War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0408 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Easton, in the battles of New Bridge [Mechanicsville], June 26, and Gaines' Mill, June 27, 1862, in General McCall's division, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps:

In compliance with general orders from division headquarters Captain Easton proceeded with his battery of four light 12-pounder guns from camp near New Bridge to within a half mile of Mechanicsville, and there engaged the enemy abut 4 o'clock p. m. 26th of June, having received instructions to plant his battery in sections in such a manner as to be effectually supported by the Eighth and Ninth Regiments of the Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, who occupied a position in the rifle pits in front and on his right flank and rear. The battle lasted from 4 o'clock p. m. until 9.30 o'clock that night, when the firing ceased on both sides, and our army held possession of the ground until about 7 a. m. next morning (27th instant), when we fell back, according to instructions, in good order to a point known as Gaines' Hill, where a stand was made by our forces. At this place the battery was posted on a hill t the left of Gaines' house, facing a dense woods, about 700 to 800 yards distant, wholly unsupported by infantry or cavalry, awaiting orders, as the wing of the army was and had been engaging the enemy during the afternoon, driving him out of the position he held in that quarter.

About 6 o'clock p. m. the enemy suddenly appeared in front and on our left flank, firing heavy volleys of musketry and charging up the hill on our battery, to which we replied with a brisk fire of tell and spherical case-shot, but without avail, as the dense masses of the enemy instantly closed the gap our fire made in their ranks and appeared to have little effect on them, although they were literally mowed down in heaps.

This continued for twenty minutes of a half hour, when they made a desperate charge, and we opened on them with double-shotted canister, which checked them for a time, but rallying again in overwhelming numbers they charged in on the battery, driving the cannoneers from their posts at the point of the bayonet, compelling them to leave their battery of four guns and two caissons in the enemy's hands.

A few minutes previous to this occurrence a body of cavalry were sent to support us, but after making a feeble charge were driven off by a volley of the enemy's musketry. Had the support consisted of infantry, the battery might probably have been saved.

It was at this period of the engagement that the brave Captain Easton was killed, receiving his death-wound from a musket-ball while gallantly cheering on his officers and men, who stood manfully and unflinchingly at their guns. His last words were, "The enemy shall never take this battery but over my dead body," which was received by a corresponding reply from his men as they rapidly poured the canister into the enemy, when the fatal shot felled this soldier and patriot to the earth, and the battery was lost.

Junior First Lieutenant William Stitt was dangerously wounded in the left arm and breast, and although both horse and rider were badly wounded, he stood bravely at his post until compelled to leave by the enemy, barely escaping capture, as his wounds forced him to remain near the battle-field during that night.

Second Lieutenant J. L. Detrich conducted the retreat of the battery in gallant style, and conducted himself throughout the engagement with great bravely and coolness, having had his horse shot under him, and as a last resort was compelled to ride the mounded horse of Captain Easton to save the remainder of the command.