5th U.S. Artillery at Gaine's Mill
June 27, 1862
Camp Along the James River,
near Harrisons Landing,
August 3, 1862
I received your letter some time ago. The date I cannot recollect just now, but it was while we were at Fredricksburg, Virginia, two days before we left to join General McClellan, opposite Richmond. My duties were so pressing just then that I could not write to you. I am sorry to say that I am still unable to do my duty as Quartermaster Sergeant, (which is my position in the battery) as I have been on the sick list since the 5th of July. I will give you a short description of our late battles before Richmond. Our battery was within four miles of Richmond, near Mechanicsville, and in strong hopes of being in Richmond on the Fourth of July; but we were greatly disappointed.
On Thursday, June 26th, between 6 and 7 the battery was brought in action against the rebels. As long as we could we see that night we literally mowed them down like grass, with our grape and canister. At ten oclock, that night, we were ordered to fall back still farther to Gaines Mills, where we had the second trial with our guns, which I and all the boys will never forget as long as we live.
On the first days fight we lost but one man in our battery. He was shot below the left knee and died the same night. His name was John Searfoss, of Easton. On the 27th of June we lost F.S. Ginginger. He was shot in the back and the ball passed out in front of his body; but he kept on his horse until he got off the battlefield, when he was sent to the hospital at Savages Station, where he died on Saturday night, June 28th. Sergeant Brodie was also wounded on the 27th, and was at Savages Station, where he was taken prisoner, - W. Naylor was shot dead; Corporal Geo. Hauck was shot in two places almost at the same time, and it was supposed that he died almost instantly; we tried hard to bring his body off the field, but just then the infantry that was to support our battery broke and ran.
At this time we gave the rebels double-shotted canister; - that is, two shots of grape at one discharge. We cut them down terribly, but it seemed as if the whole rebel crew were just in front of our guns, as we could see the large gaps we made at each discharge of our guns, and how quickly they were closed up again. They had at least six to our one in front of us. When they saw that our infantry broke they outflanked us and came near capturing the battery and taking us prisoners. They were within ten feet of our guns when we left the field. Our noble Captain was wounded here, and three of our cannons and four caissons taken. We might have saved more, but our horses were shot. In all the battles of Mexico, I never saw men fight so determinedly as did our boys from Easton, which made my heart swell with pride. There is pluck and courage in our town to be proud of. I hope that all traitors may bite the dust and our noble institutions all be restored and our flag wave again over every inch of our beloved country.
Sergeant E.N.R. Ohl,
Battery C, 5th U.S. Artillery
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