War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0652 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Numbers 267. Report of Major H. P. Jones,

commanding Artillery Battalion, of the battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill and engagement at White Oak Swamp Bridge.


SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the part taken by this battalion of the Reserve Artillery in the late engagements before Richmond:

Having been assigned with the batteries of Captain A. B. Rhett, P. H. Clark, and Jefferson Peyton (that of the latter under command of Lieutenant C. W. Fry, in the absence of the captain, who is sick) to act as reserve to General D. H. Hill's division, we left our camp, on the Williamsburg road, on the night of Wednesday, 25th ultimo, with the other batteries of the division, marching in the direction of Mechanicsville.

Captain Rhett had previously been ordered to report for duty with General Ripley's brigade, and with it, about 4 p. m. of Thursday, crossed the Chickahominy in advance of other troops of the division. He experienced some difficulty in crossing on account of the destruction of the bridges over the stream by the enemy. He succeeded, with the help of the Pioneer Corps, in rendering the bridge passable, and crossed with his batteries and engaged in a very spirited manner the enemy's batteries, which he continued to do, changing his position whenever he found that the enemy had his range, until ordered to cease firing, about 9 p. m. In the engagement he suffered from a cross-fire of the enemy, and had 11 men wounded and 6 horses. As soon as the passage was opened I crossed with the two remaining batteries and bivouacked for the night near Mechanicsville.

The next morning were awakened by a few shots of the enemy, which passed over us without doing any damage. Receiving an order to send a battery to the top of the hill in rear and protected by one of the enemy's redoubts, I ordered Captain Clark to this position. Here, with other batteries of the division, he fired several rounds at the earthworks of the enemy on the opposite side of a ravine in front of us, but received no reply.

The division then took up the line of march with the reserve batteries in the rear. The line was halted at Cold Harbor, and Captain Rhett's battery was ordered to the front to support Captain J. W. Bondurant's battery, which was actively engaged with a battery of the enemy. I also ordered Captain Clark and Lieutenant Fry to bring their batteries up in easy supporting distance, sheltering them as much as possible from the fire of the enemy, which enfiladed the road, by placing them in a ravine to the left of the road. Subsequently I ordered the two reserve batteries on the right of the line, Captain Rhett retaining his position, but by a new disposition of the forces being on the left. This new disposition of the line enabled the batteries to open on the enemy, which they could not do before, owing to our troops being between the enemy's and our batteries. Captain Clark and Lieutenant Fry were still held in reserve to support the attack of the infantry, and here they were exposed to an annoying fire of the enemy's battery which was to our left and front. Captain Rhett's, with other batteries of the division, engaged the enemy's battery and soon succeeded in silencing it. In