War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0778 Chapter XXIII. THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA.

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I regard the conduct of the Eighty-eighth, under the circumstances I have mentioned and in the position I have described, as being especially effective and entitled to distinctive commendation. Had the Eighty-eighth winced from this position; had they faltered or been thrown into confusion when proceeding to the railroad; had the two companies of this regiment, which were for some minutes isolated, not sustained the fire of the enemy, I believe the issue of the day adversely to the Army of the Potomac would have been materially influenced. The conduct of the Sixty-ninth was incomparably cool. The officers and men of the regiment stood and received the fire of the enemy whilst they delivered their own with an intelligent steadiness and composure which might have done credit to, and might perhaps have been looked for in, the mature troops of more than one campaign. The creditable and memorable conduct of the Sixty-ninth on this occasion was, in my opinion, owing in a great measure to the soldiery bearing and fearless tone and spirit of Colonel Nugent, who, standing close to the colors of his regiment, over and over again repeated the order to fire on the enemy. The fire of the two regiments, in a word, was so telling, that the enemy, although in considerable force and evidently bent on a desperate advance, were compelled to retire, leaving their dead and wounded piled in the woods and swampy ground in front of our line of battle.

Our succeeds was made manifest by the fact that the officers of the brigade engaged on the occasion were occupied soon after the cessation of the firing, and are still engaged, in the humane work of searching after the wounded and burying the dead.

For further particulars, of which I cannot pretend to be personally cognizant, I refer you with pleasure to the reports of the officers commanding the two regiments of my brigade engaged on the day in question. They themselves, it appears, find it difficult to particularize those of their respective commands who distinguished themselves by their coolness and fearlessness during the action. I myself refrain from any discrimination of the kind, lest I might do injustice to those who, equally brave and bold as those seemed to me most conspicuous, might have been no less deserving of notice and honorable commemoration, but whose claims escaped my observation in the excitement of the engagement. I cannot, however, close this report without mentioning in sincere terms of praise the conduct of the surgeons of my brigade (those of the Sixty-ninth and Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers), as also that of the brigade surgeon, J. H. Taylor; their attention to the wounded being unremitting even in the very heat of the conflict, and whilst it was dangerous for them to discharge their duties. It is a source to me of the greatest satisfaction that the brigade which I have the honor to command can reckon with confidence on the services of such skillful, daring, and intrepid surgeons.

Were it usual in such reports to speak of them, I would have more than sufficient reason to acknowledge the courage and the heart with which the chaplains to the brigade stood by their charge in the hour of danger and consoled those who fell.

In making this report I find but one circumstance which diminishes the pleasure I feel in speaking so laudably of those whom I have the honor to command, and this circumstance is the withdrawal of the Sixty-third New York Volunteers, commanded by Colonel John Burke, which regiment, between 11 and 12 o'clock p.m. of the 31st of May, on our march from the camp at Tyler's farm, were ordered by General Richardson, commanding division, to fall back and defend the batteries of the division that were impeded in the mud and could not be brought