into position before a Parrott shell mortally wounded Captain Fletcher. This gallant young officer had on many occasions proved himself so brave as to be the idol of his company and of the entire regiment. His last words on the field were words of encouragement to his men.
General Winder ordered me to move back some distance and out of the range of the guns. I had hardly executed the order before another shell exploded in the line, killing 1 and wounding 4 privates. The brigade was then moved still farther back. I obtained permission of General Winder to go to the rear to look after my wounded, and while there was informed that the brigade was moving to the front. With difficulty I reached the head of my regiment just as it filed to the right into the woods. The blockaded-up condition of the road compelled the regiment to move in single file, which scattered it very much. Having received no orders, I followed the Second Regiment across a corn field until I arrived at a woods and found it posted in a ravine, which seemed to be providentially placed in our way as a breastwork against the terrific shower of shell and grape. I soon after met with Colonel Botts, who informed me that he had lost the balance of the brigade. After remaining in this perilous situation, in which our men were unable to do any good and were in very great danger and finding it impossible to join the rest of the brigade, Colonel Botts and I, on consultation, determined to fall back to the road, which we succeeded in doing with but a few wounded. I gathered the scattered men of the brigade, assisted by Colonel Botts, and moved along the road until I received orders to halt and rest.
It is a great source of regret to me and my whole regiment that we were unable to be with our old companies, and where we could have rendered them some assistance. As it was, we were almost as much exposed.
A list of the casualties of this day is also appended.*
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. S. H. BAYLOR,
Colonel Fifth Virginia Infantry.
No. 237. Report of Captain G. C. Smith,
Twenty-seventh Virginia Infantry, of the battles of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill.
HDQRS. TWENTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT VIRGINIA VOLS., July 7, 1862.
SIR: I respectfully submit the following report of the part which the Twenty-seventh Virginia Regiment took in the battles of the 27th ultimo and the 1st instant:
On the 27th ultimo the regiment, under command of Colonel Grigsby, marched with the First Brigade until it approached the crest of a hill opposite where the battle was then raging with tremendous violence. It was then drawn up in line of battle with the brigade. Its position in the line was on the right of the Fourth Virginia Regiment and on the left of the Thirty-third Virginia. The regiment here numbered 125 men in ranks and 18 commissioned officers.
From the position where we were drawn up we advanced in line with the brigade through a dense thicket of brush and timber until we came into cleared fields, where were still standing some tents of the
*Embodied in return, p.973.