War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0880 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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It should be said that a road leads to Richmond from Fair Oaks called the Nine-mile road, and another northerly to Grapevine Bridge over the Chickahominy, on the other side of which, I understood, lay General Sumner with his corps. Neill was ordered to move up and feel the enemy, Casey's troops being more or less in front. He did so, and engaged with great vigor, twice throwing the enemy back, when he retired to his first position.

General Keyes ordered forward the Fifty-fifth New York into some pits in front to support Casey's center. His right was then being thrown back on my right, being opposed by fearful odds. General Keyes directed me to advance with two regiments from the right and overthrow the rebel left, thereby relieving the pressure on Casey's right, which movement compelled our artillery to cease firing on that flank. About 2 p. m. I advanced with Neill's and Rippey's regiments through a close wood, moving by the flank. Directing Neill where to move, and pushing on with Rippey, we at once came upon a large column of the enemy in reserve, but apparently moving toward Fair Oaks. Rippey's regiment was therefore posted perpendicularly to Neill's line, in the edge of the woods, facing to the front. They immediately engaged, but were finally compelled to retire, bringing in 35 prisoners. Here Colonel Rippey and all his field officers fell, and in twenty minutes the enemy had passed over the road leading to my center, cutting off the advance at Fair Oaks, now re-enforced by the Seventh Massachusetts, Colonel Russell, and Sixty-second New York, Colonel J. L. Riker, ordered up by General Keyes.

As for the movements of the main body of the division during the remainder of the battle, having been separated from it, I am compelled to refer to the reports of Generals Peck and Devens, Colonels Adams and Neill, and Major West, chief of artillery. At this moment Captain Van Ness, brigade quartermaster to General Abercrombie, volunteered to notify General Sumner of our situation. After making demonstrations to cut through and rejoin the main body it was abandoned as suicidal. At the same time large masses of the enemy were moving across the railroad to the front and right with the intention of inclosing us. Therefore, with General Abercrombie, four regiments, the battery, and prisoners, we moved off toward the Grapevine Bridge for half a mile, and took a position facing Fair Oaks. Soon Captain Van Ness brought me word that General Sumner was at hand. Upon receiving the information word was sent to Generals Heintzelman and Keyes that my position would be held until Sumner arrived. This noble soldier came on rapidly with Sedgwick's division, and when the head of his column was seen half a mile distant I felt that God was with us and victory ours.

This was about 4.30 p. m. Upon General Sumner's arrival he immediately assumed command and made most admirable dispositions. Kirby's fine battery and gallant Lieutenant Fagan with a section of Brady's were posted at the angle of the woods to our right; Thirty-first Pennsylvania and First U. S. Chasseurs [Sixty-fifth New York] on the flank; the Seventh Massachusetts and Sixty-second New York, which was driven in from the field in front, in reserve, supporting the batteries, while part of Sedgwick's force was posted to the right and front, with a section under Captain Brady and others to the left, toward Fair Oaks. Heavy masses of the rebels appeared at Fair Oaks, while large numbers from the Nine-mile road filled the woods. Desperate attempts were made to carry the batteries and center, but the destructiveness of the artillery, and the close, steady fire of the Thirty-first