Report of Col. George L. Andrews, Second Massachusetts Infantry, Third Brigade.
Hdqrs. Second Regt. Massachusetts Volunteers,
Camp near Slaughter Mountain, August 11, 1862.
In compliance with orders from brigade headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, August 9:
The regiment, with the rest of the brigade marched from camp near Culpeper Court-House on the morning of the 9th instant. After a fatiguing march in the intense heat, from the effects of which one private died on the march, the regiment reached a wood near Slaughter Mountain and some 1,600 yards from the enemy’s position, where it was formed in line. Arms were stacked and the men allowed to take the rest of which they were much in need.
At about 5.30 o’clock, some time after the action commenced, I was ordered to report with the regiment to General Banks, near the center of our line. This order was, however, changed, and I was directed to take the regiment to the right to support the troops there engaged. I led the regiment through the wood. Company A, Captain Abbott, deployed as skirmishers, covering the advance. On emerging from the wood I found the enemy concealed n the woods and fields opposite and pouring in a heavy fire of musketry. The regiment was formed in line at the age of the wood, but was soon moved farther to the right. The fire of the regiment was mostly reserved until the advancing of the line of the enemy afforded a fair mark, when I ordered the fire by file, which was opened and continued with perfect coolness and great effect.
The conduct of both officers and men was, without any exception that came under my notice or that I have been able to learn, in the highest degree creditable. Both officers and men appeared cool and determined, waited for orders, and then delivered their fire coolly and with careful aim. The line of the enemy opposite appeared much shattered. The enemy having gained our right, their fire became so destructive that the right was obliged to fall back, my right company losing its captain and more than half of its men. The enemy still advancing, their fire becoming more and more destructive, and finding my men falling rapidly to no purpose, one flank having been turned, a retreat was ordered, and in compliance therewith the regiment fell back to nearly its original position, thence, by order of the general commanding the brigade, I marched the regiment to a position near the center of our line, where we passed the night.
Seven of the enemy’s cavalry have been captured by the sentinels from this regiment, they having advanced under the impression that the sentinels belonged to their own army.
I have to lament the loss of Captains Abbott, Cary, Goodwin, and Williams, and Second Lieutenant Perkins, all of whom fell on the field, having done all that officers could do to encourage and direct their men, and displaying perfect coolness and courage. Saddening as is the loss of these brave, gallant officers, all of whom were men of education, ability, and high social position, who had devoted themselves to the service of their country in her hour of need and proved themselves able and faithful in the discharge of duty, there remains the consolation that they died gloriously in the defense of as righteous a cause as man could fight for.
I have also to report Major Savage wounded twice and a prisoner; Captains Quincy and Russell prisoners; Surgeon Leland wounded slightly, while attending wounded men on the field; First Lieutenant Robeson an Second Lieutenants Grafton, Oakey, and Browning, wounded, the latter severely, and Second Lieutenant Miller missing. Second Lieutenant Heimack, of the Zouves d’Afrique, is also missing.
The loss of the regiment, so far as at present known, amounts to 5 commissioned officers killed, 6 wounded, and 3 missing out of 22 in acton; 25 non-commissioned officers and privates killed, 95 wounded, and 37 missing out of 474 in action.
The company of Zouaves D’Afrique attached to this regiment honorably and creditably discharged their duty on the field. They lost 1 commissioned officer missing, 4 non-commissioned officers and privates killed, and 7 missing.
The list of killed and wounded will, I fear, be considerably increased as the reports from the companies are corrected.
Several of the non-commissioned officers and privates were conspicuous for coolness and good conduct in action. Their names will be published as soon as a perfect list can be made.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE L. ANDREWS,
Colonel Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.
Brig. Gen. George H. Gordon,
Commanding Third Brigade.