Today in History:

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


broken masses of the Union forces that had been engaged all day. The column, of which my brigade formed the right and rear, came upon the hill where the main hospital of the Union army had been established and where the greater position of our broken and retreating forces were assembled. My brigade reached the summit of this hill in two lines of battle - the Sixty-ninth and Eighty-eighth the first, the Sixty-third and Twenty-ninth the second line of battle - and having reached it, despite of the cavalry, artillery, and infantry that were breaking through them, preserved an unwavering and undaunted front. Our advance, which was repeatedly assailed by the shells and the round shot of the enemy, did not halt until commanded to do so by General Fitz John Porter, who gave the command in person. At this time the firing of the enemy suddenly ceased on our front and opened on our right, in consequence or which General Porter directed me to move my brigade obliquely to the right and so relieve the regulars under Brigadier-General Sykes, occupying the ground which these splendid troops had so gallantly maintained all thorough the desperate conflict of the day and long after their ammunition had been exhausted. Nothing more was seen or heard of the enemy through the night.

In this position my brigade remained until, under orders of Brigadier-General French, the column under his command recrossed the Chickahominy, which it did before sunrise the following morning. The Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, the fourth regiment of the brigade, under Colonel Baker, was ordered by the general commanding the column on the other side to keep in rear of the column, to defend the passage of the wounded and stragglers, until the brigade had been thoroughly destroyed, which work had already commenced when, accompanied by my staff, I crossed the river of my brigade.

Returning to our intrenched camp at Fair Oaks, the brigade rested until 10 o'clock on the night of Saturday, the 28th of June,when I received orders to march my brigade instantly to Savage Station, and there report to the general-in-chief. The Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, Colonel Robert Nugent commanding, did not accompany the brigade, being on picket duty in front of the camp at Fair Oaks. The other three regiments of the brigade took up and held a position at Meadowy Station indicated by General Williams, the adjutant-general of the Army of the Potomac, until ordered to report and return to Brigadier-General Richardson, which they did about 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 29th of June.

Being temporarily placed under arrest until 8 o'clock the following day, I respectfully refer the general commanding the division to the report of Colonel Robert Nugent, the senior colonel of the brigade, who had command of the same during the engagement at Savage Station on the evening of the 29th ultimo and who commanded the brigade on the march through the White Oak Swamp.

It gives me the heartiest satisfaction to bear witness to the able and intrepid manner with which Colonel Nugent fulfilled the duties which devolved upon him during my arrest; and it many to be inopportune for me to say that no colonel with whom I am acquainted is more deserving of honorable mention, and I most cordially recommend him to the favorable notice of the general commanding the division.

In relation to the engagement at Nelson's Farm, and Malvern, in which my brigade suffered severely but most worthily behaved, I shall furnish you with a report within the next hour.

I cannot close this report, however, without commending to the favorable consideration of the general commanding the division the following