War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0621 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

front by Major-General Ewell, with directions to driven in the enemy's pickets when found. In the afternoon Captain Nicholas, Company G, whom I had sent in advance skirmishing, discovered a cavalry picket at a church at the intersection of Hundley's Corner and Mechanicsville road. He immediately drove them in, and upon their receiving re-enforcements and making a stand I took Companies A and D and drove them over Beaver Creek.

Having thus gained a hill commanding the other side of the creek, I was ordered by Major-General Jackson to hold it and take two pieces of the artillery under my command and disperse the enemy, who appeared in some force beyond it. This was done, and I bivouacked on the hill in reach of their guns. Once during the night they drove in my outpost to recover a piece of artillery which they had masked near my position, but which I did not discover until next morning. I immediately recovered the ground.

The next day, June 27, I again marched in advance, the Thirteenth Virginia and Sixth Louisiana being in front as skirmishers. When near Cold Harbor the battery was ordered into position by Brigadier-General Elzey, to whom I had reported for orders with the consent of Major-General Ewell, and the First Maryland was ordered to support it. The cavalry company I ordered to report to Colonel Fitzhugh Lee, of the First Virginia Cavalry, as it could be of no use detached. Here I remained until between 5 and 6 p.m., when Major-General Jackson ordered me to take my regiment into action. Leaving the battery with a cavalry support, I went in about the central point of the fire.

Arriving on the plateau in front of Gaines' house I found it occupied by the enemy, and behind them a short distance a battery, which poured a continual and rapid fire into our troops in front of it. Their infantry held a strong position behind the bank of the road in front of Gaines' house. I found to my horror regiment after regiment rushing back in utter disorder. The Fifth Alabama I tried in vain to rally with my sword and the rifles of my men. The Twelfth Alabama reformed readily on my right, and the North Carolina regiments of Colonel McRae's command, at my appeal, rallied strongly on my left. Thus re-enforced, my men moved forward at a right-shoulder-shift, taking the touch of elbows and dressing on the alignment with the precision of a parade. Not a man was missing. Marching straight on, when a comrade fell not a man left the ranks, but the surgeons' detail carried him off.

We gained the road and the house, when Brigadier-General Winder brought the First Brigade into line on my right and ordered me to put some Georgia regiments of Brigadier-General Lawton's command on my left, to take command of the whole, and charge the battery. This was done. The whole line swept forward, but when close to the battery it limbered up and fled. Two of its pieces were found next morning in the road a mile from the position we charged.

The conduct of my men and officers beyond praise. They marched, each one in his place, with a precision and firmness which can never be surpassed.

I append a list of casualties.*

That night we slept on the battle-field, and next morning, 28th, were ordered in front my Major-General, Ewell, and gained the York River Railroad. Pushing beyond to a hill which commanded Bottom's Bridge,


*List shows 3 killed and 8 wounded.