previous next

[490] readiness to move at a moment's notice. At three o'clock P. M., on that day, we received the order to take up the line of march. Obeying this order, we crossed the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge, and in connection with the other regiments composing the brigade, drove in the enemy's pickets to within a half mile of Mechanicsville, at which point the regiment was drawn up in line of battle in rear of the fifty-fifth Virginia, on the right of the road. Advancing steadily, we forced the enemy to abandon Mechanicsville. Immediately beyond this point we encountered a severe fire from their batteries in crossing an open field in their front. In obedience to orders, the direction was changed to the left; and, marching by that flank, we reached the cover of the woods on that side, where we were halted. Here we were exposed for a few moments to a most galling fire from the enemy's batteries, under which fire I was wounded in the hand, and turned over the command to Lieutenant-Colonel B. H. Jones, to whom I am indebted for the facts connected with the report from that time until I resumed the command. Proceeding through this wood, another field was crossed and another wood again entered, where the enemy was drawn up in line of battle on the crest of the hill on the opposite side of a small branch in the ravine in front of us. Advancing through this wood, the regiment having been wheeled into line of battle, we moved down the side of the hill, took our position in rear of the forces of a brigade immediately in our front, and opened fire upon the enemy. Here, for at least two hours, the battle raged most violently.

Our loss here was considerable, Lieutenant Siely, of company I, being killed; Captain Caynor and Lieutenant Paxton, of company F, and Lieutenant Pack, of company A, being wounded, and many privates, both killed and wounded.

About ten o'clock, Friday morning, the brigade was ordered to move in the direction of Gaines's Mill, Lieutenant-Colonel B. H. Jones still in command of the regiment. Having passed beyond the mill, the brigade was halted, and disposition made to support General Anderson's brigade, which had been ordered to attack the enemy, strongly posted in front, to the right of the road. This regiment was formed in column of companies, at half distance, to support the regiments of the brigade in line of battle in front. Advancing, after a short delay, through the wood, we drove back the enemy's sharpshooters in the direction of his main line. Emerging into a field in front, the command was given to charge, and the regiments in front, supported by this regiment, (the Sixtieth Virginia,) rushed forward with loud shouts. Unfortunately, however, we had proceeded but a few hundred yards, when, upon reaching the crest of the hill, within full view of the enemy, the centre of the line encountered a house and garden fence, which broke the line of the regiments in front. At the same time the enemy opened upon us a terrific fire of artillery and musketry. Nevertheless this regiment maintained its position until some regiments in front, said to belong to General Anderson's brigade, gave way, falling back through the brigade. We were then commanded “to fall back in order,” by the General commanding. This movement was attended with some confusion, but a large proportion of the regiment rallied gallantly around their flag, and many members of other regiments, exhorted by the General commanding, and others, rallied with us. Here Captain Tompkins, of company G, was killed while gallantly exhorting his command to stand by their colors. Not being advisable to attempt another charge at that time, we fell back to the woods, where the regiment remained until again ordered forward in the final and victorious charge, in which charge, however, the regiment did not act as conspicuous a part as was desirable, owing to a misapprehension of orders; but the whole command behaved with remarkable coolness, though exposed for several hours to a most harassing fire of shell and musketry. The regiment remained on the battle-field until Sunday morning, when the brigade crossed the Chickahominy.

On Sunday evening, I rejoined the regiment, and resumed the command.

On Monday evening, the thirtieth, we were ordered to the support of General Kemper's brigade, then engaged, near Frazier's farm, with an overwhelming force of the enemy. The regiment advanced at double-quick, nearly two miles, to the brow of a hill, where a battery of eight guns (Randall's Pennsylvania battery) was posted, which had been taken from the enemy, and by them recaptured before we reached the ground. We were immediately formed into line of battle, the Fifty-sixth Virginia on our right, and ordered to retake the battery. Delivering a few volleys, the regiment moved forward, charged the enemy, drove them in and through the woods for a considerable distance, killing, wounding, and taking many of them prisoners, and recapturing the battery. Upon reaching the wood, however, the enemy poured a heavy fire into our line, upon which, the command was given to “charge bayonets.” This command was obeyed with great alacrity, and very many of the enemy fell before the formidable weapon. After driving them for a half mile beyond this point, the regiment was ordered to halt, where we remained for a half an hour, it being then quite dark. The enemy not again appearing, the regiment was ordered to return to the battery, and there remain until the pieces were carried from the field. This accomplished, we returned to the road, and bivouacked for the night. In this engagement, Captain Gilliam, company K, and Lieutenant Moore, company F, were wounded, with a loss of many privates killed and wounded. Suffering from a wound in my hand, I was again compelled to relinquish the command, and left the regiment in charge of Major Summers--Lieutenant-Colonel B. H. Jones being quite unwell, and having been sent to Richmond by advice of the surgeon.

On Tuesday evening, the regiment was drawn up in line of battle with the brigade, but was not called into action. In closing this report, I must

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Twymans Mill (Virginia, United States) (1)
Meadow Bridge (West Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
B. H. Jones (3)
A. Anderson (2)
D. D. Tompkins (1)
Moses Summers (1)
Siely (1)
Randall (1)
E. F. Paxton (1)
Pack (1)
Frank Moore (1)
W. H. Kemper (1)
James S. Gilliam (1)
P. F. Frazier (1)
Caynor (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
30th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: