Battle of Gaines's Mill

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“Battle of Gaines’s Mill, Friday, June 27th, 1862. At eleven o’clock each division, brigade, regiment and gun was in place. Some were in the broad, open field and others under the cover of the woods. The day was intensely warm, and many of the men, worn out with their previous day’s fighting, lack of sleep and toilsome march, had already thrown themselves upon the ground and were indulging in a short slumber, when a sharp volley and then the roar of artillery announced that the Confederates had opened the fight. Their shells burst in front of the farmhouse which General Morell had made his headquarters. The Federal batteries, after some little delay, replied and for an hour this artillery duel and shelling the woods continued. It was not till near three o’clock in the afternoon that the engagement became general, and then the battle raged for four hours with unexampled fury. As though by common consent, there was a pause now; but it did not last long, for the enemy had evidently received large re-enforcements, as the whole Federal line was attacked, with a vigor which showed that those who made it were fresh men. To prevent defeat, General Porter sent for re-enforcements, for under the additional pressure the Federal troops were giving way. Fortunately, General Slocum’s division came to the rescue, and with it Generals Palmer, French and Meagher with their brigades and two bodies of cavalry. This changed the character of the struggle. Meagher’s gallant gellows, coats off and sleeves rolled up, charged the enemy and drove them back. General Palmer’s men and Duryee’s Zouaves also went in with valor, and finally the Confederates rolled back like a retreating wave. This was the close of the day’s fight. Toward the end the Federals had fifty-four regiments on the field, numbering about 36,000 men.” —Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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