I herewith present reports from the commanders of my regiments, to which I ask the attention of the major-general commanding the division. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. O'B. BRANCH,
Major R. C. MORGAN,
No. 341. Report of Captain Marmaduke Johnson,
Virginia Battery, of the battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill.
RICHMOND, VA., July 17, 1862.
GENERAL: I have just received your order directing me to report to you the part taken by my battery in the late combats before Richmond, accompanied with a list of the killed, wounded, missing, &c. I beg leave to state that I should have done this some time since but for continual and severe indisposition, on account of which I am now confined in my chamber.
It may not be impertinent to state that on Thursday, the 26th ultimo, I was under the command of Brigadier-General Branch, and marched my battery with his brigade from Brook Church to Mechanicsville, and arrived at that place late in the evening and but a short time before the battle ceased. I took my position behind some uncompleted breastworks erected by the enemy, and had hardly planted my battery when the order was given to cease firing. The breastworks were not in condition to be serviceable, and I kept my men all night hard at work in putting them in condition, so that they could be useful.
About daybreak the enemy's batteries, which had created so much havoc on the evening before, opened on me, and also most vigorously shelled all the quarters surrounding. I immediately replied, having the co-operation of none of the other batteries on the field, Captain McIntosh having exhausted his ammunition the evening before, and Captain Pegram, I believe, having been ordered to hold his fire, so that this battle was contested alone by my battery and those of the enemy.
At 6 o'clock precisely I entirely silenced and repulsed them, they hastily leaving their works after having suffered very great damage, as was obvious from a subsequent visit to the intrenchments. During the two hours of this engagement the fire was unceasingly vigorous on both sides. The enemy had an almost perfect range, and he would have done serious injury to my command but for the fortunate protection of the breastworks mentioned.
I beg leave to say that too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men for the coolness and intrepidity manifested by them in this the first heavy engagement in which they had ever participated.
In this engagement only 2 men and 2 horses were slightly wounded.
Later in the day I marched to the scene of the bloody battle which took place on Friday, and quite late in the evening was ordered by General Lee to report with my battery to you, which I immediately did with all possible dispatch. You yourself were a personal witness to the behavior of the men and officers. You saw the fearless courage with which they stood and fought through that deadly fire until 20 of them