On Thursday afternoon, June 26, I put my regiment in march to cross the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge. Nothing of importance occurred until my regiment, leading the brigade, reached a position commanded by the battery of the enemy near Mechanicsville turnpike, when a pretty sharp five of shot and shell was opened upon my regiment. By compelling my men to lie down behind the crest of the hill I escaped with the wounding of only 2 men-Company F.
On Friday morning my regiment and that of Colonel Barnes, leading the other regiments of the brigade, commenced the advance upon the lines of the enemy. We crossed Beaver Dam, only being slightly annoyed by the skirmishers of the enemy. On reaching one of the camps of the enemy, shortly before vacated, I was astonished to find myself under fire from field artillery; it, however, proved to be a section of artillery belonging to the army of General Jackson. The mistake was soon discovered, but unfortunately not in time to prevent the wounding of Lieutenant Heise, Company C, and one private of the same company.
After a short delay I was ordered to advance upon Powhite Creek, throwing out skirmishers in advance. This was done, and for some little time a brisk fire was kept up on both sides; but the enemy soon ceased to attempt to dispute the crossing of the creek, which was done very quietly and without any interruption. After a short rest, to enable us to collect and provide for our wounded, we resumed our march, and soon came upon the camp of the Ninth Massachusetts Regiment, which seemed at first disposed to give us battle; but upon giving the order to charge bayonets at double-quick they broke and fled. We continued to advance, and upon gaining an open field commanding a view of the enemy's position at Cold Harbor we were subjected to a severe fire of shell from the battery of the enemy. This fire was soon silenced by our own battery, and then, under your order, I advanced upon the position of the enemy through a thick, swampy piece of ground, and formed line of battle on the edge of the open field. In a short time I saw a brigade moving down upon us. When within easy range of us they opened a most deadly fire upon my regiment, wounding and killing a large number of my officers and men, and among these all of my color guard.
Here was my principal loss; among them, Lieutenant Colonel A. M. Smith, who had distinguished himself for gallantry and good conduct. Although feeble from a recent severe illness, his wound, which at first was apparently slight, proved eventually mortal, and he sank to rest calm and composed, feeling that he had done his duty to his country.
After being so severely handled I considered it proper to take my regiment out from under fire, which was accordingly done. Upon coming out of the swamp I found Colonel Marshall with a remnant of his regiment. This, with my own, I formed in line, and under orders from General Lee and Major General A. P. Hill, I took command of these two fragments of regiments and led them into the wood in rear of the position occupied by the brigades of Generals Anderson and Field. Soon I was joined by a portion of Colonel Edwards' regiment, under Major Farrow, and with this portion of the brigade I occupied the ground as above indicated, and on Saturday morning I marched my regiment, by your orders, to another position near the battle-ground, where we remained until Sunday, June 29.
On this day we recrossed the Chickahominy. We marched in pursuit of the enemy, but did not come up with them until Monday evening, June 30. Then, although under fire and having several soldiers