an order would at any moment reach me from the headquarters of the division, directing me to proceed with all dispatch to the scene of action. This order had been issued not more than ten or fifteen minutes before Captain Norvell, the assistant adjutant-general of the division, arrived at my headquarters, and directed me, by order of Brigadier-General Richardson, commanding division, to get my brigade instantly under arms and march at a moment's notice. This order, as I have already stated, had been anticipated, and fifteen minutes after Captain Norvell communicated to me the order of the general commanding our division, I directed Captain McCoy, assistant adjutant-general of my brigade, to report that my brigade was in marching trim and awaiting his further orders. These orders, which mostly had reference to the peculiar line of march over the Chickahominy which we were to observe, and which directed a slight divergence from the line of march to be preserved by the brigades under the command of Generals Howard and French, the First and Third Brigades of our division-these orders returned with Captain McCoy, and my brigade was immediately put on the march.
The march, in strict compliance with special instructions, was executed in the lightest possible marching order, the men taking with them in their haversacks only two days' cooked rations, and being disencumbered of their overcoats, knapsacks, and blankets. The march was performed with unremitting celerity, ardor, and eager readiness for action. I mention this particularly from the fact that on the line of march we met several soldiers and other parties returning from the field of action, who informed us that the Federal arms had met with a severe reverse, and that as some New York troops were implicated it was specially incumbent on us to redeem the honor of our State and the fortunes of the day.
It was between 9 and 10 p.m. when the head of our brigade entered on the scene of that day's terrible conflict, and we were apprised of the fact and it was impressed upon us startlingly by the appearance of numbers of surgeons and chaplains with lanterns in hand searching over the ground to the right and left of our advance in column for the dead and wounded, who they said were scattered in every direction around. The surgeon of my brigade, two of the chaplains, and the quartermaster of the Sixty-third New York Volunteers, First Lieutenant P. O'Hanlon, were here requested to give their services in the humane search after and relief of the victims of the battle-field. In half an hour after the brigade, having carefully looked to and secured their arms, laid down on the open field, the first time to rest for that day.
A little after daybreak Sunday morning, having learned that the enemy were in full force in the wood surrounding the field where we were bivouacked, I was on the alert, and with my staff was in the saddle by 4 o'clock a.m. The Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Robert Nugent, and the Eighty-eight New York Volunteers, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kelly, temporarily commanding, were under arms and ready for action the same hour. The men had scarcely partaken of some hard biscuit and water when a brisk firing in front of our position informed us of the immediate presence of the enemy. General Richardson, commanding the division, at once directed my brigade to prepare for action. This order, as the march of the previous afternoon and night, was executed with the utmost alacrity and enthusiasm. Whilst in line of battle and awaiting further orders General Sumner, commanding the corps d'armee in which our brigade is incorporated, appeared on the ground, accompanied by