War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0253 Chapter XXIII. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

Dudley's house moving on the north side of the Chickahominy in the direction of the railroad and on the roads leading to White House.

Our forces in front and on the south side of the Chickahominy occupied their usual lines. Large numbers of wounded from the fields of Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill were gathered at the Savage house and in the grounds surrounding it, at the railroad station. The wagons of the signal party were kept packed, and the party was held in readiness to move. By evening it had become generally understood that headquarters were to move that night, and the order had been circulated that all were to be in preparation to march at the shortest notice. The tents were finally struck at about 2 a.m.


It had been raining during the night, and at daylight a thick fog was hiding the movements of both armies. Instructions were given before dawn to Lieutenant Fisher to report at daylight with a party of five officer and their flagmen at General Smith's headquarters, still near Golding's farm, and afterwards to accompany any movement of the troops of that portion of the army, now our right, during the ensuing day. A station of observation was ordered to be established at Dudley's house. Four officers, with their men, were to report as usual at daylight to General Hooker. The remainder of the party was to be in reserve near Savage Station, and there to wait for further orders. All trains were to move at once for the depot on James River. Soon after daylight it was evident that the general movement of the army which had been taking place drew near its completion. The rear of the last train moving from the front was in the open fields surrounding Savage Station. Headquarters moved across White Oak Swamp.

About 7 a.m. the fog, which had shut out everything, lifted, and from the station at Dudley's house long lines of the enemy's troops could then be seen moving on the north side of the river, as if toward White House, and halted at the different roads leading from the bridges. The movement was evidently in force. A report of these facts was sent by courier to General McClellan. An hour later the forces under General Franklin, moving back from our lines in front by way of Trent's house, began to occupy positions at Dudley's house and near Savage Stantion. The signal officers serving with this portion of the army, stationing themselves on trees and on house-tops as the troops moved back, reported to General Franklin and his division commanders such movements of the enemy as they could see, until the enemy's pickets had crossed the river from the northern side, and until in the afternoon the last troops moved from Dudley's house to go upon the battle-field at Savage Station, the officers upon Dudley's station leaving it with the rear guard. At noon the troops under Generals Hooker and Heintzelman were occupying the second line of defenses in front of Savage Station and on both side of the Williamsburg roads. There were occasional skirmishers and exchange of cannon shots near this place, but the enemy had not shown themselves in force. The sounds of a slight engagement near Sumner's position was audible for a time, but soon ceased. The troops were everywhere on the alert and in good spirits, and the retreat seemed making with direction.

Squads of men at this time were destroying at Savage Station property it had been found necessary to leave behind. Close to the Williamsburg road at Savage Station a siege howitzer, a piece of the siege train, had become disabled by some breakage of its carriage.