Lee could well afford such losses but was far from admitting defeat. Jackson's men were to arrive soon, and the plan was to renew the attack the next morning. But much to the surprise of the Georgian's, and to the Pennsylvanian's they had faced the day before, McClellan pulled Porter's corps back, thus abandoning their fortified position's. Lee pursued and on the 27th threw his entire force at Porter's corps. He caught up with them near a small creek called "Boatswain's Creek", east of Gaines Mill. It would become known as the "The Battle of Gaines Mill" or "First Cold Harbor". Here Anderson's Georgia brigade would face the 2nd Brigade of Porter's 5th corps. Under command of Brig Gen Charles Griffin, this brigade included the 9th Massachusetts (The Irish 9th), 4th Michigan, 14th New York, and 62nd Pennsylvania regiments.

Charles Griffin

courtesy General Officers of the Civil War

Hill's Division was the first to arrive and the attack was begun at 2:00 pm. For the next few hours Hill's men, including Anderson's Georgia troops, would make 3 assaults on the heavily fortified 30,000 men Union line. Emerging from woods, the Confederates immediately came under artillery fire. Crossing a ravine and the creek under infantry fire, the troops then charged up the brushy hill where the Federal line was positioned. AP Hill noted in his official report of the battle, that the 35th, under Col Thomas, "drove through the enemy lines like a wedge but it was of no avail." It is thought the 35th was facing the 14th New York and 14th Michigan during most of this battle. Union General Griffin reported these troops successfully pushed back the enemy, but only after some hand to hand combat, and at the point of the bayonet. Union General Porter wrote of Hill's men "Dashing across the intervening plains, floundering in the swamps, and struggling against the tangled brushwood, brigade after brigade seemed to melt away before the concentrated fire of our artillery and infantry; yet others pressed on, followed by supports as dashing and as brave as their predecessors, despite their heavy losses and the disheartening effect of having to clamber over many of their disabled and dead, and to meet their surviving comrades rushing back in great disorder from the deadly contest." (Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Vol 2 page 337). Porter had 50 regiment's in battle, and his 5th Corps headquarters was in the Watts house, directly behind the four regiment's of Griffin's brigade.

Jackson and Lonstreet finally arrived with their forces, and Hill, who's troops had bore the brunt of the attack for the afternoon, now rested his men. Anderson ordered his men to lie down in the woods, and recalled Thomas' 35th on the right, and Harderman's 45th Georgia on the left, as these flanking regiments were sitting farther forward than the rest of the brigade. Behind the Georgian's, Texan and Mississippi troops under Gen Hood and Law formed up to take over the attack on Griffin. To their right Longstreet formed his entire corps, while to the left Jackson lined up his corps. As the first shades of duck began to fall, the entire Confederate force attacked. Porter's men, already battered from fighting all day, and now heavily outnumbered, put up a strong resistance. Gradually, the weakened Union line began to break and as Longstreet's men broke through on the Union left, the effect snowballed. Soon, Porter's entire 5th Corps was in a hasty retreat as Longstreet and Jackson's men poured over the crest of the hill. Hill's men, seeing the retreat, joined in the charge and finally crested the hill that they had fought all afternoon to possess. As darkness fell, General Lee had his first decisive victory at a cost of 8,700 Confederate casualties, compared to 6,800 for the Union. His exhausted men fell where they stopped, and slept that night on the hard fought battlefield. Hill wrote "the following units are given credit for heroic charges into the enemy - 14th South Carolina, 16th North Carolina, 22nd North Carolina, and 35th Georgia" The commander who had faced the Georgian's that afternoon, Union General Griffin, a West Point classmate of Hill's, would tell Col. Auchmitz, near the end of the war, that he regarded Gaines Mill as the "hardest fought battle of the war".

35th Georgia Index