Today in History:

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


Numbers 36. Reports of Brigadier General Joseph Hooker,

U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, of the engagement at Oak Grove, or King's School-House, and battles of Glendale, or Nelson's Farm (Frazier's Farm) with resulting correspondence, and Malvern Hill.

Near Harrison's Landing, James River, Va., July 14, 1862

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that instructions were received through the headquarters Third Corps on the night of the 24th ultimo to push forward the line of pickets covering the advance of the army before Richmond, and early the following morning chiefs of the First and Second Brigades were directed to establish their lines of battle immediately in rear of the then existing line, preparatory to commencing the movement. The Second Brigade, under Brigadier-General Sickles, was drawn up across the Williamsburg road, and the First Brigades, under Brigadier-General Grover, on its left, and extending well to the south. The Third Brigade, under Colonel Carr, was posted behind our lines of defenses, to hold them or to furnish supports for other brigades, as circumstances might require.

For half a mile to the front of our line of battle heavy forest covered the ground,and running through the middle of this was a belt of growth. From the great difficulty of relieving pickets across the swamp, in many places waist-deep, the latter had tacitly become the dividing section between the advanced pickets of the two armies, and any invasion of it was regarded as an aggressive encroachment by the opposing force, and repelled, if practicable,at once. Beyond this forest, in the direction of Richmond, was a cleared field of a little greater width, on the western margin of which were encamped up to a recent date two divisions of the rebel army. The swamp and the jungles presented formidable obstacles to an advance, the latter by affording places of concealment for masses of the enemy close by, while to penetrate it discovered the approach and position of the advancing force.

At 8 o'clock the advance commenced along the entire line by sending forward skirmishers, while the supports and reserves followed them within easy supporting distance. Grover's skirmishers became engaged at once, and as the fire from the enemy increased they were strengthened from time to time sufficiently to insure a vigorous and successful advance along his whole line. The Fifth New Jersey Regiment, Carr's brigade, under Major Henry, rendered good service in this movement. Owing to the obstacles to be overcome, Sickle's brigade was slower to come up with the enemy, but a rattling musketry fire soon announced that the enemy were in his front, and no less prepared to resist his advance. Still the brigade pressed forward until it had almost reached the outer edge of the woods, when the increased fire of the enemy satisfied me that our right was outnumbered. This was between 9 and 10 o'clock, and Colonel Carr was directed to re-enforce it with the Seventh New Jersey Regiment, under Colonel Revere, which was promptly executed, and that regiment was posted on the right of the Second Brigade, and again the whole line pressed forwarding the face of a galling fire and an obstinate resistance on the part of the enemy. Grover, on the left, had fought his way up to the line, and reported that he had established his picket upon it. In connection with this service I desire to call the attention of the commander of the corps to the brilliant con-