eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XI | Pages range from 1 to 994

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 339 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

been thrown up before the line of skirmishers in front of the brigade gave evidence of the approach of the enemy. For nearly two hours, while the enemy was moving his troops into position on our center and right, the skirmishers and sharpshooters of the brigade held in check the right of the enemy's forces, and frequently compelled entire regiments to fall back under cover of the woods to escape their deadly fire. The effectiveness of this line of skirmishers and sharpshooters in front of our masked forces deserves especially notice. They not only constantly reported to the general the movements and disposition of the enemy's forces, but continually thinned his ranks by their unerring fire. I would commend to the favorable notice of the general the commanders of the skirmishers, who so often during the day feel gave their lives to promptly inform him of the movements of the enemy. The names of these officers, belonging to the Forty-fourth New York Volunteers are Captain Larrabee. Lieutenants Gaskell, Kelly, Webber, Becker, and Orderly-Sergeant Grannis.

I would also most favorably mention in this connection the name of Acting Adjutant Lieutenant E. A. Nash, who was with the skirmishers in front most of the day and constantly communicating the various changer in position taken by the enemy. Nor would I forget to mention here the most gallant conduct of Major Barnum, of the Twelfth New York Volunteers, who constantly exposed his life to gain information as to the position of the enemy during the day. This gallant officer now sleeps in death. He fell mortally wounded at the head of his regiment on the 1st instant. His last word were, "My wife, my boy, my country's flag." The thousand streams of the Peninsula are red with the best blood of the North, but none are crimsoned with purer and nobler than that which flowed from his heart-a heart entirely devoted to his country. I would also most favorably mention the gallant con duct of Major Ernest Von Vegesack, aide-de-camp, Major Welch, and Captain Hoyt, whose services during the day were invaluable to the general commanding.

At thirty minutes past 12 o'clock in the afternoon the enemy commenced along our entire line a most determined attack. On the left of the line he was constantly repulsed till 6 o'clock in the afternoon, when an entire brigade of his forces charged upon our lines, broke through the left of the forces on our right, and vigorously attacked the right flank of our brigade. Thus sever pressed on the right and in front by a superior force, the Eighty-third Pennsylvania and the Twelfth New York, which supported it, were obliged to fall back. They were now quickly rallied by the general commanding, who ordered at once the Sixteenth Michigan to their support. Here, animated by the immediate presence and encouraging words of the general, these regiments sustained for a few moments a most murderous fire. Not far from this point of time Colonel McLane, of the Eighty-third Pennsylvania, gallantly fell at the head of his regiment, the noblest soldier of us all-fell honored, loved, mourned by us all. Here, too, fell Major Naghel and many other gallant officers of the same regiment, who freely gave their lives for their country. They all sleep well. Their names are immortal.

At this time the enemy had turned the right of our entire line of battle and the center was falling back, when the commanding officer of the Forty-fourth New York Volunteers with the left wing of the regiment commenced to retreat, and at length to fly toward the Chickahominy. I was in command of the right wing, and as soon as I saw the conduct of the left wing I was fired with indignation and anger, for not a


Page 339 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon