Numbers 78. Report of Lieutenant Colonel David J. Nevin,
Sixty-second New York Infantry.
BATTLE-FIELD, FAIR OAKS, VA., June 5, 1862.
GENERAL: On the 31st ultimo our regiment was formed in line at 12.30 p. m. for the purpose of changing our camp. Before leaving the ground we heard heavy firing on our front, where General Casey's division was encamped. We were ordered by Lieutenant Daniel Lodor, jr., to move off to the left of our camp, where the Fifty-fifth, One hundred and second, and Ninety-third Regiments were drawn up in line of battle. The Fifty-fifth Regiment New York State Militia were ordered to advance by General Keyes. The Sixty-second New York State Volunteers were then ordered off to the right, to Fair Oaks Station, under General Couch. We marched to Fair Oaks Station, when we discovered the enemy crossing the road. General Couch ordered Colonel J. Lafayette Riker to march his regiment down the road at double-quick and charge on the enemy. Our men went down with a cheer that broke the enemy's lines, when they went back in the woods from which they emerged.
After remaining in this position some time we were ordered back to Fair Oaks Station. We then drew up in line of battle, our right resting on the railroad, our left on the road running north. We were then ordered to move up the road leading north from the station to a clump of woods. We were then halted, our right wing thrown back so as to face to the south, our left wing facing the open field to the east. We discovered the enemy emerging from the woods on the west of us, but were informed by an aide that they were General Sumner's men. They filed along the railroad to the open space, when the enemy formed in line of battle, advanced at double-quick, when our late colonel ordered the regiment to file out of the woods by the left flank. As soon as the enemy saw our colors they opened fire on our regiment. We were immediately formed in line of battle by the colonel to the rear of Ricketts' and Brady's batteries.
Shortly after forming in line Colonel J. Lafayette Riker was killed while gallantly cheering on his men to save the battery, which was threatened at the time by the enemy. In Colonel Riker's death we have sustained a heavy loss, as he was a gallant and brave officer. Major Oscar V. Dayton behaved with great coolness and bravery, urging the men to their duty. My officers, all of them, behaved so nobly that it would be impossible for me to make any distinction. Surg. George B. F. Simpson was separated from our regiment during the engagement, attending to the wounded that were taken to our old camp ground and to the rear. Assist. Surg. W. W. Bidlack was detached from the brigade, having charge of the hospital at the Chickahominy.
My men behaved bravely; and while they act so nobly I have no fears for the cause in which they are engaged. James H. Bradley, who was volunteer aide to Colonel Riker, displayed great coolness, and rendered valuable assistance. Captain George G. Williams, of the Fifty-fifth Regiment New York State Militia, was with my regiment, and rendered very valuable assistance in keeping the men together. Captain C. H. Rauerts, of Company F, and 7 of his men, who were out on picket duty and cut off from his regiment, the One hundredth New York