to pursue them across Beaver Dam Creek. But General Wilcox arrived meantime with his brigade, and determined not to take this step until a bridge could be constructed for the passage of the artillery. While we were engaged in that business, Major-General Longstreet came up, and assumed personal direction of our movements. In this affair at Ellyson's mill, my command sustained considerable loss. The battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Coppens, and the Third regiment Virginia volunteers, were especially distinguished. Arriving at Hogan's house, in pursuit of the enemy, I was directed by Major-General Longstreet to conduct my brigade as an advanced guard. I had not proceeded more than a mile when the enemy were observed in the woods on Dr. Gaines's farm. I detached a few companies to drive in his nearest skirmishers and to dislodge his sharpshooters from their cover. This was effected without much difficulty. A line of skirmishers, extending along the entire front of the woods in rear of Dr. Gaines's house, discovered to me the position in which the enemy had resolved to offer battle. Of this position, about eleven o'clock, I attempted a reconnoissance. I deployed my entire brigade, under a galling fire from the enemy's battery over the river, and advanced across the field, a distance of a half mile, to within range of the enemy's infantry. I found him in very great force. A few hours afterward, Captain Meade, of Major-General Longstreet's staff, delivered me an order to engage the enemy. Immediately I moved from my position at Gaines's house, straight forward to the wood in which the enemy was concealed. Ascending the hill in front of his position, my men were staggered by a terrific volley, at the same time that they suffered severely from the battery across the Chickahominy. I was compelled to retire them to the cover of a ravine in my rear. After the lapse of a few moments, I again moved them forward, and again they encountered a fire which it was impossible to endure. This time, however, they were not arrested before they had rushed down to the edge of the wood where the enemy lay. In these assaults I sustained a very great loss — as much, almost, from the enemy's artillery as from his infantry fire. A single shell killed and disabled eleven of my men. Meanwhile, Wilcox had come to my assistance. Then Featherston and Pickett appeared. Forming line on the acclivity of the hill which screened us from the enemy, we moved forward, but, for several minutes of painful suspense, we were held in check by the deadly volleys poured upon us. At last, with a terrific yell, our brave men rushed down the hill, leaped the ditch, and drove the enemy from his position at the point of the bayonet. Emerging from the woods, they encountered an awful fire of grape and canister from the batteries in the field before them. Nevertheless, they pressed on, drove the enemy from his second line, and captured his artillery. So the field was won. In this brilliant fight my brigade bore a not unworthy part. Although they had been engaged with the enemy from the earliest dawn, and had already suffered serious losses, they were not behind the foremost in the final victorious charge. At Frazier's farm, the position of my brigade was indicated by yourself. About four o'clock, I received an order from Major-General Longstreet to go into the fight. At once I moved in line toward the field, but the wood and other obstructions forced me to form column and send my regiments in successively. Arriving on the field, I discovered that the brigade on my right had been repulsed, and. that my command were exposed to a destructive fire on the flank as well as in front. Nevertheless, they stood their ground, and sustained the unequal combat until reenforced by the brigade of General Gregg. We did not return to our original position until the enemy had abandoned the field, and surrendered his artillery into our possession. In this engagement my loss was uncommonly heavy — in officers as well as men. The Fourteenth Alabama, bearing the brunt of the struggle, was nearly annihilated. I crossed the Chickahominy, on the twenty-sixth, with one thousand four hundred men. In the fights that followed, I suffered a loss of eight hundred and forty-nine killed and wounded, and eleven missing. In a report which I had the honor to submit some days ago, I distinguished the officers whom I thought worthy of promotion. I will only add, now, that Captain Maurin, of the Donaldsonville artillery, attached to my brigade, exhibited himself a most courageous and capable officer. I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Roger A. Pryor, Brigadier-General commanding.
Reports of Colonel Strange.
headquarters Third brigade, Second division, July 15, 1862.Major: In obedience. to orders from Headquarters, I respectfully submit a report of the part taken in the battle of Gaines's Mill, Friday, June twenty-seventh, 1862, by this brigade. The report should not have been so long delayed, but for the fact that, in three instances, regiments were left without a field officer, and several instances occurred where companies were left without a single officer, thus causing unavoidable delay in the regimental reports. The brigade reached Gaines's Mill about four o'clock P. M., and was immediately led to the right, in the direction of heavy firing. Passing through woods, we soon reached a large, open, undulating field, with heavy timber on all sides, where we were formed in line of battle, and awaited a few minutes the approach of the enemy, which was momentarily expected, as they were exactly in our front. Finding they would not advance, General Pickett ordered the brigade to advance, which it did in good order and at a double-quick, until it reached the brow of the
To Major G. M. Sorrell, A. A. General:
To Major G. M. Sorrell, A. A. General: