Numbers 40. Report of Brigadier General Daniel E. Sickles,
U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. EXCELSIOR Brigadier 2nd (HOOKER'S) DIV.
Fair Oaks, on the Richmond Stage Road, June 7, 1862
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to orders from division headquarters, on Saturday, the 31st, ultimo, about 3.30 in the afternoon, this brigade in light marching order moved from its camp at White Oak Swamp to a position on the Richmond and New Kent Old Stage road where it crosses a road leading to Meadow Station. We bivouacked in the pine woods on the right, lying on our arms, and at about 7 a.m. on the following (Sunday) morning, we were ordered to follow General Patterson (Third Brigade) along the Stage road to the front, and report to Brigadier-General Hooker, commanding the division. The column was promptly formed and moved forward a few hundred yards, when I was directed by General Heintzelman, commanding the left wing, to form in line on the right of the road in a large field with thick oak undergrowth in front, forming part of Snead's plantation. Before the deployment of the column was completed, Colonel Hall's Second Excelsior being on the right and Colonel Taylor's Third on the left, I was ordered by General Heintzelman to throw two regiments on the left of the road in an opening bordered on the left and front by woods. Colonel Hall was then directed to take position on the left of the road, his right resting on the road, supported by Colonel Taylor on the left. The Fourth, First, and Fifth Regiments were already in line on the right.
These dispositions were made under an annoying fire from the enemy's skirmishers and sharpshooters, who were in the woods and undergrowth in front. Their fire seemed directed almost entirely upon mounted officers. Some of his sharpshooters were taken in the trees. Skirmishers were thrown forward to silence this fire, and the line moved forward briskly on both sides of the road under a heavy fire, to which the Second Regiment, Colonel Hall, and Fourth Regiment, Major Moriarty, immediately on the right and left of the road, were most exposed. After one or two volleys these regiments were pushed forward across the field at double-quick, and with a loud cheer charged into the timber, the enemy flying before them. Major Moriarty's horse falling inn the charge, the command of the regiment devolved upon Captain C. B. Elliott, Company I. On the left Colonel Taylor moved steadily forward in line, as if on parade, to the edge of the timber in front, where he was directed to halt. On the right the First Regiment, Major Holt commanding, and the Fifth Regiment, Colonel Graham, were advanced through the oak undergrowth, instructed to proceed cautiously, observe the enemy, and to engage him if this could be done with advantage. Penetrating the timber and crossing some swampy ground they found the enemy in an open space, drove him back, at the point of the bayonet across the clearing, where he disappeared in the woods beyond. This force was composed of troops from Alabama and Mississippi, being principally the Eighth and Ninth Alabama Regiments.
The Second, Fourth, Fifth and First Excelsior having advanced beyond the line I was directed to hold, they were recalled, Colonel Hall's right and Major Moriarty's left resting on opposite sides of the road.