I had but fairly made these dispositions when I was ordered to return and report to General Morell, near the camp of General Porter, on the Mechanicsville road. On leaving my position I directed General Cooke to remain at Cold Harbor until receiving orders from General Porter, and notified General Porter thereof. While on the march to the position ordered by General Morell I received orders to halt in the vicinity of General Morell's old camp, near Gaines' house, and await orders. After remaining until nearly dark at this point, while General Morell was with the balance of the division engaged with the enemy near Mechanicsville, General Ported me to move up in the rear of the regular infantry his camp and encamp in line of battle, which was done.
At 3 a. m. on the 27th I received orders from General Porter to detail a regiment to remove by hand the heavy guns in battery near Hogan's house to a point on the hill near Watts' and Adams' houses, east of Dr. Gaines' house, on the Gaines' Mill creek, to guard them with my brigade, and take up a position on the hills east of Dr. Gaines' house across the ravine, and to hold that position during the passage of Generals McCall's and martindale's troops to the rear. In compliance with these orders i posted my brigade on the hill, with the battery assigned to me, the battery commanding Gaines' house, the approaches to the hill and valley in that direction, the brigade supporting it.
Subsequently, at about 5 a. m., General Porter, in company with General Barnard, directed me to take up a new position in the rear of the one last mentioned, in the ravine in front of Watts' house, with the left resting on the valley of the Chickahominy; to leave the battery on the hill where it had been stationed until the passage of all of our troops and the flying artillery guarding the rear; then to bring the battery back, destroying all bridges. This was all successfully and properly accomplished, and much credit is due to Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, Forty-fourth New York Volunteers, field officer of the day, who had charge of the destruction of the bridges.
The following was the disposition of my brigade: Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers on the creek, with its right commenting with General Martindale's left (First Michigan Regiment); Forty-fourth New York to the left and on the same line of Eighty-third; Twelfth New York on the crest of the hill, in rear of and supporting the Eighty-third; Sixteenth Michigan back of crest of hill, in rear of and supporting the Forty-fourth; Allen's Fifth Massachusetts Battery to the right and rear of my position, so situated as to be used at any point of the line I might wish; skirmishers from the Eighty-third and Forty-fourth Regiments, together with the sharpshooters of the Sixteenth Michigan, were thrown well forward on the brow of the hill, commanding our entire lines. These skirmishers throughout the day performed their duties in a manner to merit my entire satisfaction, successfully holding the enemy in check and only retreating when attacked by two or three regiments of the enemy. For the names of the gallant officers who commanded the line of skirmishers so bravely and so well i refer to the regimental reports of the Eighty-third and Forty-fourth Regiments.
The first attack of the enemy in force on my brigade took place at about 2,30 o'clock p. m., it having been preceded by a like attack on the right and center of the general line. So soon as it began I ordered a section of Allen's battery to take a position opposite to and fire through an interval in the woods commanding the hill in front of my center. Their fire proved very destructive to the assaulting column. Finding that my front line would successfully hold the enemy in check, I ordered