War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0431 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Original Records

engaged in forming his lines to repel the anticipated advance of the enemy we were opened upon by two field pieces from the open ground near the right and rear of the clearing. About the same time a large rifled gun opened on the railroad. The infantry of General Sumner's corps engaged the enemy in the wood at the rear of the opening. After a severe contest, which lasted until after dark, the enemy was driven from his position in the woods.

General Smith's division was about a mile in rear of Savage Station when the engagement commenced. It was immediately recalled, and General Brooks' brigade was thrown into the woods to the left and rear of the position. Here it engaged a force of the enemy until after dark, repelling it and driving it back. General Brooks was wounded in the leg.

General Hancock's brigade was thrown into the wood to the right and front to repel an anticipated attack there, but was not engaged.

Immediately after the repulse of the enemy the whole force retreated across White Oak Swamp, and General Smith's division arrived at its position about 4 o'clock.

During the morning of June 30 I posted General Slocum's division on the right of the Charles City road by order of the commanding general. About noon I was directed by the commanding general to assume command at the position guarding the crossing of the swamp, and repaired there at once. I found that a terrific cannonade had been opened by the enemy upon the divisions of General Smith and General Richardson and the brigade of General Naglee. The two latter had been placed under my command by the commanding general. The casualties in General Richardson's division were quite numerous, but I have received no report of the action from him. In General Smith's division and General Naglee's brigade the number lost was insignificant.

The enemy kept up the firing during the whole day and crossed some infantry below our position, but he made no very serious attempt to cross during the day, and contented himself with the cannonading and the firing of his sharpshooters.

On July 1 the two divisions of my command were posted toward the right of the position near Turkey Creek. They held this position during the day and part of the night, and, in compliance with orders from the commanding general, moved to Harrison's Bar, arriving there early in the morning.

On July 2 I moved my command to the position it now holds.

Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men on my command for the fortitude and courage shown by them in the fatiguing and distressing marches made in the interval between June 27 and July 2. In General Smith's division every march was made at night. In General Slocum's it was nearly as severe. The nervous excitement of being under fire every day for nearly a week, often without the opportunity of returning the fire, has caused a prostration from which in many cases the men have not yet recovered.

I think that all of the general officers of the two divisions deserve to be made major-generals, and I hope that they will be so made.

Colonel Pratt, Colonel Barlett, and Colonel Matheson deserve to be made brigadier-generals.