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

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 22 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

position to cover the passage of the remaining divisions and trains. In the course of the same night the corps of Sumner and Heintzelman and the division of Smith were ordered to fall back from their original position to an interior line resting upon Keyes' old intrenchments on the left and so arranged as to cover Savage Station. They were ordered to hold his position until dark, then to fall back across the swamp and rejoin the rest of the army. This order was not fully carried out, nor was the exact position I designated occupied by the different divisions concerned; nevertheless the result was that two attacks of the enemy-one a very determined onset-were signally repulsed by Sumner's corps, assisted in the last by Smith's division, of the Sixth Corps. These are the two action known as the affair of Allen's Field and the battle of Savage Station. The Third Corps crossed the swamp before dark, having left its position before the hour assigned and was not in action during that day (the 29th). The Second Corps and Smith's division safely crossed the swamp during the night with all their guns and materiel, and brought up the rear of the wagons train. In the night of the 29th and 30th the Fourth and Fifth Corps were ordered to move to James River, to rest on that river at or near Turkey Bend and occupy a position perpendicular to the river, thus covering the Charles City road to Richmond, opening communication with the gunboats, and covering the wagon train, which was pushed as rapidly as possible upon Haxall's and Harrison's plantations.

The remaining corps were moved in the same direction and posted so as to cover the main road leading from Richmond as well as the crossings by which the army had passed the White Oak Swamp and to guard the passage of our large trains to the James River. When the troops were in position in the afternoon before the enemy attacked they were posted about as follows: Porter with two divisions (Morell's and Sykes') and the mass of the reserve artillery on Malvern Hill (the left of the position); next Couch, with one brigade of Peck's division in reserve; next Sedgwick; then McCall, Hooker, Kearny, Slocum, Naglee's brigade, Richardson, and Smith.

During the actions which ensued at Turkey Bridge, on the New Marked road (Glendale), and at White Oak Swamp, changes were made in this disposition. The result of the various actions of the 30th during which our whole line was attacked, was that the enemy was everywhere repulsed except in his attack upon McCall's division, which, hard pressed by greatly superior numbers, and having lost three of its general officers, broke and lost most of its artillery. The gallant conduct of their comrades near by, especially Hooker's division, retrieved that mishap, and rendered it impossible for the enemy to reap any advantages from it.

By this time the last of the trains had reached Haxall's Landing, and during the night the troops fell back to the vicinity of that place, all arriving in safety and unmolested at an early hour of the morning. They were promptly placed in position to offer battle to the enemy should he again attack, the left of the line resting on the admirable position of Malvern Hill, with a brigade in the low ground to the left watching the road to Richmond; the line then following a line of heights nearly parallel to the river and bending back through the woods nearly to the James River on our right. On the left we relied upon the natural advantages of the position. On the right, where the natural strength was less, some little cutting of timber was done and the roads blocked.

Although our force was small for so extensive a position it was


Page 22 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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