War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0752 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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ion our men have behaved splendidly. Several fine bayonet charges have been made. The Second Excelsior made two to-day.


Major-General, Commanding

CAMP AT POPLAR HILL, VA., June 5, 1862.

Brigadier General R. B. MARCY, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: In the New York papers of the 2nd instant I see that General McLellan reported to the Secretary of War that my division, in some unaccountable manner, was driven back, losing artillery and baggage. This statement certainly does great injustice to my division, which I doubt not was unintentional. Some of my regiments undoubtedly wavered, but the truth is, I stood with my division with my division of about 5,000 men the attack of the enemy for about one hour under a most galling fire and without a man being sent as re-enforcement. The division was not driven from its line until it was turned on both flanks, losing the six pieces of artillery which were in the redoubt and one piece on account of the horses being shot down. We did not retire from the first line until General Heintzelman, with a portion of General Kearny's division, had come up to the second line. I managed to rally a small portion of my men at the second line, but most of the division retired to the third line. The second line could not be maintained by the troops belonging to the line, together with the re-enforcements brought up by General Kearny, and the troops retired to the third line by order of General Heintzelman.

From an examination afterward of my field of battle, from the number of graves, and the number of killed and wounded still on the ground, I am of opinion that on division that day or the next killed and wounded more of the enemy than mine.

You can well imagine that I feel much aggrieved by the remarks of the general commanding, but have that belief in his sense of justice which cannot conceive that he will fail to correct an error.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.


Brigadier General E. D. KEYES,

Commanding Fourth Corps:

GENERAL: The letter of Brigadier-General Naglee, of the 4th instant, asking for a board of officers "to investigate and report upon certain charges made against Casey's division" indorsed favorably by General Casey and yourself, has been received.

I am directed by the commanding general to say that he is fully disposed to render entire justice to Casey's division, and will be glad to embrace any opportunity to manifest this disposition.

A board of officers of high rank cannot conveniently be summoned now to "investigate and report", as requested. As soon as the exigencies of the service permit, however, it shall be done. Meanwhile an inspector-general will be directed to proceed and make a preliminary investigation.