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General Garland's report of the battle of seven Pines.

[The following, from an original Ms. in the handwriting of General Garland himself, was not published among the Confederate reports, and so far as we know has never before been in print. We publish it not only in accordance with our rule to give preference to original reports, but as giving the account of a great battle officially prepared by as gallant a soldier as ever drew sword in the cause of right.]

headquarters Third brigade, Third division, June 3d, 1862.
Major J. W. Ratchford, Assistant Adjutant--General, &c.:
Major — I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this brigade in the battle of Saturday, the 31st ultimo.

The brigade had been on outpost duty upon the Williamsburg road for four days and nights previous to this engagement, during which portions of it had been sent forward three times to make reconnoissances, which brought on skirmishes with the enemy. Working parties had been engaged also night and day in cutting artillery roads and preparing defences. During the latter portion [114] of these four days the Fourth North Carolina (Major Grymes commanding) was sent to our assistance. I mention these circumstances to let it appear, in justice to my command, that their previous labors had been heavy and wearisome when they were assigned to lead the advance on the left of our attacking forces and bring on the engagement which followed.

In obedience to your orders for making the attack, I formed my brigade in the open field in front of our previous position on the left of the Williamsburg road in the following order, to wit: Fifth North Carolina, Colonel McRae--180 rank and file; Thirty-eighth Virginia, Colonel Edmonds--350 ditto; Twenty-third North Carolina, Colonel Christie--350 ditto; Twenty-fourth Virginia, Major Maury--450 ditto; Second Florida, Colonel Perry--435 ditto. The Second Mississippi battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor, 300 strong, were deployed as skirmishers along the edge of the woods in front of the brigade, with general orders to keep one hundred and fifty yards in advance. The foregoing estimate makes the total strength of the brigade on that day 2,065, exclusive of Captain Bondurant's battery, left subject to Major-General Hill's own orders — since, being compelled to advance by the main road on my extreme right, I could not superintend it. In the foregoing order, upon hearing the signal the line of skirmishers promptly advanced into the woods in front, and the brigade followed, moving by the right flanks of regiments at deploying distance and taking direction from the right, which was ordered to keep in a short distance of the Williamsburg road.

Meanwhile, General Featherston's brigade (Colonel Anderson commanding) moved a quarter of a mile in rear as a support, whilst General Rodes and General Raines moved in corresponding position on the opposite side of the road.

My line of skirmishers had advanced only a few hundred yards when they encountered that of the enemy. The difficulties of the ground were almost insurmountable. The recent rains had formed ponds of water throughout the woods with mud at the bottom, through which the men waded forward knee-deep and occasionally sinking to the hips in boggy places almost beyond the point of extrication. The forest was so thick and the undergrowth so tangled that it was impracticable to see the heads of the several regiments as they moved forward, and the deploying intervals were in consequence very imperfectly preserved. Still all pushed onward with alacrity — so fast, indeed, that when the skirmishers became heavily [115] engaged, the regiments pressed upon their heels, and the fire became hot along our whole front before emerging from the woods. The regiments were brought into line of battle to support the skirmishers, who, without retiring behind them to reform, became in many places intermingled in their ranks, and so continued through-out the day. We drove the enemy before us out of the woods back into the abatis, where they had several regiments drawn up behind a fence to support them. I am of opinion that the line of skirmishers upon our right, on the opposite side of the road, did not advance so rapidly as our own, for Major Wilson, of the Second Mississippi battalion, reports that the right of our advancing line was subjected to a fire both from the front and flank. We had now reached the edge of the wood, where the abatis impeded our further advance, and the troops were under heavy fire. Sending my Aid, Lieutenant Halsey, my Adjutant General, Captain Meem, and a courier to order the several regiments of the centre and left to move by the left flank, as previously concerted, and endeavor to turn the obstacles in front, I repaired to the right of my line to give the same orders. I now learned that Colonel McRae, suffering from previous illness, had been compelled to retire in a state of utter physical exhaustion. I had relied much upon his services in looking after the right of our long line in the woods. A portion of his regiment I found temporarily confused from causes no way reflecting upon their gallantry, and I assisted Major Sinclair to rally them, and they again went forward under his command (see his report). I also assisted Colonel Christie, Twenty-third North Carolina, to reform and send forward a portion of his regiment, which had halted under the impression that some order had been given to retire (see that report). About the same time, Major Maury having fallen, I assisted in keeping the Twenty-fourth Virginia to its place, some embarrassment and delay having been produced by his fall. During this time I was without any staff or couriers, having dispatched my Aid and Adjutant-General to carry orders, and my unemployed couriers were either wounded, dismounted or separated from me in going through the woods.

Hurrying forward in person to the abatis, I found that as the regiments emerged from the woods they overlapped each other as they deployed, and being thus in many places huddled together, were suffering terribly from the enemy's fire. The regimental commanders who had received my orders to move by the left flank were unable to effect the movement in good order under the galling [116] fire. The alternative was adopted to push the regiments forward through the abatis against the enemy, which was done — the Second Florida on the left and in advance; the Thirty-eighth Virginia now next on its right, only a little behind. I have mentioned the reasons which caused the other regiments to be not quite so far up at this time. But they were readily reformed (stragglers excepted), and went forward either by themselves or with other regiments now coming up to their support. I should have sent back earlier for the supporting brigade to hurry up to our support, but, as already mentioned, had no messenger to send, and could not leave for that purpose myself. I trusted to Colonel Anderson's intuition as an accomplished soldier to perceive that we were hotly engaged, and, as I anticipated, he arrived upon the field just at the proper time.

Meanwhile, my regiments had advanced more or less into the abatis — the Second Florida and Thirty-eighth Virginia up to the fence and driving away the gunners and killing the horses from a section of artillery near the road. We were losing heavily, especially in field and company officers. Within the space of a few minutes the Twenty-fourth Virginia had lost its only field officer wounded (Major Maury); the Twenty-third North Carolina all its field officers wounded or disabled and eight out of ten company commanders, and seventeen out of twenty-nine officers killed or wounded; the Second Florida two field officers and ten out of eleven company commanders killed or wounded; the Thirty-eighth Virginia, its colonel temporarily disabled, but who again took the field. The entire brigade of five regiments and a battalion was in front of the fight receiving the first shock of the enemy's force with only six field officers--two regiments without any--two more with one apiece. Add to this the list of casualties amongst company officers, shown in the returns, and it is not surprising that regimental lines were not accurately preserved. Yet nothing occurred to the disparagement of the general reputation of the troops. There were stragglers, few or many, as upon all other occasions, of course. The supporting brigade advancing at this opportune moment, and the passage of lines being a fete in tactics which had never been practiced by any of us, large fragments of those regiments, who were left without field or company officers, were joined in and continued forward with that brigade. The regiments with field officers remaining (the Second Florida and Thirty-eighth Virginia, especially) preserved a more distinct organization. I assisted [117] Major Wilson to collect some of the Second Mississippi battalion, and sent them on the left of the Twenty-eighth Georgia. Passing to the right where Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston, before being wounded, had attached some of his companies to the Fourth North Carolina, I kept on the right with this mixed command up to the earthwork and rifle pits, placing them to hold the rifle pits and use them in reverse.

Arriving there, my horse, which had been shot at an earlier hour, became now so disabled that I was compelled to abandon him — accepting the use of Captain Mannings' until required by him to go after ordnance. I then mounted an artillery horse, which was twice struck with musket balls whilst I was upon him. Finding Major-General Hill, my division commander, near me, I reported to him, and rendered assistance for a time in conducting the reinforcements now arriving to their positions, and in rallying such regiments or parts of regiments as wavered anywhere on our part of the line. My own command now upon the field was intermingled in the manner already stated to a large extent with Colonel Anderson's brigade. The Second Florida and Thirty-eighth Virginia, having continued in the fight until a late hour, were sent back, under orders to supply their exhausted ammunition, about the same time with the Forty-ninth Virginia. These orders were given to them by Captain Meem, my Adjutant-General, upon learning that they were without a supply, and the orders were ratified by me. Riding back at the request of General Hill to communicate with General Wilcox, whose brigade was coming up, I found that Colonel Smith, Forty-ninth Virginia, had been directed by General Longstreet to join these regiments with his own and carry them back to the front. I of course resumed command of them myself, and now take especial pains in justice to them to call attention to their good conduct. The Second Florida captured the colors of the Eighth New York and forty-five or fifty prisoners, with several horses; was leading the advance and with other troops clearing men and horses from the section of artillery planted near the road, which the enemy never afterwards regained. The regiment kept in the fight up to the enemy's camp on the left. (See Colonel Perry's report of their action, part of which I saw and all of which I believe to be correct.)

The Thirty-eighth Virginia captured the marker's flag of the 104th Pennsylvania (Ringgold regiment) and nine prisoners, including one captain, and kept well up in the fight with or near the [118] Second Florida, retiring under orders as above stated. The casualties of these two regiments were heavy, as shown by the reports-those of the Second Florida especially so, being about forty-five per cent. of their force engaged, and the Thirty-eighth Virginia not much less.

Late in the afternoon I succeeded in separating and reorganizing my command, and held it under orders in reserve. Sleeping upon the field of battle, this brigade, along with Colonel Anderson's, was held in reserve on Sunday, the 1st instant, and was not engaged, there being no need for its services.

I am happy to be able to bear testimony to the gallantry and good conduct of all the field officers of the brigade. The unusual list of casualties amongst them shows that they were at their posts of duty and of danger. We have to mourn the loss of Major G. W. Call, Second Florida, and Major E. G. Christie, Twenty-third North Carolina--the latter mortally wounded, and since reported dead. These were gallant gentlemen and chivalrous soldiers. Colonel McRae, Fifth North Carolina, being compelled to retire, as already stated, from exhaustion, Major Sinclair acted very handsomely in supplying his place. Colonel Christie and Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston were both disabled while doing handsome service--Colonel Christie's horse being shot under him, and, in falling, throwing his rider against a tree, which bruised him severely; Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston being severely wounded at a later hour; Lieutenant-Colonel Pyles, Second Florida, being severely wounded in the gallant discharge of his duties; Major Call already killed, and ten out of eleven company commanders of the Second Florida killed or wounded. The position of Colonel Perry was critical and dangerous. He discharged his duty with signal honor to himself and to my perfect satisfaction. Colonel Edmonds, Thirty-eighth Virginia, had his horse wounded under him and himself struck with a fragment of spent shell, causing a painful contusion, yet he left the field only for a short space and returned to his command, which he led in the most handsome manner. Lieutenant-Colonel Whittle, Thirty-eighth Virginia, had his horse shot three times, and, being dismounted, fought gallantly forward on foot, doing everything in his power to contribute to the result of the day. Major Joseph R. Cabell, Thirty-eighth Virginia, also had his horse shot under him, and charging considerably in advance of his regiment, was the second man to place his hand upon a piece of the enemy's artillery and claim it as our own. The first man [119] was an officer of the Second Florida, killed soon afterwards, perhaps Captain Flagg. Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor and Major Wilson, of the Second Mississippi battalion, did their whole duty throughout the day, and succeeded in reforming parts of their line of skirmishers into bodies and carrying them into the fight. I regret that circumstances did not afford their fine battalion the best opportunity for separate action on that day. Major Maury, Twenty-fourth Virginia, had his horse shot and himself soon after wounded at an early hour, whilst gallantly leading his regiment into the fight. We felt his absence throughout the day. I refer to the list of casualties as a roll of honor for our company officers without reiterating names.

The following officers and men are brought to my attention in the reports of regimental commanders, who claim for the survivors the badge of honor to be awarded under general orders, to wit:

Thirty-eighth Virginia.

Captain E. W. Carrington (dead); Captain S. S. Lucke (dead); Lieutenant S. A. Swanson (dead); Lieutenant William Norman (dead); Lieutenant Charles Scott (dead); Color-Bearer R. McDowell (dead).

Company A--Sergeants Gardner and Turner (dead).

Company D--Privates L. P. H. Tarpley and Neal Gilbert.

Company E--Sergeant Shackleford.

Company G--Privates Robert Holmes, Alexander Gilchrist, John D. Algood, Giles A. Burton, James Wilson, James R. Bugg and R. D. Riggins; Corporal Hugh N. Weatherford.

Company I--Privates Eli D. Sizimore, Thomas L. Sizimore, Anderson Solomon, Robert W. Vaughan, Richard Wilson, John B. Gold and James Belcher.

Company K--Sergeants G. W. Morrison and C. C. Marshall; Privates John Burlington, E. H. Estes, R. J. Hatcher and John R. Billings; Corporal R. C. Fortune (killed).

(The officers commanding Companies A, B, E and F are now absent, wounded; they may have names to present hereafter.)

Second Florida.

Company A--Sergeant Riley (distinguished both at Seven Pines and at Williamsburg); Corporal Rasson; Musician Cushman; Privates Bradley, Bryant, Hooper, Kennedy and Reed (special case). [120]

Company B--Lieutenants Jenkins and Thompson; Privates Finley, Crosby, Colson, Tidwell, Parker and Malphus; Sergeant Williams, Color-Bearer.

Company C--Corporal J. B. Cason; Privates Gathegan, Wilkinson, Cone and Miller.

Company D--Lieutenant Parker (who captured the colors of the Eighth New York); Sergeant Stephens; Privates Rawls, Morrison and Waller.

Company E--Captain McCaslin; Lieutenant Reynolds (dead); Sergeant Roberts; Coroporals Howard and Cross; Private Burleson.

Company F--Captain Pooser (killed); Privates Irvin (killed), Tillinghast, Pooser and Butler.

Company G--Captain Flagg (killed); Lieutenants Brown and Wright, and Seargeant Roberts--wounded; Private Masters.

Company H--Lieutenant Carlisle; Privates Papy (killed), Halman (wounded), A. Dupont and Crabtree.

Company I--Corporal Belate (wounded).

Company K--Captain Butler (killed).

Company L--Captain Perry (killed); Privates Herndon, Dampier, Horton and Wilder.

Fifth North Carolina.

Lieutenant J. M. Taylor, Assistant Adjutant-General; Lieutenant J. A. Jones.

Company E--Sergeant J. M. Miller, Color-Bearer; Corporals L-Bain and Benjamin Rollins.

Company H--Sergeant James Goodman (for gallantry here and Williamsburg).

Second Mississippi battalion.

Company A--Private Sutton; Company B--Private Willis; Company C--Private Williams; Company G--Sergeant Weeks; Company H--Private Hankinson.


The field officers of the Twenty-fourth Virginia and the Twenty-third North Carolina being all absent, their lists of merit have not yet been forwarded.

Captain Bondurant reports the fine conduct of Orderly Sergeant J. L. Moore and Private Joseph Blankenship.

In this connection it is proper to say that the Jeff. Davis artillery Captain Bondurant, proceeded under orders from General Hill down the road to support the advance of the infantry; until encountering a heavy fire, they were ordered to find a position to [121] the right of the road, where Captain Bondurant delivered a telling fire, first with two and then with all six pieces. Later in the afternoon he was ordered up near the captured works to relieve Captain Carter and rake the road. He reached that ground in time to render handsome service in playing upon the enemy's reinforcements coming up the road. The loss of the battery was Private Knight, killed; Privates J. A. Meek and James Spinner, wounded; twelve horses killed or disabled.

I must not omit to acknowledge the valuable services of Captain Gardner, Assistant Adjutant-General upon General Early's staff, who volunteered to render me his assistance. I assigned him to duty with the Twenty-fourth Virginia, with whom he went into the fight, exhibiting both coolness and discretion.

In concluding this report, it becomes my duty to pay the last tribute of respect to the memory of my Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain J. Lawrence Meem, whose conspicuous gallantry won the admiration of all who saw him, and added to the laurels which he had gathered at Williamsburg and on previous fields. At a late hour he was instantly killed. By his death the service is deprived of a gifted young officer and society of a favorite whom we shall long deplore.

My Aid de-Camp, Lieutenant D. P. Halsey, having attracted universal applause throughout my entire command by his handsome behavior, was rallying a disordered regiment and leading it forward with their colors in his hand, when he received a dangerous wound in the head, which will deprive me of his valuable services for a long time to come.

Having thus most imperfectly reported the operations of my command, I forward herewith the reports of the subordinate commanders and complete lists of casualties, showing the loss of the brigade to be--

Killed outright,98
Wounded,600
Missing,42
 
Grand total,740

Half of the missing supposed by regimental commanders to be killed or wounded.

I have the honor to be, Major, your obedient servant,

S. Garland, Jr., Brigadier-General, commanding Third Brigade, Hill's Division.

[122]

Succinct statement of loss.

 Killed.Wounded.Missing.
General staff,11
Fifth North Carolina,126
Twenty-fourth Virginia,12869
Thirty-eighth Virginia,1611714
Twenty-third North Carolina,181456
Second Florida,371529
Second Mississippi Battalion,12714
Jeff. Davis Artillery,12
 
 9860042

J. R. Cabell, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General. June 6th, 1862.

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