Today in History:

54 Series I Volume XI-II Serial 13 - Peninsular Campaign Part II


that day, I received orders from General Sumner, commanding the corps, to detach two of my brigades to the assistance of General Porter, on the opposite side of the Chickahominy. I was directed to remain with the remaining one to defend the intrenchments. The brigades of Generals French and Meagher were accordingly detached, under command of the former officer, and I remained with the brigade of General Caldwell and the batteries of Captain Hazzard an Pettit to hold the line at Fair Oaks. The operations of the command of General French and the stand that he made against the enemy, who were already pursuing the routed columns of General Porters, are fully set forth in the accompanying report of the former. His command returned to the division next morning, after performing the duty assigned to it.

Saturday, June 28, I was ordered to get my division ready for a move, and accordingly the tents were struck, wagons packed and sent off to Savage Station, and late in the afternoon I was ordered to detach the brigade of General Meagher to that station,to report to Major-General McClellan for duty, which was done.

The whole day and night were consumed in waiting orders to move. About daylight on Sunday, June 29, I left as a rear guard to the army with my two remaining brigades and my two batteries. On arriving at Allen's farm, distant some 2 miles, I was directed by General Sumner to form line of battle facing toward Richmond, and my left flank in connection with the right of Sedgwick, both of us being on the right of the railroad. I formed the line with General French's brigade in the front line and General Caldwell in second line. At the suggestion of General French I obtained permission of General Sumner to occupy a large house and some log buildings in front of my position as an advanced redoubt. This was done by Colonel Brooke with his regiment, the Fifty-third Pennsylvania. I also placed four pieces of Hazzard's battery on an elevated piece of ground a little in rear of Colonel Brooke's advance,and supported by two regiments. The two positions taken together I considered as a key to the whole position.

These arrangements had hardly been effected when the enemy made his appearance in our front in force, attacking the right of General Sedgwick's and the left of my division with great vigor. Colonel Brooke was son engaged with the enemy's infantry and a battery of artillery which he now brought against us. The battery of Hazzard was not in full action. Only the limber-boxes had been retained by him (by my direction), and his caissons had been sent off to Savage Station. We soon brought them back, however, at a gallop before his supplied in the limbers had been exhausted. I also sent for Pettit's battery to come back from Savage Station,which it did about that time. The enemy in the mean time had made great efforts against the position of Colonel Brooke, but he bravely maintained himself, assisted by the battery, and was re-enforced also by a regiment of General Sedgwick's division, the Seventy-first New York. Soon after the return of that position of that artillery which had been sent for the enemy fell back and disappeared in the wood.

Soon after this General Sumner, commanding the corps, gave me in person the order to fall back to Savage Station with my command as fast as possible, which I proceeded to do. This movement was much expedited by means of the new road, which I had already caused to be cut through the woods in anticipation of the movement. On arriving at the hills in the rear of the station I met General Sumner, who directed me to form my line nearly opposite the road which had been cut for the purpose of crossing White Coak Swamp. This was about 4 o'clock