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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 388 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

found GeneraL Reynolds coming from the woods with the First and Eighth Regiments of his brigade, he having relieved them and brought them out of action in consequence of their ammunition being exhausted. He reported to me that the Fifth Regiment had also nearly expended all its ammunition and ought to be relieved. I directed my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Biddle, to ride down the line and if possible, bring up a regiment (of Morell's division, I think) that I had seen in reserve as I rode along the line. I now discovered a battery in rear of my extreme right which I thought might be advantageously brought into action, and I rode back to the spot and recommended a position in front to the officer in command, Captain Weed, of the Fifth Regular Artillery. He cheerfully assented, and at once moved off to occupy the position. He had not proceeded far I discovered a large number of men toward the left retiring. It soon became apparent that we had met with a reserve. I rode out in the direction of the retreating men and strove vigorously to rally them, placing a squadron of Indiana cavalry I happened to find on the ground in line, with orders to cut down any man who attempted to pass their line. My endeavor was partially successful, and I also stopped two batteries that were in retreat and brought them into battery against the enemy, who just then appeared on the opposite hill-side. This checked their advance on this point.

About this time French's brigade and Meagher's brigade arrived on the ground where I was, and I stopped the fire of the two batteries just brought into action while they passed down the hill in front. At the foot of the hill, however, they were met by General Fitz John Porter, who halted the column of these generous friends, as the sun was then about down and the enemy had retired from view, so that these gallant troops had not the pleasure of encountering the enemy that day. My division now deliberately retired, and in obedience to orders destroyed the bridge opposite Trent's Hill, upon which they had crossed. Here they did bivouac near the ground occupied previously by the general headquarters.

The only occurrence of this day's battle that I have cause to regret (except the loss of many brave and valuable officers and men, whose fall I sincerely mourn) is the capture by the enemy of a large portion of the Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves, Colonel Gallagher. This regiment, of Meade's brigade, had in the course of the afternoon relieved the Fourth New Jersey Regiment, Colonel Simpson (major U. S. Topographical Engineers), the latter promising to support the former in case of being hard pressed. In the heat of the action the Eleventh Regiment, becoming enveloped in the smoke of battle, continued the fight after the rest of the line had retired, being closely engaged with a rebel regiment in front, and before the colonel was aware that he had been left alone on the field he found himself under fire of two regiments on either flank besides the one in front. Notwithstanding the peril of his position he gallantly kept up a galling fire on the advancing foe as he retired in order upon the Fourth New Jersey. Here, to crown his ill-fortune, he found that he, as well as Colonel Simpson, was completely surrounded, a strong force having already taken position in his immediate rear.

The situation of these two brave regiments, which had so nobly maintained their ground (not having been recalled) after all had retired, was now hopeless, their retreat being entirely cut off by the increasing force of the enemy, who were still advancing, and they were compelled to surrender. No censure can possibly attach to either Colonel Galla-


Page 388 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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