Today in History:

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


in the confusion arising from some of our troops firing upon each other. I at once reported to the first general officer I could find (Brigadier-General Robinson, of Kearny's division) for orders. By his direction the regiment was formed in line on the border of an open field into which our men were firing from two sides. We were formed behind a fence which our men were occupying as a parapet and from which they were then firing.

After stopping the firing of these other regiments General Robinson directed this regiment to go over the parapet into the open field, which was done with bayonets at a charge. We advanced quickly, and without firing, into the field. It was quite dark and the atmosphere was thick with smoke, for which reason I am unable to state what was the position or number of the enemy in the open field. They broke and fell back at our approach, and a flag with the inscriptions "Williamsburg" and "Seven Pines" was abandoned by them. I took possession of this, and have forwarded it to be brigade headquarters. Upon approaching the woods at the opposite side of the field the enemy shouted from the woods, "What regiment is that?" Upon being answered by the men that it was the Sixty-first New York, the enemy shouted, "Throw down your arms, or you are all dead men." We at once opened fire, which was vigorously continued on both sides. I requested Lieutenant Greenhalgh, of the staff of Brigadier-General Berry, who came into position with us, to procure us re-enforcements, as we were the only regiment in the field or in sight. He returned, and informed me that he could bring none.

After we had continued firing for some time Captain Miles, of the staff of General Caldwell, brought in to our assistance the

Eighty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Johnson, of this brigade. This regiment took position in our front,and opened and sustained a vigorous and determined fire. I directed my men to lie down and rest for a time. They came again into line and recommenced fire before we left the position. I am unable to state how long we remained in this position. Both regiments exhausted nearly all their ammunition, and we once changed position to avoid a threatened on our left flank.

The staff officer who brought in the Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers directed me to take command of that part of the brigade then in the field as the ranking officer.

We changed our position, as I have above stated, to the right side of the field, near the parapet, from which position we were subsequently withdrawn by order of the general commanding the brigade. Later in the evening we, in conjunction with the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers and Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, were ordered by General Kearny to occupy and hold the parapet until further orders. We remained there until withdrawn with the rest of the troops.

My regiment consists of eight companies, one of which was absent on picket duty and not in the fight. There were not exceeding 230 men present and 9 officers, including myself, in the action.

Six officers were wounded and taken prisoners at the hospital to which they were removed after the action. The proportion to be credited to this action of the loss of enlisted men which we sustained in the several actions in which we were engaged on this and the following days is at least 70 enlisted men. Colonel Johnson, of the Eighty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, was wounded. For the remaining loss in that regiment I respectfully refer to the list of casualties forwarded from that regiment.

On Tuesday, July 1, we were formed in line with the remainder of the brigade at quite an early hour, and sustained an artillery fire of