Today in History:

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


ing his line an oblique direction on the right, Colonel Taylor delivered a sustained and most effective fire for an hour. Twice the enemy, suffering from the rapidity and precision of our fire, attempted to advance across the open field, but each time was gallantly driven back with great loss, when he withdrew, leaving some parties to carry off his wounded.

In the mean time Colonel Graham's Fifth Excelsior was posted on the left of the road to the rear and left of Colonel Taylor, about 100 yards in advance of one of our batteries, and far enough to the left to unmask its fire. Colonel Graham was immediately engaged with the enemy, who was covered by some woods on the left. Opening with great spirit an oblique fire to the left, which being promptly followed by grape and canister from the battery, the enemy was driven from his ground with fearful loss. Colonel Graham was then withdrawn from the front to the support of the battery on his right. Later, when the firing of the enemy had ceased on the right,he was again advanced and pickets thrown out to the woods in front.

Leaving Major Holt within supporting distance of a battery farther on the right, I moved Colonel Hall's Second Excelsior to the front, where he relieved the First U. S. Chasseurs, Lieutenant-Colonel Shaler commanding. The fire from the battery effectually cleared the woods in his front. After lying on his arms about two hours Colonel Hall moved forward in line with the Third Excelsior, and remained in that position until my regiments were withdrawn. The battery on the right having retired, I sent for Major Holt's battalion, First and Fourth Excelsior, as a reserve support for my line in front, but it seems that an aide-de-camp of Brigadier-General Howe had in my name ordered the regiment to the front, to relieve as, he understood, the Eighty-first Pennsylvania. Some time afterward I found Major Holt in position on the left, he having relieved one of the regiments of General Howe's brigade.

Observing that there was no reserve supply of ammunition on the right in General Couch's division, I brought up from the rear 20,000 rounds, caliber 58, having previously supplied Colonel Taylor with 15 rounds a man from Major Holt's boxes while he was in reserve. As soon as the ammunition arrived Colonel Taylor and Major Holt obtained 60 rounds a man, and the remained was placed at the disposal of the regiments of other commands.

Colonel Taylor lost several men from the fire of one of our batteries in the rear. There was no hospital and no surgeon in my part of the field. There were many of our wounded who languished and died from the lack of medical attendance.

Early in the morning I was informed by General Couch that he was ordered to withdraw all his troops and move to the rear. No orders were communicated to me, but General Couch intimated to me that I should follow the movement of his command.

About 2 a.m. I withdrew my regiments commencing with the Third (Colonel Taylor), and having formed in line of battle about 600 yards in the rear, covered the movement of several isolated regiments, called in my pickets, and with a section of a battery moved off in column, following a portion of Kearny's division, which I overtook on the route toward Harrison's Landing. Colonel Hall remained on the large field in the rear of General Couch's headquarters when he reported to Colonel Averell, Third Pennsylvania Cavalry who was in command of the rear guard, and continued under his orders until about 9 a.m., when he was relieved and proceeded to join this brigade.