rapidly gathering gloom rendered the aim somewhat uncertain. The cessation of the firing on the right of the brigade having attracted attention it was deemed advisable to reform the line, by this time considerably thinned, on the fence in rear of the house (about 3 rods), which offered the nearest advantageous position, owing to the location of the various buildings. The appearance of a large force (apparently a brigade) on the left, marching as if to flank this brigade, who responded irregularly to the challenge of the color-bearer (and who were afterward ascertained to be the enemy), decided the propriety of this maneuver. While this was being accomplished Colonel Bartlett in person gave the order for the regiment to retire in order. On reaching the ravine from which the brigade had advanced the regiment found itself in its proper position, on the left of the column.
Early in the action two companies or more of the Fifth Maine Volunteers, with Captain Edwards at the head, asked permission to join the line of the Twenty-seventh, stating that they had become separated from their regiment, their colonel and lieutenant-colonel having fallen, and there being no mounted officer to direct them. The request was at once granted, and they continued with the regiment, doing most efficient service in gallant style.
The conduct of officers and men was admirable, the former seeming to vie with each other in the performance of their duties, and the latter waiting only the word of command, which insured prompt obedience. The temporary confusion caused here and there during the engagement by the nature of the position, the falling of comrades, and more particularly by the fire of our own battery directly in our rear, the shots from which passed close over and in three instances caused trifling injuries to the men, was promptly corrected by the united efforts of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men.
Instances of individual heroism are not wanting, though perhaps not suitable for this report.
The list of casualties, heretofore sent to headquarters, comprises 12 killed, 118 wounded, and 32 missing.*
I am, very respectfully,
ALEX. D. ADAMS,
Actg. Asst. General, Second Brigade, Slocum's Division.
No. 180 Report of Colonel Henry L. Cake,
Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, of the battle of Gaines' Mill.
HDQRS. NINETY-SIXTH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
Camp in the Field, June 28, 1862.
LIEUTENANT:I have the honor to herewith transmit the report of the engagement of yesterday as far as participated in by this regiment:
The Ninety-sixth filed through the field of battle with and on the left of the brigade at 3.20 o'clock in the afternoon, under a fire of shot, shell,and musketry. Before reaching the ground upon which the brigade formed 4 of my men were wounded. In accordance with an
*But see revised statement, p.39.