Report of Colonel George S. Hays, Eight Pennsylvania Reserves, First Brigade, of the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Glendale or Nelson's Farm (Frazier's Farm).
HARRISON'S LANDING, VA., July 5, 1862.
I have the honor to report that in obedience to order on the 26th day of June I placed six companies of my regiment in rifle pits in front of Easton's Pennsylvania battery, four companies being directed to deploy as skirmishers, for the purpose of receiving the enemy, who were reported to be advancing in great force upon us near Beaver Dam. We were not in position more than twenty minutes when the batteries opened fire. About 4 o'clock p. m. the enemy's line appeared sufficiently close for our infantry to have effect, when the battle raged fiercely until night closed the contest.
At early dawn the battle was renewed until I received an order to fall back upon a new line at Gaines' Mill. I called in the skirmishers and flanked the regiment onto the Gaines' Mill road, marching slowly and in good order to our new base of operations, where I received an order from General McCall to support two regular batteries that were then engaged. I occupied my position as directed and remained there about one hour, when Colonel Warren, of a Massachusetts* regiment, reported to me that his command was being divided and wished me to go to his support. I told him if he would get an order from General McCall I would assist him. He did so, and reported the enemy in force, concealed in some woods about a quarter of a mile in front. I marched in line of battle toward the enemy, and when within a distance of perhaps 100 yards charged them with the bayonet and drove them back, when some desperate fighting took place. Colonel Warren, in the mean time, taking advantage of the enemy's being engaged, escaped from his position (or that portion of his command that he wished to have relieved). I flanked the regiment, marched in good order to our original position, stacked arms, and remained there until I received orders to bivouac for the night.
About midnight we were ordered to cross the Chickahominy toward James River, and marched in that direction until the 30th, near Willis' Church, where we were again called into action, and had a severe fight, lasting until late at night.
My officers and men in all these engagements behaved with great gallantry except in a few isolated cases. When relieving Colonel Warren I had three valuable line officers, to wit: Captains Gallupe, Johnson, and Wishart, severely wounded, as way my major, S. M. Baily, also several non-commissioned officers and privates that I highly valued.
We are now encamped on the banks of the James River, and my total loss in killed, wounded, and missing, from the 26th to the night of the 30th (in battle), proved to be 230, the particulars of which I hereby append.+
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. S. HAYS,
Colonel, Commanding Eighth Regiment, P. V. R.
Major-General PORTER, Commanding Fifth Prov. Army Corps.
*He was colonel of the Fifth New York Infantry.
+Embodied in revised statement, p.32.