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[375] Mechanicsville turnpike. In the afternoon, the brigade was ordered to the front to take position on the left of the line, which had been formed and moved to the point designated. The country was densely wooded and in some places covered, with morass, and the movement was executed with some difficulty. In searching for a position for the command, I found some portion of our own troops already in front of the line which I was to occupy, and receiving a message from Brigadier-General J. R. Anderson that support was required, I sent the Forty-eighth Georgia to the right of the position occupied by our division to act in that capacity. The Third North Carolina and the battalion of the first remained upon the left. During the various movements in the thick woods and swamps, a certain portion of the Third North Carolina became separated from the body of the regiment. During this while, the brigade, as well as the rest of the division, was under a heavy fire of artillery, but suffered comparatively little, being sheltered from view, and partially from fire.

Before dark, the masses of the enemy appeared in the vicinity of the command, apparently endeavoring to turn our left. In this he was checked by the fire of our artillery and the charges made upon him by troops of different divisions and brigades in succession. These, from the nature of the ground, were more or less separate movements. The battalion of the Third North Carolina, under Colonel Meares, and of the First North Carolina, under Captain Brown, took part, doing good service. The Forty-eighth Georgia, from its position, was masked by the troops in front, and did not get into close action. The loss in this battle from the brigade was comparatively small.

During the night, the troops remained on the field, and moved early the following morning, with the divisions in advance, toward the Grapevine Bridge, which had been destroyed by the enemy in his retreat during the night. It bivouacked within a mile and a half of that point during Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday, July first, it moved with the division early, across the repaired bridge, and followed the route of the enemy's retreat until he was found in position on the farther side of White Oak Swamp Creek. Here it was brought to within supporting distance of the artillery of the division, which engaged the enemy until nightfall, driving him from his position, and enabling the pioneers to repair the bridge, over which we crossed on Tuesday morning, and followed the retreat of the enemy until our army came up with him in position at Malvern Hill.

Taking different positions during the morning, in the afternoon the brigade advanced, under orders from the Major-General commanding the division, through a heavy fire of artillery, to a dense wood in close proximity of the enemy's position, where it lay for a time in reserve. At about five o'clock it was ordered to take position in a jungle near the hill, upon which the enemy was established, and to the left of General Anderson's brigade, which it did in the following order: The Forty-eighth Georgia was now on the right, the Third North Carolina and the Forty-fourth Georgia, about one hundred and seventy men of which had rallied, and been brought by Captain Beck and other officers, and the First North Carolina on the left under Lieutenant-Colonel Bynum, of the Second, who had been detached for the command of the First regiment.

In obedience to the orders of General Hill, I made a reconnaissance of the enemy's position, and found him immediately in our front in strong force, with a battery well advanced toward us, and supported by strong lines of infantry. The number of his guns could only be judged of by the rapidity of his fire, owing to the nature of the country.

At about half past 6 or seven o'clock, an attack was made by the troops on our right, and we were, with the other brigades in advance, ordered by General Hill to move forward at once and attack the enemy. Gordon's and Anderson's brigades were on my right, and the troops of the three mounted the hill in a gallant manner. At its brow, our troops were met with a furious fire of shot and shell and musketry. Officers and men fell fast; but they maintained their ground, opening and keeping up a severe fire upon the enemy in return, before which his advanced battery fell back and his troops wavered. He pressed hard upon our left, however, and while moving his regiments to its support, the gallant and the accomplished Colonel Gaston Meares, of the Third North Carolina regiment, fell. Meanwhile Garland's and Colquitt's brigades had been advanced, and made good the action on the right. Darkness, however, was rapidly approaching; and not knowing the extent of the enemy's suffering, the troops fell back to the road near the brow of the hill. Other portions withdrew to the cover of the rising ground, and the night coming on, there was much confusion from the loss of officers and the nature of the country. Dense, dark, and in many places marshy, observation could reach but a short distance, quick movement was impossible, and in the din of battle the voice could be heard but a few yards. Fresh troops were ordered forward, and the troops of the brigade were collected in parties by such officers as they fell in with. A portion remained in the vicinity of the field during the night, and the remainder, with portions of other brigades of the division, having been collected, were retired a short distance on the Charles City road. During the night the enemy fell away from this hardly contested field. On Wednesday morning the brigade was reformed at the church in front of the battle-field, and with the division, whence it marched a short distance to the bivouac, at and near which it remained until the movement of the ninth to its present vicinity.

The movements and actions of the brigade under my command, during the six days operations of the army, being but a constituent portion of those of the division and army, a more detailed report is believed unnecessary. The aggregate force which entered into the series of engagements,

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