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Monday, June 25, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass remained in camp near Gaines Mills


On what was described as a pleasant day the bodies of Zephaniah Britton and Patrick Kiley were officiated over by "the Chaplain from some other regiment" whose remarks and discourse "were very ably delivered" at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The burials, usually conducted near sunset, had been pushed up to an earlier time so as not to interfere with an inspection and dress parade scheduled for six and six thirty respectively.

Funerals, inspections, and parades were to be put on hold for a while as after dark Special Order No 203, drawn up at Fitz-John Porter's headquarters, was delivered to Brigade commanders Charles Martindale and Daniel Butterfield directing them to detail one regiment each for duty with Cavalry Commander George Stoneman. The 18th Massachusetts and 17th New York were selected and thereby ordered to provide infantry support to Stoneman while he reconnoitered Stonewall Jackson's "strength and positions" on the right flank of Union lines which then stretched to the banks of the Pamunkey River. As Major Joseph Hayes would summarize later, the reconnoisance, which was scheduled to start out the morning of June 26th, "was to be an interesting and exciting service."

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