No. 303. Reports of Colonel John B. Strange,
Nineteenth Virginia Infantry, of the battles of Gaines' Mill and Frazier's Farm (Nelson's Farm, or Glendale).
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, July 15, 1862.
MAJOR:In obedience to orders from headquarters I respectfully submit a report of the part taken by this brigade in the battle of Gaines' Mill, Friday, June 27. The report should not have been so long delayed but for the fact that in three instances regiments were left without a field officer, and several instances occurred where companies were left without a single officer, thus causing unavoidable delay in the regimental reports:
The brigade reached Gaines' Mill about 4 p.m. and was immediately led to the right in the direction of heavy firing. Passing through woods we soon reached a large, open, undulating field, with heavy timber on all sides, where we were formed in line of battle and awaited a few minutes the approach of the enemy, which was momentarily expected, as they were exactly in our front. Finding they would not advance, General Pickett ordered the brigade to advance, which it did in good order and at a double-quick until it reached the brow of a hill about 75 yards in front of the intrenched enemy. Here the firing became so fearful that the men threw themselves upon the ground and commenced returning the fire with spirit. Seeing the inequality of the contest a charge was ordered, which was obeyed with promptness.
Here our gallant General Pickett fell badly wounded while nobly urging on our boys. Colonel [R. E.] Withers also was badly wounded at the head of his regiment, and Colonel [Eppa] Hunton was sick, though he did not leave the field I understood afterward, the command of the brigade thus falling upon me even before I was aware of it.
The enemy were driven from a triple row of defenses-first, from a deep ditch, second, from an abatis just beyond, and third from their last line of defense, a barricade upon the top of the hill. The brigade captured a battery of splendid Parrott guns and several hundred prisoners.
The long lists of killed and wounded will show the determined manner with which the brigade conducted itself.
We were relieved about dark and went back about three-quarters of a mile, where we bivouacked.
The brigade entered the battle with 1,481 men and officers, and lost in killed and wounded 426, including 41 officers.
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the men and officers for their gallant conduct upon this occasion, and it is hard to discriminate where so many deported themselves so well, yet there are a few cases which cannot pass without honorable mention. Among the most deserving I submit the cases of those who acted pre-eminently brave: Lieutenants Hutchinson and J. Thomas Green, Eighth Virginia Regiment, and Lieutenant J. D. McIntire, of the Nineteenth Virginia, acted with a coolness and bravery never surpassed. Captain Boyd, Lieutenant Shepherd, and Sergeant Gilmer, of the Nineteenth Virginia, also acted with conspicuous bravery. Sergeant Gilmer, while urging his men over the breastworks and calling upon them to follow their colonel and to remember Butler, fell badly wounded. Also, Color-Corporal Lee, of the Twenty-eighth Virginia, and Captain Jeffress, of the Fifty-sixth, behaved