., Friday, June 27, the pickets in front of the regiment were recalled, and all moved as rear guard toward the camp on Cutis' farm. Along the whole route on the right the battle was raging furiously. On reaching camp orders were given to sling knapsacks and get ready for an immediate movement. Very early on Friday morning I received orders to withdraw my pickets and report at the old camp at Gaines', there to await orders. Here was a mistake. I should have reported at regimental camp on the Curtis farm. By this I lost an hour and half of time. The mistake was discovered, and I hastened to join the regiment. This I could not do, for I met the regiment some distance this side of Curtis' farm, where I received orders from Colonel Gove to hasten to camp, secure our knapsacks, and then destroy everything left behind, such as commissary and quartermaster stores, tents, knapsacks, guns, equipments-in fact, all pertaining to a soldier's comfort or necessities. This duty was faithfully discharged by the officers and men of my command. They had hardly finished the task before the enemy came bounding into the camp, expecting to find an abundance of stores suited to their taste, but, alas for human expectations, nothing met their view but the burning and charred remains