War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0881 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

Search Civil War Official Records

Pennsylvania and the Chasseurs (the latter capturing the colors of the Eighth North Carolina), with the firm advance of Gorman's brigade and others of Sedgwick's division, drove back the enemy with great slaughter.

At this point Colonel Riker, Sixty-second New York Volunteers, fell mortally wounded, while setting an example of courage to his brave regiment. It was night, and the troops lay down in the line-of-battle order, generals and privates, where the fighting ceased. During the night the wounded of both sides were cared for by our excellent surgeons. At 2.30 a. m. General Sumner called around him his generals and gave them their orders. At daylight the extended woods were to be cleared of the rebels by a sweeping charge, the Thirty-first Pennsylvania and First Chasseurs joining Gorman's right. The work was done as ordered. General Sumner from the first ordered me to remain with him, but during the fight of the next day, as those of my division were in reserve, except the Seventh Massachusetts, which covered an open field near Richardson, it does not seem proper that anything should be said by me of those troops that fought so well on Sunday morning. Of the operations at Seven Pines I would say Flood's, Miller's, and McCarthy's batteries, under the eye of Major West, chief of artillery, with Generals Keyes and Heintzelman, did great execution, working the guns with the rapidity and efficiency of old regulars. Major R. M. West, First Pennsylvania Artillery, is entitled to great credit for the high discipline of his command. In retiring to a new position one of McCarthy's guns could not be brought off, the lunette being broken. Lieutenant Choate, of Miller's battery, though sick, stood by his gun until perfectly prostrated.

General Peck fought his brigade with skill and daring courage, his horse falling under him after being several times wounded. His command added new laurels to those won at Williamsburg. The Ninety-third Pennsylvania, Colonel McCarter, and One hundred and second Pennsylvania, Colonel Rowley, behaved with great gallantry, both colonels wounded. The Fifty-fifth New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Thourot, was early in the action, and suffered severely.

General Devens with only two regiments held his ground firmly, pouring in a most destructive fire at short distance, the Thirty-sixth New York not retiring until ordered, while the Tenth Massachusetts, though its colonel (Briggs) was carried off severely wounded, its lieutenant-colonel sick, and was a part of the time off the field, its major going to the rear without cause, yet under the brave Captain Miller held its position until outflanked and several orders had been given it to fall back. At night it, with others of my exhausted division and Kearny's, formed the front line facing the enemy. General Devens, severely wounded, remained bravely on the field until the last shot was fired.

The force of my division engaged near the Seven Pines did not number over 5,000 infantry and three batteries. For two hours it maintained itself without re-enforcements against a victorious enemy greatly superior in numbers, and only retired, and that slowly, under positive orders, to a new position jointly with the troops of General Heintzelman's corps that had advanced to our support. The First Long Island Regiment held its ground until outflanked.

My thanks are due to Captain Walker, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenants Edwards and Burt, aides, for their zeal and assistance. The former made a daring personal reconnaissance, and had his horse shot under him by my side. Lieutenants Edwards and Burt, sword

56 R R-VOL XI