Tuesday, June 26, 2012
5th U.S. Cavalry at Gaines Mill – Official Regimental Report
Report of Capt. Joseph H. McArthur, Fifth U.S. Cavalry, of battle of Gaines’ Mill.
“Headquarters Fifth U.S. Cavalry
In the Field, July 3, 1862.
Sir: Agreeably to instructions I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Fifth U.S. Cavalry in the battle which occurred on Thursday, the 27th of June, 1862, near Woodbury’s Bridge, on the Chickahominy:
It is here proper to state that there were but five companies present, the remaining five acting with General Stoneman to the right and rear.
During the first part of the engagement the regiment was kept out of fire, prepared to move wherever occasion demanded. Late in the action, and about 6 o’clock in the afternoon, the regiment was moved up and formed in line of battle to support Benson’s battery and another battery on the right. The regiment occupied this position until the battery on the right had ceased firing. The enemy advanced boldly on these batteries, which had opened a murderous fire upon them with the evident intention of carrying them. As soon as the battery on our right ceased firing Captain Whiting, who was at that time in command, gave the order to charge. The regiment charged the enemy’s infantry under a most galling fire until 6 officers out of 7 had been struck down. The column, being left without officers, wheeled to the right, and came off in as good order as could be expected.
I regret to state that Captains Whiting and Chambliss and Lieutenant Sweet have not been seen or heard of since the charge, and I am unable to state whether they are killed or merely wounded and taken prisoners.
Great credit is due to Adjt. Thomas E. Maley, who, although severely wounded, rendered great service to me in assisting to reform the regiment at once in rear of our forces. Lieutenant Watkins was severely wounded and also trampled on by several horses of the regiment. Lieutenant Arnold was slightly wounded.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. McArthur
Captain, Fifth Cavalry, Commanding Regiment.
Lieut. James P. Martin.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Reserve.
Note -- Those struck down were Captains Whiting and Chambliss, Lieutenants Arnold, Sweet, Watkins and Maley, leaving Capt. J. H. McArthur alone unhurt and in command of the five companies of the regiment engaged.
J. H. McArthur
Captain, Fifth Cavalry, Commanding.”
(OR, Vol. 11, pt. 2, pgs. 46-47)