War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0400 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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which the Ninth relieved the Twelfth from their rifle pits. The withdrawal was effected without loss. So stern and apparently unexpected had been the resistance made that the enemy did not attempt to follow for some time. The entire division fell back to Gaines' Mill, some 4 miles distant, where it was formed as a reserve to the line of battle, composed of the remainder of the corps.

But slight loss was experienced in this engagement. The shelter that had` been prepared and the clearing of the ground in front gave our inferior forces advantages that were fully improved and that cost the enemy very dearly.

In the absence of General Reynolds I may say that much of the credit of this day belongs justly to him; his study of the ground and ample preparations, even to the smallest detail, justify his high reputations as a soldier, and his conduct of the right wing is worthy of all praise. General Meade came up with his brigade, and by his advice, as well as by the presence and aid of his command, was of most valuable service.

Major Stone, with rare intelligence, prepared his position, and fought it like a true soldier to the end; and to Colonel Simmons, since dead, the same praise is due. Colonel Taggart, of the Twelfth, deserves praise for the good service rendered by his regiment, which held on the left the crossing at Ellison's Mill with the greatest tenacity, repelling several assaults. Colonel Jackson, of the Ninth, deserves good mention for the skill with which he relieved the Twelfth, withdrew himself from battle, and covered the movement to Gaines' Mill. Colonel Biddle R. Roberts, on the right, rendered excellent service, as did Lieutenant-Colonel McCandless, preventing that part of the line from being forced.

To the artillery arm belongs also much credit. Captain Easton, since dead, repeated his glorious conduct of Dranesville, directing his guns with great effect. Lieutenant Van Reed, of Captain Smead's battery, conduct the fire of his section admirably. Lieutenant Fullerton, on the left, with the Twelfth did excellent service. I hear the highest praises of Captain De Hart and his battery of Captain Smead, of Cooper, and of Kerns. Their batteries were well handled, and their close and rapid fire must have inflicted severe loss upon the masses of the enemy's troops as they crossed the gentle slopes before our line.

Men never behaved better; to their constancy and courage, after all, the good stand made against a greatly superior force is due, and Pennsylvania may forever be proud of the memories connected with the deeds of her sons at Mechanicsville.


The several brigades of the division arriving successively upon the ground selected for the next point of resistance near Gaines' Mill were formed as a reserve to Morell's and Sykes' divisions, already posted in battle order. The contest here may be described briefly as a struggle for the mastery of a body of woods on our front and left, the possession of which gave control of the open ground in our rear, over, which passed the roads to the bridges of the Chickahominy by which we must be supported or retire. Morell's division occupied these woods; Sykes' ground comparatively open to the right. This division was in rear of the woods in reserve, Reynolds' brigade on the right, Meade'd on the left, Seymour's as a reserve to the division in rear of it. Cooper's battery was on the right, overlooking open ground toward Cold Harbor,