War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0829 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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front of where General Casey's headquarters had recently been, and posting them under command of Captain Rafferty, of Company H, with necessary orders, accompanied by Lieutenant Latta, of Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry and some 5 mounted men, I continued to advance cautiously to the front, leaving our cavalrymen in the rear of the swamp on the main road until past the swamp and nearly one mile in front of the earthworks above mentioned. Halting in the edge of the wood looking out upon an open field for nearly half a mile in extent we could see in the far front of the field some persons moving in the skirt of the wood. A few of them came up the edge of the field until about half across it, then three of them came toward where we were until within some 500 or 600 yards. Lieutenant Latta and myself then charged upon them and brought them in without resistance. They said they belonged to a new company called the Norfolk Rebel Grays. As we were returning through the swamp we came upon two more rebels with arms in their hands, who had come upon our rear by a side road. Though but two of us, with already 3 prisoners, we had no difficulty in inducing them to drop their arms and pass in ahead of us.

After joining our squad of cavalry at the rear of the swamp I sent Lieutenant Latta to report to General Sickles with the 5 prisoners, and then, taking one of the cavalrymen and leaving the other three at the rear of the swamp, commenced to repair to the front of the swamp to take observance of the open field again. When nearly half through the swamp I observed a single mounted person approach. Motioning to the cavalryman behind me to take cover, I also moved into the bush until the mounted person was quite upon me, when I found it was Major----, of the C. S. Army, and easily persuaded him to accompany me to the rear; leaving him with the three cavalrymen, and again returned to the front of the swamp, and after watching the long field for nearly half an hour without seeing any movement whatever, was surprised to hear a bugle sounding the advance, followed by cavalry filing into the far front of the field. I speedily returned to the line of earthworks, and sent one of the cavalrymen with the major to report to General Sickles.

Soon after General Hooker, commanding division, and General Sickles, with the Excelsior Brigade, arrived in advance. I have omitted to mention that the advance of the Excelsior Brigade was so close upon the retreating enemy that they left four of their wagons, loaded with arms, ammunition, and provisions, in the swamp, and large quantities of provisions on the road through the swamp, evidently to lighten wagons.

Shortly after the Excelsior Brigade had taken position in the earthworks in front of the battle-field of Saturday General Hooker desired me to accompany him to the front of the swamp to point out where the rebel cavalry had been seen. Just as we were returning a party of rebel skirmishers who were concealed in the swamp, fired upon the general, killing one of the horses of his cavalry escort.

After returning to the lines, about 9 o'clock a.m., June 2, the Second Regiment, Excelsior Brigade, was ordered, under my command (Colonel Hall being too ill to be on duty that day), to deploy as skirmishers on the right of the road through the swamp. The regiment was advanced through the swamp, the right halted and posted upon a large field of "slashing", in front of which passes a road extending from the right of the long field in front of the swamp to the right through, the timber to the railroad in front of the pickets of General Sumner's command, on the railroad. The left of the regiment was deployed down this road