War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0819 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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I passed on my right a brigade of Kearny's division, under Colonel Ward, standing in line of battle. The enemy were enveloped in a dense forest, which this officer assured me my troops could not penetrate, as a deep swamp extended its entire length; but as no convenient opportunity presented itself for turning it, directions were given for my skirmishers to advance, and we immediately became engaged. They were closely followed by the Fifth and Sixth New Jersey Regiments, the former on the left. The Second Brigade was not yet up, and, apprehensive that the troops engaged might be overcome, all of my staff officers were dispatch to find and press it forward. As there was delay, orders were given Colonel Ward to support my command, which were promptly responded to by that gallant officer, and his brigade was brought into actinon on the right of the New Jersey regiments.

From the beginning of the action our advance on the rebels along the whole line was slow, but I could feel that it was positive and unyielding. Our lines were well preserved, the fire brisk and unerring, and our troops reliant-all the omens of success. After an interchange of musketry of this character for more than an hour directions were given to advance, with the bayonet, when the enemy were thrown into wild confusion, throwing away their arms, hats, and coats, and broke through the forest in the direction of Richmond. At this moment chivalry and rebellion presented a deplorable picture. Pursuit was hopeless.

This being ended, and no other fire heard on any part of the field, the troops were ordered to return to their respective camps. The engagement lasted upward of two hours, and almost all our loss occurred prior to the bayonet charge. The movements of the rebels on Sunday indicate that their purpose was to finish the business they had commenced on Saturday. The column attacked and routed were attempting to force their way over the belt of land lying between the Williamsburg Old Stage road and the railroad, in the direction of our depots in rear.

For the conduct of Ward's brigade I respectfully call your attention to the report of that officer to the chief of the division to which his brigade belongs.

It gives me great pleasure to bear testimony to the continued good conduct of the Fifth and Sixth New Jersey Regiments. Their ranks had been greatly thinned by battle and sickness, and they had been encamped in the immediate neighborhood of troops partially demoralized from the events of the preceding day; yet, on the first indication of a renewal of the conflict, I found the lines formed,and they were as ready to meet it as though our arms had been crowned with success. This is also true of the regiments composing the Second Brigade.

Brigadier-General Patterson was prevented from participating in these operations on Sunday by sickness, and his command devolved on Colonel S. H. Starr, of the Fifth New Jersey Regiment, whose energy and courage were conspicuous on every part of the field.

My warmest thanks are also tendered to Colonel Ward for the promptness with which his brigade was brought int action and the gallant manner in which he fought it. Especial mention is also due to Colonel Mott and Lieutenant-Colonel Burling, of the Sixth New Jersey Regiment, for their distinguished services on this field. Here, as elsewhere, they have shown themselves to be officers of uncommon merit. To these bright names I must also add that of Chaplain Samuel T. Moore, of the Sixth New Jersey Regiment, whose care and devotion to the wounded will endear him to the remembrance of every soldier. He