Today in History:

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


he was under special orders issued by you, general, and that mine were consequently without weight. Seeing the importance of having a strong support to the battery,which was rapidly proceeding, to establish the resenting himself as an aide of the general-in-chief had he authority which he professed to have, I insisted on Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler immediately executing the order I had given. He refusing to do so, I at once placed him under arrest, and directed Captain O'Neil, the next senior officer of the regiment, to assume the command, and to have the disputed order instantly complied with. I feel extremely gratified in being able to inform you that under the command of Captain O'Neil the gallant Sixty-third promptly supported the battery, which but for them would have been left without support, and standing by it until its work was done, it was withdrawn by orders from the general commanding the corps. They sustained it ably and devotedly.

Night had fallen and darkness had almost obliterated the lines of the contending forces, the desperate fire of which was still violently maintained, when Colonel Nugent, coming up to me, declared his inability to maintain his position much longer, his ammunition being exhausted and his arms rendered well nigh unserviceable from the incessant firing of his men, and he begged of me at once to have his ammunition replenished and his regiment relieved until such time as his fire-arms would be so sufficiently cooled as to render them efficient. My aides being at the time with the other regiments of the brigade I did not hesitate to go at once, and as speedily as it was possible for me to ride to the headquarters of the general commanding the corps, with the view of obtaining what seemed to me an important relief for General Nugent and his brave and brilliant regiment. On my way to these headquarters I had the good fortune of meeting Colonel ---, of General McClellan's staff, who most kindly accompanied me to General Sumner. The general directed me, in case the firing had completely ceased and all was tranquil and assured in front, to withdraw all the regiments of my brigade and re-establish them in the position they occupied previous to their advance upon the enemy. Shortly after 9 o'clock p.m. I withdrew my brigade, in conformity with this order, finding everything perfectly satisfactory in front of our line, and our officers and men, despite of the fatigue and excitement they had undergone, in high confidence and spirits. This, general, is all that I have to relate in connection with my brigade serving your command during the afternoon of the 1st of July.

In justly reporting to you the excellent conduct of the brigade which I have the honor to command, the eagerness with which it rushed to the conflict, and the steadiness and fearlessness with which it bore itself under the closing fire of the enemy that day, I have to mention with sincere and deep regret that the brigade sustained in the death and disabling of many brave officers and men a loss which as yet it is not in my power accurately to estimate. The list of casualties will be furnished as speedily as it is possible to render it exact. In the mean time it is with a good deal of pride, mingled with pain, that I have to mention the wounding of Colonel Burke, of the Sixty-third, so seriously as to incapacity him and deprive his regiment and the brigade of his intelligent and faithful service, whilst leading his men into the battle-field. With a pride and pain no less sincere and heartfelt I have to report that Captain Joseph O'Donoghue, of Company C, Eighty-eighth Regiment; Lieutenant Reynolds, of Company A, Sixty-ninth Regiment,and Lieutenant Francis J. Hackett, of the Eighty-eighth, are amongst