War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0636 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Numbers 261. Report of Major Robert M. Sands,

Third Alabama Infantry, of the battles of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill.



Camp at Poe's Farm, near Richmond, Va., July 17, 1862

GENERAL: In accordance with your instructions I beg leave to submit the following report of the two battles, June 27 and July 1, in which this regiment was engaged:


During this battle the regiment was placed in a very trying position, remaining under a heavy fire during the entire fight not having an opportunity to engage the enemy actively. Marched forward three different times to charge the enemy and as many times halted. Night coming on we were ordered to sleep on our arms where we were.

Our loss was 2 killed and 14 wounded.

Lieutenant-Colonel [Charles] Forsyth was in command of the regiment on that occasion.

I think it my duty, general, to call your attention to the brave and gallant daring of Color Corpl. William Treat, Company K, Mobile Rifle Company, who, in the midst of the very heavy firing to which we were subjected went from one end of the line to the other on two different occasions with important messages from me. He was killed in the battle of July 1 while carrying the colors, after the color-bearer had been shot dead.


About noon on July 1, when in the neighborhood of Malvern Hill, I was ordered to take my regiment to the extreme right of our line, deploy it as skirmishers, and sent out a few scouts to find out the position of the enemy in front; also to look out for the approach of friends from that direction (Holmes' division being expected to connect with us on the right, I believe). We remained in this position for about two hours, the enemy's shell occasionally falling in close proximity to my men. At one time a shell of very heavy caliber, evidently from the enemy's gunboats in James River, fell and buried itself, without exploding, about 20 feet from the left of my line.

From this point I was ordered to march left obliquely until I came up to the brigade. In doing this I got under a very hot fire from a battery of the enemy in my immediate front. Here I halted, and sending forward a courier I found that if I followed the instructions I had received I would march directly on the battery, and that the brigade was near a quarter of a mile to my left. I immediately went by the left flank and joined the brigade under a heavy fire, having 2 men wounded.

After joining the brigade I was ordered to send out 50 men as sharpshooters to annoy the enemy at a battery of field pieces about 400 yards in our front. This was done and brought us to the notice of the battery, which, opening on us with grape, canister, and shell, subjected us to a most terrific fire for some time, when the sharpshooters were called in and the command was given to charge. My regiment advanced with the brigade until it was brought to a halt and made to lie down for a few moments to protect the men from the murderous