War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0836 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Mechanicsville Bridge, I requested him to turn the enemy's left lower down the creek. This was gallantly attempted, but failed and with heavy loss. Anderson, with [the] Thirty-fifth Georgia, Colonel E. L. Thomas, leading, had moved as heretofore directed, and encountering the enemy drove them back, and Colonel Thomas with his regiment crossed the creek and gained an admirable position for charging the enemy's batteries. The Fourteenth Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel [Robert W.] Folsom, pushed forward to his support, but Lieutenant-Colonel Folsom, being stricken down, the regiment lost his gallant leading, and but few crossed. Colonel Thomas held his own until the battle closed, when he withdrew and joined his brigade his brigade on [the] south side of the creek.

The battle ceased about 9 o'clock, my brigade resting along the creek, the object of this attack, viz, clearing the way for Longstreet, having been fully accomplished. It was never contemplated that my division alone should have sustained the shock of this battle, but such was the case, and the only assistance received was from Ripley.

Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, commanding Nineteenth Georgia, and Major Bronaugh, Second Arkansas Battalion, were killed, and Colonels Starke, Conner, Hoke, Thomas, A. J. Lane, Lieutenant-Colonel Folsom, and Captain Van de Graaf, commanding Fifth Alabama Battalion, wounded.


The morning of the 27th before dawn the enemy again opened a rapid fire of artillery, it being directed principally to the village of Mechanicsville. My division was immediately under arms. This shelling having continued some hour or more, I was directed by General Lee to take the route to Gaines' Mill. Gregg's brigade was put in advance.

It was soon found that the enemy had retired from his lines along Beaver Dam Creek, two companies from Gregg's brigade having handsomely dashed across and cleared the pits of the few men left as a blind. The evidences of precipitate retreat were palpable all along the route. Arriving at the creek upon which Gaines' Mill is located, half a mile from Cold Harbor, the enemy were discovered upon the opposite bank. Gregg's brigade was at once thrown in line of battle, and skirmishers directed to effect a lodgment. Andrews' battery was brought up and the woods opposite vigorously shelled. The skirmishers rushing forward cleared the crossing, and Gregg immediately field his brigade across, forming line successively as each regiment crossed. His whole brigade being over, he made the handsomest charge in line I have seen during the war. The enemy were pressed, and the general soon sent me word that he had brought the enemy to bay,and that they were in force in his front, and requested permission to attack. This was refused, however, and he was directed to await orders from me. Branch was ordered upon and formed on Gregg's right. Pender having cleared my right flank, to which service he had been assigned, Archer was sent to relieve him, thus putting him (Archer) on my extreme right. Anderson was formed on Branch's right, and Field again on his right and connecting with Archer. Crenshaw and Johnson were brought into battery on the left of the road and in rear of Gregg's line.

I had delayed the attack until I could hear from General Longstreet, and this now occurring,the order was given. This was about 2.30 p.m.