Today in History:

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


About this time Captain Pettit (B), First New York Artillery, took position on our left, and soon after a portion of another battery on our right. The enemy soon showed the masses of his infantry near where the battery had been in position and was moving to the right. We opened fire and drove them under shelter of the woods. We now learned the position of the enemy in the woods by our skirmishers to be directly in front of us, and by turning the fire of the three batteries on their masses, held them at bay for an hour, their prisoners affirming that we did splendid execution among them, the range being good and the shells exploding well. A few minutes before sunset the enemy opened a battery from near the railroad bridge, in rear of the former site of General Keyes' headquarters. This was silenced in a few minutes by the fire of the three batteries.

Fifteen or twenty minutes before sunset the infantry of the two armies became engaged, and the roar of musketry was incessant and terrific till after dark, when the enemy was routed, and fled before our forces at least a half mile. Our infantry made charge after charge upon the enemy's front, and the determined shouts, and huzzas rang distinctly above the roar of the musketry. I consider the whole affair a splendid and magnificent one. The enemy's troops fought bravely, but our own surpassed them in every particular, and in two and a half hours from their first appearance had fought, defeated, and driven them from the field. During the engagement I fired 90 fuse shell, 40 case shot, and 11 percussion shell.

At 10 p.m. I was ordered to move to the rear, and at 1 in the morning I crossed White Oak Swamp Bridge. In the morning (July 1) [June 30] I reported to General Hooker for duty.

July 1 [June 30], having been ordered by General Hooker to pass on before his division and report to any commanding officer at the front, I proceeded to the hill on which the battle of July 2 [1] was fought and reported to General Sykes, but he not having a position for me, I afterward reported to General Morell, and was ordered into position near the large white house which the general occupied that evening as headquarters. Captain Bramhall's battery (Sixth New York Battery) occupied my right, and still another battery at Captain Bramhall's right.

About 5 p.m. a battery of the enemy opened fire on us from the woods on our left and about 1,300 yards distant. General Morell ordered me to open fire on it, and at the same time shell the woods in its vicinity. I threw 50 shell at an elevation of 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 . During the firing there was a heavy explosion in the immediate vicinity of the enemy's battery, resembling the explosion of a caisson, upon which the enemy's firing immediately ceased. We remained in this position during the night. While in this position we were supported by the Fifty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

July 2 [1] at 6.30 in the morning, I left the battery in charge of Lieutenant Winslow, to search for and report to yourself. At 7 a.m. the enemy appeared in large force on the main road on our front, coming forward rapidly, driving our pickets in, and yelling desperately. General Griffin ordered Lieutenant Winslow to open fire upon them, which he did, firing at 3 elevation 5 fuse, and having a most admirable cross-fire on the enemy with Captain Bramhall's battery. Lieutenant Winslow and Captain Bramhall fired rapidly and their ammunition worked well. There were two other batteries in position, but were not firing so rapidly. The enemy retreated under the artillery fire in a very few minutes, our infantry not becoming engaged.