Today in History:

71 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


in the same manner as the first, only to imitate its retreat but still more precipitately, under the incessant and well-directed fire of my eager troops. The enemy appearing in great force in the edge of woods, Colonel Abbott directed me to retire slowly, believing it impossible for my small force to hold the position. Understanding, however, that it was deemed important to hold the position, if possible, I sent word to Colonel Abbott that I thought I would be able to do so. The order to retire was accordingly countermanded. Three battalions of the enemy, one of cavalry and two of infantry, now moved out of the woods in column (as I judged from their subsequent deployment) doubled on the center. Awaiting their approach to about 500 yards from my line, the regiment delivered a deliberate volley, accompanied with yells and cheers, which probably suggested to the enemy the presence of a much larger force, or perhaps the arrival of re-enforcements, for the whole body hastily withdrew toward the edge of the woods. At this moment I perceived a strong force deploying and moving toward my left flank, apparently preparing to charge from that direction. I accordingly withdrew some 300 yards, at the same time changing the direction of the line of battle to face the forces on my left. For some cause this force rapidly withdrew, and the regiment again became engaged with the force in front,and returned to its former position. The enemy withdrew and did not again appear in force in that direction, and I ceased firing. I soon received an order from Colonel Abbott to withdrew to the rear of the battery, then to move in line of battle through the woods to the turnpike; thence through the woods east of the turnpike to a road parallel to it; thence down this road till I joined the Seventh Connecticut on my right. Remaining here till about sunset, I received an order to return to my present camp.

The morning report of the 10th showed present 17 officers and 288 enlisted men. Deducting the pioneers, drum corps, and a few who had fallen out from exhaustion on the march, there were actually engaged about 275 officers and men.

Respecting the conduct of my men, I can only say that it was all that could be desired. If they failed in any respect it was in an excess of zeal and impetuosity to move forward against the enemy. The re-enlisted veteran of the regiment were not present. The force engaged was chiefly composed of recruits of but a few months' drill and service. Their conduct on this occasion deserves a high compliment, and is a source of pride and satisfaction to their officers. My subordinate officer uniformly conducted themselves in a way to meet my full approbation, some of them exhibiting admirable coolness and gallantry. I append hereto a list* of the casualties during the action. The list is small in consequence, partly, of the sheltered position of my command and partly of the fire of the enemy being very high. Their artillery did not execution whatever.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers.

Lieutenant E. L. MOORE,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


*Embodied in revised statement, p.13.