No. 161. Reports of Major Roy Stone,
Thirteenth Pennsylvania Reserve (First Pennsylvania Rifles), of operations June 26 - July 1.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST RIFLES, P. R. V. C.,
Battle-field at Gaines' Hill, June 27, 1862 - 12 p. m.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that yesterday at 1 o'clock p. m., while my regiment (six companies) was doing picket duty on the extreme right of our line, two companies occupying the railroad and Meadow bridges over the Chickahominy, one company on the left of the bridges, and the remaining three in reserve, I was ordered to take my reserve companies to the assistance of the cavalry, who were galling back before the enemy, already advanced to Atlee's Station. I moved rapidly forward, posted Captain Wister's company at the junction of the three roads leading to Meadow Bridge, Crenshaw's Bridge, and Atlee's Station; deployed Captain Irvin's company covered Crenshaw's Bridge. At this time the cavalry officers estimated the enemy's force in the direction of Atlee's at one battalion of infantry and a squadron of cavalry. Captain Jawett had scarcely deployed when the enemy's infantry appeared in his front in heavy force. He opened fire on them at short range and with great effect. The enemy halted in confusion. When they had reformed he gave them a second volley.
At this moment I learned that my companies guarding the Meadow and railroad bridges had been withdrawn by order of Colonel Simmons, commanding the grand guard, and the enemy had immediately crossed. I immediately sounded the recall, and directing Captain Jewett to move rapidly to the rear I rode back to the junction, where I found Captain Wister already engaged with the enemy's troops approaching from Meadow Bridge. His determined front and steady fire had checked their advance, but they were gathering heavier forces to the front, and soon forced him to retire. His route to Mechanicsville was already interrupted, and he fullback to the north, contesting every inch of the ground. I went back to meet Captain Jewett's command, turned him off to the left, and with a small rear guard of cavalry made a wide detour to the north, with the desperate hope of cutting our way to camp.
Captain Irvin had been advised by the same messenger who brought me news of the enemy's flank movement to retire to a safer position, but declined to do so without orders. When I sent him orders it was already too late, and he was entirely surrounded. I heard heavy firing in his direction, but had not been able to learn whether any of his men were killed or wounded. None of them returned to camp. With the other companies I succeeded, after having been reported entirely cut off, your advance line of battle was already formed at Mechanicsville. The enemy did not appear in your front for some time, having evidently been led to believe by our broad front and rapid fire that our force