War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0821 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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Numbers 39. Report of Brigadier General Cuvier Grover,

U. S. Army,commanding First Brigade, of operations May 31.- June 4.


Camp at Fair Oaks, Va., June 12, 1862

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the position occupied and the duty performed by my brigade from the 31st day of May till the 4th of June last, during which time it was detached from the division:

On the 31st of May I received information that the division, my brigade excepted, would move at once to the front, and at the same time orders to remain in the position then occupied by me, and to guard at all hazards with my command the bridge over White Oak Creek and the other avenues across White Oak Swamp in that vicinity against any movement the enemy might make to turn the left of our advanced forces, and also to watch, as far as practicable with the means at my command, and report upon any movement of the enemy between my position and the James River. Two sections of Captain Smith's battery still remained under my command.

During the afternoon several horsemen were reported to have been seen on the high ground on the other side of White Oak Creek opposite to our position. On the 1st of June Captain Craven, with his company (M), Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, reported for duty, and were immediately sent out as skirmishers and vedettes, and continued to perform those duties very efficiently until relieved by order of General Keyes on the 3rd instant. Though the ground was well covered to and for some miles along the principal road between the creek and James River no parties of the enemy were at any time met, but reports of small scouting parties were occasionally brought in by negroes.

On the 1st of June a communication reached my camp, through the hands of a negro, from a gunboat on the James River, and was duly forwarded to General McClellan's headquarters. On the 3rd, Lieutenant Ellis, on signal duty, with a small party passed our position, with orders to communicate, if possible, with the gunboats on James River. This party had not returned up to the time of my leaving. I furnished him with a guide, but had not the means of furnishing an escort. No other incidents worthy of not occurred until the afternoon of the 3rd, when orders were received to rejoin the division upon being relieved by General Casey. Pursuant to such orders, General Casey having arrived about 10 a.m. on the 4th, my brigade took up its in of march for the front at 1.30 p.m., and encamped that night in the position it now occupies.

In conclusion, I would state that for several days previous to my joining the division all the streams had been rising. Bottom's Bridge was for a while impassable on account of high water in the adjacent bottoms, and the water in White Oak Creek rose the such a height on the 4th that it was with great difficulty that my picket guard was able to get back from the other side.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.


Hooker's Division.