War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0873 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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ings we found a curtain of trees, which were cut down to form an abatis. That line of abatis was continued on a curve to the right and rear and across the Nine-mile road.

When the battle commenced Casey's division was in front of the abatis; Naglee's brigade on the right, having two regiments beyond the railroad; Palmer's brigade on the left, and Wessells' brigade in the center. Couch's division was on the right and left of the Williamsburg road, near the forks, and along the Nine-mile road. Peck's brigade was on the left, Devens' brigade in the center, and Abercrombie's on the right, having two regiments and Brady's battery across the railroad, near Fair Oaks, thus forming two lines of battle.

Through all the night of the 30th of May there was raging a storm the like of which I cannot remember. Torrents of rain drenched the earth, the thunderbolts rolled and fell without intermission, and the heavens flashed with a perpetual blaze of lightning. From their beds of mud and the peltings of this storm the Fourth Corps rose to fight the battle of the 31st of May, 1862.

At about 10 o'clock, a. m. it was announced to me that an aide-de-camp* of Major General J. E. Johnston, C. S. Army, had been captured by our pickets on the edge of the field referred to above, beyond Fair Oaks Station. While speaking with the young gentleman, at the moment of sending him away, a couple of shots fired in front of Casey's headquarters produced in him a very evident emotion. I was perplexed, because having seen the enemy in force on the right when the aide was captured, I supposed his chief must be there. Furthermore, the country was more open in that direction and the road in front of Casey's position was bad for artillery. I concluded therefore, in spite of the shots, that if attacked that day the attack would come from the right. Having sent orders for the troops to be under arms precisely at 11 o'clock a. m., I mounted my horse and rode along the Nine-mile road to Fair Oaks Station. On my way I met Colonel Bailey, chief of artillery of Casey's division, and directed him to proceed and prepare his artillery for action.

Finding nothing unusual at Fair Oaks, I gave some orders to the troops there, and returned quickly to Seven Pines. The firing was becoming brisk, but there was yet no certainty of a great attack. As a precaution to support Casey's left flank, I ordered General Couch to advance Peck's brigade in that direction. This was promptly done, and the Ninety-third Pennsylvania, Colonel McCarter, was advanced considerably beyond the balance of that brigade.

At about 12.30 p. m. it became suddenly apparent that the attack was real and in great force. All my corps was under arms and in position. I sent immediately to General Heintzelman for re-enforcements, and requested him to order one brigade up the railroad. My messenger was unaccountably delayed, and my dispatch appears not to have reached its destination till much later than it should have done. General Heintzelman arrived on the field at about 3 p. m., and the two brigades of his corps, Berry's and Jameson's, of Kearny's division, which took part in the battle of the 31st, arrived, successively, but the exact times of their arrival in the presence of the enemy I am unable to fix with certainty; and in this report I am not always able to fix times with exactness, but they are nearly exact.

Casey's division, holding the front line, was first seriously attacked at about 12.30 p. m. The One hundred and third Pennsylvania Vol-


*See Keyes to Marcy, May 31, "Correspondence, etc."