War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0372 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Numbers 148. Report of Lieutenant John S. Poland,

Second U. S. Infantry, of the battle of Gaines' Mill.


Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., July 4, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report as follows:

Agreeably to your orders the Second Regiment, with the battalions of the Tenth and Seventeenth, took up a position on the main road by which we entered the field of the 27th, to be held as a reserve to the Third Brigade. By your order the Second was throw forward a short time after the engagement began below the crest of a hill over which the enemy were advancing. They, in conduction with the Tenth, Seventeenth, and Fifth New York, by repeated charges and effective fire, held the enemy at bay on the front nearly five hours. Four charges were bravely made, in which our loss was heavy. The enemy were driven back under their cover. After the first charge the enemy opened canister and grape on the battalion, under which it was rallied with astonishing coolness. Not a man gave way. It was just there Lieutenant Brindley fell, while coolly and gallantly reorganizing the line.

Toward evening the command, being forced back by an overwhelming force and almost exhausted, retired to the rear of our first position, rallying near the field hospital first selected, when I reorganized the battalion and advanced them to a ridge in the orchard to the left of the house, where they remained until a section of artillery was withdrawn safely. The enemy had by this time arrived on both flanks to dangerous proximity and in much larger force. This position was no longer tenable. Again we retreated to the rear and right of the house, and while endeavoring to form it in good order in line of battle Lieutenant S. A. Foster, Sixth Infantry, and Lieutenant T. D. Parker, Second Infantry, General Sykes' aides, gallantly but rashly led them forth to their last defiant charge. In this Lieutenant T. D. Parker, Second Infantry, fell a sacrifice. Exhausted physically as well as of ammunition the command was unwillingly obliged to retire from the field, to rendezvous near the general hospital on the bluff.

I have to report, unhappily, among the officers who behaved nobly on that day there were exceptions. Some I saw at points on the field far distant from their companies in action. I cannot conceive of a necessity which would then detach an officer not disabled from his company, and submit the matter for explanation. Acting as aide-de-camp to Major Lovell, commanding, I was not able to see the Second Infantry during the whole action, and have based my report in a few of these cases on the reports of the first sergeants, commanding companies. These exceptions were First Lieutenant F. C. Goodrich, Company K, Second Infantry; Second Lieutenant Charles L. Noggle, Company A, Second Infantry; Second Lieutenant George A. Rowley, Company D, Second Infantry.

Circumstances rendered it necessary to mention the names of all the officers present with the regiment on Friday conspicuous for brave and soldierly bearing, among whom it is impossible to make distinctions without fear of doing injustice. I name Captain Bond, who bravely commanded the regiment; Lieutenant W. H. Jordan, Ninth Infantry; S. A. McKee, James W. Long, Wiliam F. Drum, Charles M. Freeman, George H. McLoughlin, Abraham Grafius, Second Infantry. Lieutenant McKee was wounded slightly in the leg, but remained with the