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The battle of Malvern Hill.1

Report of General Hooker.

headquarters Hooker's division, Third army corps, camp near Harrison's Landing, James River, Va., July 18, 1862.
Captain C. McKeever, Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Army Corps:
After withdrawing from Glendale, our march was continued to the Malvern Hills, without interruption, [263] and about ten o'clock A. M. my division was established in line of battle for the defence of our new position.

Under a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery, Grover's brigade was strongly posted on the right, Carr's on the left, and well sheltered; subsequently, Sickles's brigade, held in reserve, was posted in rear of my right, protected from the enemy's shots, and well in hand to reinforce any part of my line.

Osborne's and Bram's batteries occupied higher ground, where they could reply to the enemy's artillery, or open his columns of infantry should he attempt to advance. Webber's and Bramhall's batteries were located in rear of those, and held in reserve.

During the remaining part of the forenoon, a brisk fire was kept up between the artillery, principally on the part of the enemy, without any decided effect, so far as could be discovered on either side, the distance being about fifteen hundred yards.

I regret, however, to state that it was in this artillery skirmishing that the gallant chief of the Fourth New-Jersey battery, Captain Bram, fell from a shell which pierced his body.

About three o'clock the firing was resumed with more activity, in the direction of Kearney's left. This exposed the rebel batteries to an enfilading fire from my position, a direct one from Kearney, and a diagonal one from several other batteries, which soon resulted in driving the rebel gunners from their pieces.

Prior to this, a heavy column of infantry had been seen passing to my right, which disappeared behind the forests in my front, and were not heard from again that afternoon.

On the left an attack was made in great force, and the battle lasted until long after dark.

About half an hour before sunset orders were sent me by General Sumner to despatch a brigade of my command to the assistance of General Porter, and immediately General Sickles's brigade moved to that point.

For a full account of the important services it rendered on the left, I respectfully call the attention of the Major-General commanding the corps, to the report of its chief, herewith inclosed. I will especially invite his attention to that part of the report which relates to the brilliant conduct of Colonel Taylor's regiment, the Seventy-second New-York volunteers. The loss sustained by the regiment is the truest index of its services.

The First and Third brigades were not engaged during the day, and remained in their position until near morning, when orders were received to march in the direction of Harrison's Landing.

I transmit herewith the reports of brigade, regimental, and battery commanders.

I desire to make honorable mention of Captain John S. Godfrey, the Assistant Quartermaster of the division, for his zealous, faithful and meritorious services in the performance of all of his duties from the commencement of the campaign.

As no official list has been furnished the Major-General commanding the corps, of the losses sustained by the division I have the honor to command, since the first day of June last, I herewith forward it. The number, as will be seen, is eight hundred and forty-seven, making the aggregate of my loss in battle, since the opening of the campaign in the Peninsula, two thousand five hundred and eighty-nine.

And in this connection I may be permitted to add, in justice and fidelity to the living and the dead, that the brave officers and men, whose honor and welfare were confided to my care, have uniformly slept on the field on which they have fought; that in all their encounters with the enemy, whether involving the whole force of the division, or down to an affair between the pickets, they have inflicted heavier blows than they have received; and under all their toils, hardships and privations, have evinced a cheerfulness, obedience, fortitude, and heroism, which will never fail to command the gratitude, reverence, and admiration of their chief.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Joseph Hooker, Brigadler-General Commanding Division.

Official report of General Howe.

headquarters Howe's brigade, Couch's division, Harrison's Landing, Va., July 5, 1862.
Captain: In obedience to instructions from the headquarters of the First division of the Fourth army corps, I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of the brigade under my command at the battle of Malvern Hill on the first instant. The brigade on that day was composed of the following regiments, namely:

The One Hundred and Second (old Thirteenth) Pennsylvania volunteers, commanded by Colonel Rowley; the Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania, commanded by Colonel Ballier; the Ninety-third Pennsylvania, commanded by Captain Long; the Sixty-second New-York, commanded by Colonel Nevin; and the Fifty-fifth New-York, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Thorout. The position of the brigade was on the right of the division line of battle, the right of the brigade resting on a deep ravine, running obliquely to the front, and impassable for artillery and cavalry, but practicable for infantry, the edge of the ravine on the right being covered by a thin belt of woods. From the right the brigade line extended to the left on an open field, except at a small spur of woods which covered the left centre. The ground in our rear was uncovered for three fourths of a mile. In front of our line of battle the ground was open, and admitted the easy passage of any troops, except in front of our left centre, which was wooded, the cover extending to within some five hundred yards of our front. The brigade line was formed a little before eight A. M., and immediately after Captain Moser's New-York battery reported to me, and was posted in our line so as to sweep the open ground in our front, and if necessary to shell the woods. Before the enemy had completed his dispositions for attack, having already got some of his artillery into position in our front, an order was received [264] withdrawing Captain Moser's battery, and although the ground was admirably adapted for the play of artillery, I was left for a time without any with which I could reply to that of the enemy. A little before nine A. M. the enemy succeeded in placing a field-battery about one thousand two hundred yards in advance of our front, and a second battery at a more distant point to our right and front. When the enemy, without any annoyance from us, had quite completed his artillery arrangements, he opened fire upon our lines with his two batteries. Their artillerymen were without the range of our rifles, and I ordered the brigade to lie down and wait the advance of their infantry. The rebel battery nearest us was worked with much spirit, and some skill, occasionally doing some little injury within our lines. But the battery more distant was not worthy of any notice, doing us no manner of injury, or even approaching it. When the rebel batteries had continued their fire to their satisfaction, the enemy threw forward, under cover of the woods in our front, a large body of infantry, and attacked our centre. When the attacking force came within the range of our arms, our whole line sprang to their feet, and poured into the enemy a withering fire. The rebels stood well up to their work, and largely outnumbered us, but our men had the advantage in ground, and were determined not to yield it. The firing continued with much violence on both sides, but the fire of the enemy, being generally too high, did us comparatively little injury. Soon, however, the advantage of our ground and the superiority of our arms became evidence in the effect of our fire upon the enemy. The enemy began to waver. I then ordered the One Hundred and Second Pennsylvania, Colonel Rowley, which was held in reserve, to advance with our line upon the enemy. Nobly and gallantly did every man of the regiment respond to the order, and the impetuous dash of our men the enemy could not resist, but gave way and were sent back much cut up and in disorder over the ground on which they advanced. This success gave us much advantage of position, by allowing the left centre of the brigade line to rest upon the woods, some eight hundred yards in advance of our first position, and at the same time affording us a crossfire upon any second attempt of the enemy upon our position. At this time I was reenforced by detachments from two Maine regiments, which being posted on my right in support of the Ninety-third Pennsylvania, gave me much additional strength. I was soon again reenforced by Captain----'s battery. I immediately placed it in battery in a favorable position to bear upon the rebel battery that had annoyed us with its fire in the beginning of the action. The battery at once opened fire upon them with fine effect, the spherical case-shot doing good execution in their teams and among their artillerymen. The rebel battery replied spiritedly for a time, and after a sharp cannonading from our battery it drew off the field. During this cannonading the enemy kept up a sharp fire of musketry at longrange, but with little or no effect. In the mean time I was again reenforced by two other Pennsylvania regiments, under the command of Colonel Barlow, from General Caldwell's brigade. The firing now became very heavy on the part of the division on my left, and by the aid of a glass I could discover the rapid movement of bodies of the enemy to my left. At this time a division staff-officer came to me for any assistance I could send to our left. I immediately ordered the battery and the three last regiments that had come to my support to the left. The enemy again came down upon the left and centre of our division in strong force, and was again repulsed, Colonel Nevin's regiment, the sixty-second New-York, on the left of my brigade, gallantly joining with the left of the division in the repulse. The enemy again rallied, and the firing continued sharp along the whole line of the division. About this time, batween six and seven P. M. my brigade was reenforced by Captain De Russy's regular battery of the Fourth artillery, which was at the time of great assistance, as night was coming on and the enemy seemed determined to make one more last effort before abandoning the field. The battery took a fine position, and delivered its fire, with that of the whole brigade and division line, with marked effect, until after nine P. M. when the enemy gave up the field.

I inclose herewith a list of the casualties in the brigade during the day, and when it is considered that the brigade was under fire over twelve hours, and a portion of the time hotly engaged, I think the whole loss sustained, being in the aggregate two hundred and eight, will be considered small.

More than thanks are greatly due to Captain J. Heron Foster of the One Hundred and Second Pennsylvania regiment, a member of my staff, for the gallantry and untiring energy with which he performed far more than his duties from early morning until late at night. He was the only staff-officer during most of the day I had, the other members of the staff being disabled early in the action.

I am, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. P. Howe, Brigadler-General. Captain Francis A. Walker, Assist't Adjutant-General Couch's Division, fourth Army Corps.

Lieutenant Thourot's report.

The following is the official report of the picket skirmish, in which companies of regiments in Gen. Howe's (late Peck's) brigade participated:

headquarters Fifty-Fifth regiment N. Y. S. Volunteers, July 4, 1862.
Brigadier-General Howe:
sir: In accordance with your instructions received from you, my regiment was posted, on the first instant, on the brow of a hill opposite a wood where the enemy was known to be in force. As near as I now can judge, the enemy opened fire from their batteries on our own position at about eleven o'clock, and kept it up nearly three hours, [265] the enemy being exposed to our fire during the time. At about two o'clock the pickets which I had detached from the Fifty-fifth, as well as those from the other regiments of the brigade, were driven in by the superior advancing force of the enemy. After the pickets had rejoined the regiment, and by your order, I gave the command to fire, and in a short time my men, with those of the Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania, advanced to the bottom of the hill, where the concentrated fires of musketry and artillery becoming so hot, we were forced to retreat to a more sheltered position in the woods on the left.

I cannot refrain from here expressing my admiration of the cool and daring conduct of your Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain J. Heron Foster, whose bearing under a terrible fire, and in a most exposed position, was brave in the extreme-nor can I close my report without thanking you for your noble example in exposing yourself as you did — showing the men under your command that you are ready to share the same dangers as themselves. I annex a list of the killed and wounded, and remain, General, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. Thourot, Lieut.-Col. Com'g Fifty-fifth Regiment N. Y. S. Volunteers.
Killed, Sergeant Vogel; wounded, 33; missing, 1.

1 this battle is also known as the battle of Turkey bend. Further official reports will be given in the Supplement.

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