18th New York Infantry Battle Report
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Detailed Report by Major John C. Meginnis of the 18th New York Infantry on the Battle of Gaines Mills, 6 single pages, 4to., July 5th, 1862:

"Head Qrs 18th NY Vol...

On the 27th of June 1862 near the hour of 12 M I received an order to form my Regt. in line of battle in front of my camp. After complying with the order and while standing in line the enemy in front commenced shelling our Camp. One of their shells exploded in front of our Regt killing one and wounding three. One of whom has since died. I then received an order to form my Regt. in rear of the hill where I lay nearly two hours when I was ordered to take my Regt into Camp. At 2 1/2 oc I was ordered to form my Regt in the Brigade which I done when we commenced our march to the Chickahominy by the way of Woodbury Bridge. After arriving on the east bank of the Chickahominy the Brigade

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was halted on the hill near the Hospital and formed into column by division. My Regt was then ordered to support Uptons battery on its right flank. I immediately deployed and moved up under cover of the woods after remaining there a few moments the battery advanced nearly half a mile and I moved up with it under cover of the woods when I received order to file left and cross the field where I formed the Regt in column by division we were then led by Genl. Newton to the crest of the hill where the battle was raging. I was then ordered to move by the right flank across the road into the adjoining field and then deployed in line of battle. Our left resting on the right of the 32nd. About this time our right companies received a terrific fire of grape and canister, the men lying down and receiveing the fire with great coolness. In the meantime the 32nd moved across the ravine and formed line 

of battle under cover of the hill and opened fire upon the enemy. I then received orders to move to the left and form line

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of battle in rear of the 32nd close to the ravine. We remained there a short time when we received orders from Col. Matheson (32nd New York Infantry) to cross the ravine and relive the 32nd. We then moved into action. This was nearly 5 oc P.M. (we remained in action till 7.30). The battle raged without intermission till about 6 1/2 oc when we were ordered to cease firing to ascertain the position of the enemy in front as their fire had slackened. Capt. Barry of Co. D approached the top of the hill and discovered the enemy approaching in force. He remarked that "they were coming" when he was hit by a rifle ball and instantly killed. I then gave the order to open fire on the enemy and checked their advance. The enemy replying in a terrific manner and retiring. Soon after I received orders to cease firing as the Jersey Brigade were forming in our front. As soon as the smoke cleared away I saw a line formed across the field near the woods which I was led to believe was the Jersey Brigade. I Watched the line and discovered that it

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was moving at a double quick towards us. I then made up my mind that there was some mistake and immediately communicated my suspicions to Col Matheson. He ordered me not to fire until he could ascertain who & what they were. I then went to the front I discovered their flag when they were about one hundred and fifty paces from us. They were coming down in line of battle at a double quick. I immediately gave the order to commence firing and stopped their further progress. We continued the fire without intermission until 7.30 P.M., when I discovered that the enemy had succeeded in turning our right flank and were firing a heavy fire in our rear. I then received order from Col Matheson to fall back and form line of battle in the road at nearly right angle with our position which I made an effort to do but the enemy line being within thirty yards of us and the troops on the left of us having broke and retreated in disorder and my men being between two severe fires I found it impossible to do...

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...In falling back we received the most severe fire of the day and lost the most of our men. It was here that Lieut. H. G. Goodno received a severe wound after doing his duty most nobly throughout the Day. Here also Capt. Teo. C. Rogers fell mortally wounded. He was carried a short distance but the enemy pressing us closely we were obliged to leave him...

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...I would also call your attention to the fact that the 31st N.Y.V. poured a volley into us from our rear killing one men and wounding two causing the right of the Regt. to break and fall back few paces...

Official Copy 

Lt. Ernott Schermerhorn

Adjutant"

More great content in pages 5 & 6.

Very Fine. Easy to read.



 


  • Item #: NY18

18th New York Infantry Battle Report

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