No. 179. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander D. Adams,
Twenty-seventh New York Infantry, of the battle of Gaines' Mill.
HDQRS. TWENTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT, N. Y. VOLS.,
In the Field, July 6, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit a report of the action of the Twenty-seventh Regiment of New York Volunteers on Friday, the 27th ultimo. Together with the other regiments composing the brigade the Twenty-seventh moved from camp at an early hour toward Duane's Bridge, for the purpose of supporting the divisions of General Porter, then being engaged with the enemy. About 4 o'clock p.m. the brigade was moved rapidly down to Woodbury's (or Alexander's) Bridge, where it crossed, and turning to the left was marched toward the left of the field of battle on Gaines' Hill. This regiment, being on the left, was first over-taken by an aide-de-camp of General Porter, who desired that it might be halted while he overtook the head of the column, as General Porter desired that Colonel Bartlett's brigade should go to the assistance of the right wing. The delay, however, was momentary. The head of the column filing almost immediately toward the right, the regiment resumed its position and marched across in rear of the line of battle, under heavy fire of artillery and musketry, to the position assigned. Here Colonel Bartlett, commanding, placed the brigade, formed in close column by division, in a ravine, where the men were completely covered and where they were ordered to lie down and rest until called into action.
In about thirty minutes the regiments were called up in succession, deployed into line of battle,changed front forward,and thrown across a slightly rising level field toward the enemy under a severe fire. The right of the Twenty-seventh was directed upon a house surrounded by outbuildings and an orchard, from which the enemy were firing. When within about 50 yards, and before delivering a shot, at the command, "Forward to the charge," the line advanced at double-quick, crossed the fence in rear of the house, and came up to the front fence, where it encountered a destructive fire at close range. The enemy did not offer any resistance to the charge, and a rapid, steady fire was opened on him, evidently doing great execution. At this point two officers were taken prisoners and sent to Colonel Bartlett.
A fresh force appearing on the right, the fire of the right wing was directed obliquely against it. Soon after it was represented that we were firing on our own men, and not knowing how far the Sixteenth New York, whose constant volleys were heard on our right, might have advanced, the order was given to cease firing and reform line of battle on the fence in rear before mentioned.
While this was being coolly executed the smoke lifted partially, disclosing an apparently fresh line of the enemy in front. The Twenty-seventh was at once advanced to its former position and again opened an effective fire. The small buildings offered a partial cover to a few of the men, who were enabled to fire with the utmost precision at a rest. The fire of the enemy slackened about dusk for a little, and word was again brought that our own brigade had advanced on the right so as to come within range of the fire of the Twenty-seventh. These reports coming, as before, from officers induced another order to cease firing, which, however, was speedily revoked, as the flashes of the muskets revealed the position of the enemy. Again the line opened, though the