After half an hour's rest, during which time the musket balls of the enemy reached us in great number, I received order by Adjutant Joinville from General Porter to advance 50 yards toward the woods and open fire at 1,400 yards' distance, where the rebels were supposed to be in line. We threw about 30 rounds, when the musket fire in our front ceased, and I received order by the same adjutant to discontinue firing. We were kept in rest for about twenty minutes, when at once the firing in our front and all along the woods commenced again, and raged for about half an hour with the greatest fury. The musketry came nearer to us every moment, and finally our infantry left the woods, followed up closely by the enemy.
Now I received your order to open fire with spherical case and canister, which order was complied with. The same line with me, the battery on my left, opened fire, and after about fifteen minutes' firing we had silenced entirely the musket fire of the enemy in front of us. The smoke of powder rendered it quite impossible to observe any movements of the rebels, and suddenly we received a volley of musketry from our left, followed by a perpetual firing of the infantry upon us, which had already advanced into the battery on the left of us, taking the same with the bayonet. Not being supported, I found it necessary to limber and to retire to the next hill in front of our position. One driver of the left section was shot down; 2 horses of the same piece, 3 of the caisson horses were shot could not be brought forward and fell into the hands of the enemy, who took possession of it immediately after we had left. Besides the wounded driver, 4 other men were wounded.
Arrived on the aforementioned hill, General Slocum ordered me to go into battery and fire to the rear, which was done, answering to fire of a rebel battery brought into action about 1,000 yards from us. We continued firing until the battery opposite us ceased, and at 11 o'clock p. m. I received orders to return to camp.
We have fired during the day 165 rounds of spherical case-shot and shells. The whole day my men stood well to their work, notwithstanding we were for hours under the heaviest musket and cannon fire, maneuvering, loading,and firing quite without excitement, as if they were drilling on the parade ground. The shells and shrapnels exploded well, and have done, beyond doubt, great execution amongst the crowds of rebels which had advanced upon us to a close distance.
I remain, general, with the greatest esteem, your very obedient servant,
Captain, Battery A, New Jersey Light Artillery.
Brigadier-General TAYLOR, Commanding First New Jersey Brigade.
No. 170. eport of Brigadier General George W. Taylor,
U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of the battle of Gaines' Mill.
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE NEW JERSEY VOLUNTEERS,
Camp on James River, July 4, 1862.
SIR: My command, by the order of General Slocum, left our intrenched camp on the right bank of the Chickahominy of Friday