War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0767 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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Numbers 5. Report of Captain George W. Hazzard,

Chief of Artillery.


Fair Oaks Stantion, June 6, 1862.

On Saturday, the 31st ultimo, about 1 o'clock p. m., and soon after the firing at Casey's intrenched camp was first heard, I received an order from division headquarters to proceed with the three batteries under my command across the Chickahominy by the bridge which had been constructed in front of our camp at Tyler's house. On reaching the bank of the river it was found impracticable to pass the artillery, whereupon I was directed to march up the left side and cross on General Sedgwick's bridge in rear of his division. The heavy rain of the previous afternoon had rendered the high road nearly impassable for guns, and the field which we were compelled to traverse had been converted into quagmires, into which the wheels sank at once to the axles. The leading battery of General Sedgwick's division had cup up every spot by which artillery could move without first constructing corduroys. This indispensable labor detained all of our guns and a majority of Sedgwick's on the east bank till after sunset, and the night proved extremely dark, but all of our pieces were safely crossed over the river before 3 o'clock Sunday morning, June 1.

On arriving at the west end of the bridge the valley beyond was found flooded to the width of 200 yards and to the depth of 18 inches; the corduroy was floating on the surface of the water, and two ambulances which had entered the columns in violation of printed orders had been abandoned in the roadway. A fatigue party of a lieutenant and 44 infantry soldiers sent from the division here reported to me, but they were unavoidably without either lamps or tools and could consequently render no assistance. Later in the night a regiment of infantry returned from the front, but they attempted nothing beyond guarding the batteries. By the greatest exertions Captain Pettit's New York battery of 10-pounder Parrott guns was about 2 a. m. dragged across the slough, and at 4 o'clock Sunday morning our cannoneers had constructed a corduroy over which the remainder of our pieces passed with but little difficulty. The only assistance the infantry regiment proffered us was the loan of some shovels.

Pettit's battery (B, First New York Artillery), being in advance on account of the lightness of his guns, arrived on the battle-field of Fair Oaks about 4.30 o'clock Sunday morning, and was placed by the division commander along the road which runs north from the railroad stantion. In this position this battery completely defended the only open ground by which the enemy could approach our position, namely, some cleared and level fields extending west and southwest from 900 to 1,500 yards, and bounded north and south by dense woods.

Frank's battery (G, First New York Artillery) was placed 200 yards in rear and at right angles to Pettit's battery, so as to drive back the enemy should he attempt to emerge from the woods which line the southern side of the railroad.

My own battery (C, Fourth Artillery) was at first placed in reserve, but subsequently four pieces (12-pounder) were moved south to the railroad, to shell abandoned camps of Generals Casey and Couch, which the enemy had occupied.

About 6 o'clock a. m. June 1 a body of the enemy's cavalry and infantry showed themselves in the edge of the woods and fields to the