War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0763 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 3. Report of Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner,

U. S. Army, commanding Second Corps.


Courtney's, June 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 31st ultimo, at 1 p. m. while stationed with my corps d'armee at Tyler's, I received an order from the commanding general to be in readiness to move at a moment's warning. I immediately prepared my corps and advanced the two divisions (Richardson's and Sedgwick's) to the two bridges which they had built over the Chickahominy, and ordered them to halt there with the heads of the columns on the bridges till further orders. At 2.30 o'clock p. m. I received the order to cross the river and support Heintzelman. The columns immediately moved over the river and marched rapidly to the field of battle by two roads. Sedgwick's route being the shortest he reached the field first, Kirby's battery coming up at the same time. On arriving on the field I found General Couch with four regiments and two companies of infantry and Brady's battery. These troops were drawn up in line near Adams' house, and there was a pause in the battle. The leading regiment (Sully's) was ordered to the right to protect our right flank, and the remainder of Sedgwick's division was formed in line of battle as speedily as possible, with Kirby's battery on the right. One of Couch's regiments was sent to open communication with Kearny's division on my left, and the remainder of his command was placed on the left of Sully, and these troops all did great execution in the firing. These arrangements were hardly completed when the enemy advanced upon us in great force and opened fire. Our men received it with remarkable coolness and returned it rapidly, Kirby's battery playing with extraordinary rapidity and accuracy. Great praise is due Lieutenants Kirby, Woodruff, and French. After firing for some time I ordered the following regiments, Eighty-second New York, Thirty-fourth New York, Fifteenth Massachusetts, Twentieth Massachusetts, and Seventh Michigan to move to the front and charge bayonets. There were two fences between us and the enemy, but our men gallantly rushed over them and the enemy broke and field, and this closed the battle on Saturday. On Sunday morning, June 1, at 6.30 o'clock, the enemy attacked us again in great fury, and this time the brunt of the battle was borne by Richardson's division. This division was placed on Saturday night parallel with the railroad, and the enemy advanced across the railroad to make the attack. This was a most obstinate contest, continuing for four hours, in which our troops showed the greatest gallantry and determination, and drove the enemy from the field. I must refer to the reports of the division and brigade commanders, and I fully confirm every they have said in praise of their officers and men. No troops ever behaved better.

I would respectfully commend to the commanding general and the Government Brigadier-Generals Couch, Richardson, Abercrombie, Sedgwick, Howard (who unfortunately lost an arm), Gorman, Burns, French, Dana, and Meagher. From all these officers I received the most valuable support.

I would also beg leave to commend my staff officers. Surg. J. F. Hammond, my medical director, manifested extraordinary zeal and ability in his difficult and arduous duties. I am indebted to Captain J. H. Taylor, my chief of staff; Captain F. N. Clarke, chief of artillery;