War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0845 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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some 2 miles, part of the time at double-quick. The weather was sultry, and many of the men fell out exhausted and could not be pressed in again, and we entered the field with some 260 men, seven companies. Company F (50 men), having been detailed on fatigue duty during the morning, did not come up in time to join us. At the end of about 2 miles we filed across a field into a road, down which we pushed about a mile, when the men were halted near the edge of the woods and ordered to load. We then turned to the right, and were conducted by an aide of General Peck about a mile, when suddenly we were surprised by firing coming on our left rapid and scattering, as if from pickets. We immediately filed to the right in the woods about 100 paces; formed the regiment in line of battle as possible; forwarded two companies (H and A) as skirmishers under a desultory fire from the enemy, and fifteen minutes later the enemy advanced upon us in force and drove back our skirmishers, who retreated slowly under a galling fire, passing back on the main body.

Meantime the enemy, apparently of the strength of a full brigade, continued to advance. At this juncture Colonel Dodge, who was near the left of the line, ordered me forward to change somewhat the position of the skirmishers of the right company. As soon as I got to the ground I observed the enemy were coming up on our right flank. I at once reported back to the colonel, who ordered me to press up the right, which was slowly falling back. The fire now became general, the enemy advancing steadily and in good order, pouring in a heavy cross-fire on our front and right flank. The fire on the front at the left of our regiment was specially severe, and here Colonel Dodge was wounded while energetically urging the men to stand and advance. During this time I was on the right and the major at the center pushing the men up and lost sight of Colonel Dodge, and when I returned to the left I learned of his being wounded and borne off.

Our men, overpowered by numbers, now retreated, facing the enemy and firing in as good order as could be expected under the circumstances, and reformed behind the rifle pits beyond the open field. All our line officers deported themselves with steady bearing under fire, cheering and urging on their men. I have to-day learned that our regiment was sent to the corner on the right to support the First Long Island Regiment, Colonel Adams, who was watching this point of the line. We were, of course, ignorant of their position or that of the enemy when conducted forward, and in my judgment an error was committed in allowing us to file past the front of this regiment and make up to their right in the face of the enemy,drawing their fire before we got into position, and which gave the enemy two important items of information, viz, the strength of the re-enforcement and the position we took. All this might have been avoided had we been taken in by the right flank to the rear of the First Long Island Regiment, got into position, and thrown forward our skirmishers from the rear instead of from the front.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Eighty-seventh New York Volunteers.

Captain W. E. STURGES,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.