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[492] near the bridge, and fallen back upon their stronghold at Mechanicsville. The other brigades of the division having engaged the enemy in and around Mechanicsville, there seemed to be no immediate need of our brigade, and, in obedience to orders, I formed my regiment in line of battle, in rear of a hedge-row, to await further orders. Here, during a heavy cannonade of shell and grape, my regiment was put to a severe trial of their courage for two and a half hours without the privilege of returning a shot; but I am happy to report that not a man shrank from his post of duty. I had one private killed by a shell — Samuel O. Read, of company G. Night closed with the capture of Mechanicsville. On the morning of the twenty-seventh, the second brigade of Major-General A. P. Hill's division was put in the advance, and pressed on after the enemy as rapidly as circumstances would allow. On approaching Gaines's Mill, the enemy was discovered in strong force on the opposite side of the creek, to resist our crossing and the rebuilding of the bridge. After reconnoitring the position of the enemy, the second brigade was soon formed into line of battle, Colonel Hamilton on the right, supported by Colonel Edwards; Colonel Barnes on the left, supported by Colonel Marshall. Thus formed, we advanced upon the enemy, and in fifteen minutes after we opened fire they retreated in the direction of Cold Harbor. The division having crossed over, General Gregg was again put in the advance, and was ordered to reconnoitre and scour the woods and fields that lay on the left of the road leading to the enemy's works. For this purpose the same line of battle was formed by the brigade as before crossing at Gaines's Mill, and the order to advance given. As soon as we discovered the enemy, posted in a pine thicket, the charge was made, and in ten minutes we drove them out; and those we did not capture or wound beat a hasty retreat to the main battle-ground, selected and fortified by the enemy. At two P. M. we advanced to Cold Harbor, where we rested a few moments, preparatory to a charge upon the enemy's positions. The Crenshaw battery was ordered forward, which, in a gallant style, opened upon the enemy's position in front. This disclosed two heavy batteries of the enemy, who commenced throwing shot and shell into our ranks at a destructive rate. The second brigade was now formed into line of battle, with Colonel Hamilton on the right, Colonel Marshall in the centre, Colonel Barnes on the left, and Colonel Edwards for a support. In this position we advanced upon the enemy at a double-quick, under heavy discharges of shell, grape, and canister, many falling, killed and wounded. We dashed through tree-tops, mud, marshes, and branches, driving the enemy before us until we got possession of the brow of the hill upon which the enemy's batteries, in strong force, were posted. Here we remained for about two hours, exposed to canister, grape, and musketry, while a heavy cannonade was going on over our heads between the Crenshaw battery and those of the enemy. At four P. M., you, having determined to take a battery which had been throwing grape and canister on our right, called for the First Rifles, South Carolina volunteers. I asked what were your orders. You replied that you wanted me to take a battery with my regiment, which had been playing on our right, and drive the enemy back. “The battery was about five hundred yards in that direction,” pointing with your hand. I replied that I would do it if it were possible. I placed the two flanking companies, Captain Perrin's and Captain J. J. Norton's, one hundred yards in front, as skirmishers, covering the front of my regiment when deployed, and under the command of Captain Perrin. I placed Captain Miller's company fifty paces in rear of Captain Perrin's, to support him; and Captain Miles M. Norton fifty paces in rear of Captain J. J. Norton, to support him. I placed the four companies under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Leadbetter. In rear of these companies, thus disposed, I placed the six remaining companies, viz., Captains Harrison's, Moore's, Cox's, Henagan's, Hawthorn's, and Hadden's,--all the Captains being present and in command of their respective companies. Before giving the command to advance, I called upon the regiment “to remember the State from whence they came, to put their trust in God, and acquit themselves like men.” At this awful moment there was not a quiver nor a pallid cheek, nor any disposition to give way on account of feeble health, when there were, as I personally know, more than twenty men who had just risen from beds of sickness to participate in the battles. There was a calmness and settled determination on the part of every man “to do or die” in the attempt. I gave the command “Double-quick, march,” and, as soon as we had gained the old field, “Charge bayonets,” at the same time deploying the six remaining companies to the left, supporting the entire line of skirmishers. As soon as we emerged from the pines, we were met by a most destructive fire from the enemy in front and on our left, and, as soon as we had cleared about one hundred yards of the old field, two heavy batteries on our left, about six hundred yards off, poured into our ranks a deadly fire of grape and canister.

Here it was that my Adjutant, Lieutenant J. B. Sloan, was shot down by my side, while gallantly aiding me, and urging on the charge of the regiment. Here, also, fell Captain R. A. Hawthorn, gallantly leading his company. A few paces farther fell Captain Henagan, another noble spirit, leading his company. Close by his side fell his gallant Lieutenant, (Brown,) and farther fell the gallant and patriotic Lieutenant Samuel McFall, and near him fell Sergeant-Major McGhee, nobly cheering the men on to the charge. My men, although now under three cross-fires, and falling thick and fast from one end of the line to the other, never once faltered Finding no battery, they dashed on to the woods in front, where were posted seven regiments of the enemy, including the Pennsylvania reserves. Here my men got the first chance to exchange shots. They commenced a deadly fire upon the enemy, advancing

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