Camp near Harrisonís Landing

                                                                                                July 26th,  1862

 

Mr. Rodman,

 

                       

Dear Sir,

 

A day or two ago I received a letter from my brother inclosing a note from you to him, in which you mention that you have heard a few whispered insinuations against Lt. Scotts bravery. I am very sorry to hear of anything like this and am at a loss to explain it. As far as my personal observation is concerned, I have never seen nor heard anything of this sort. When the last charge was made at Gaines Mills ( or the Battle of the Chickahomony as it is officially called ). I was on the left in the edge of the woods with my two pieces, when the fire became pretty hot, LT. Scott came down with one piece and blazed away alongside of me. When our infantry had been driven out of the woods, rallied behind us and again broke, I saw it was useless to remain & gave the order to limber up and retire. Then & not before, LT. Scott retired and we came into battery alongside the remaining three pieces which were then firing canister. This soon became hopeless and we limbered up and retreated. LT. Hyde gave no orders about the retreat. I cannot tell to this day the exact order in which we retreated, my attention was so much occupied with my own guns that I did not look at anything else, & I did not see LT. Scott after the retreat commenced until we were some distance from the field. I saw him at his post just before the retreat commenced. Our road ran down a hill, and both pieces of the Right Section and one of LT. Scottís were lost on top of the hill or in descending it, I have never learnt the full particulars about the loss of these pieces. Three pieces reached the bottom of the hill, my two & one of LT. Scottís, here we came to a ditch and were delayed a few moments by missing the bridge. Finally, I got one of my pieces over but as four of the horses were killed on the other we were obliged to leave it. Lieut. Scottís piece attempted to cross the ditch but got stuck and the horses fell severely, injuring one of the drivers; a few feet distant was one of Capt. Weedenís pieces in the same fix abandoned & LT. Scott, not with out good cause, judging it useless to try any more, ordered his men to leave it. In spite of this order, they made one more effort and hauled the piece out and got it off safely. I think Lt. Scott gave up a little too soon & the safety of the piece is undoubtedly owing to itís chief ( Corp. Spear ), but I donít think there is any warrant for the charge of cowardice. I have never heard LT. Scottís conduct spoken of as cowardly. At Malvern Hill, LT. Scott was ordered to take charge of the forge & battery wagons, a duty he neither requested nor declined, but took in the natural part of duty. Of course, here he could not distinguish himself by a display either of bravery or cowardice. He did his duty and no man can do more. Let me assure you once more that I have heard nothing & seen nothing & I know of nothing which can cast any stain upon LT. Scottís character; and I am most deeply grieved that anybody should even whisper anything of the sort.

 

With many thanks for the interest you have shown in my welfare,

Believe me yours truly,

 

Charles A Phillips

 

From the collection at the  Steven Phillips Trust House, Salem, MA