War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0898 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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staff officers the Rev. Robert W. Oliver, brigade chaplain, who acted as volunteer aide, and never hesitated to carry an order in the very hottest of the fight. In retiring from my original position, the Courtney house, a few hundred yards to the right and a little in the rear, the column moved in perfect order, every man in his proper place, and remained so after having been thrown into line-of-battle order until after the close of the action, notwithstanding they were opposed (as reported by rebel prisoners) by eight regiments and a part of the rebel legion, who advanced within 25 or 30 paces of our line, and left as a memento of their rashness over 500 killed and wounded, exclusive of prisoners. No higher commendation is needed to show the services of my brigade.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.


Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters First Division.

HEADQUARTERS BRIGADE, Camp near Fair Oaks Station, Va., June 6, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to state that at 1 o'clock p. m. May 31, 1862, I was ordered by Brigadier-General Keyes, commanding Fourth Corps d' Armee, to take command of the troops on the roads leading from Fair Oaks Station to the Chickahominy (Trent's) to prevent the enemy from turning our right flank. The corps at that time being engaged with the enemy, and after being entirely cut off by the falling back of our troops on the left of the railroad, I, with the sanction of General Couch, sent one of the officers of my staff (Captain Van Ness, brigade quartermaster) to inform General Sumner of the state of affairs. Our cavalry pickets had come in before from the front, reporting that the enemy was approaching in large numbers-infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Finding my position untenable, I fell back on the road from the depot to Trent's house as far as Courtney's house, about one-half mile, and there formed line of battle-the Thirty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers nearest the house behind a low rail-fence in the rear of a piece of woods; two companies of the Sixty-first Pennsylvania and First U. S. Chasseurs were posted on the right of the Thirty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The other troops on the ground at the time were the Sixty-second New York and Seventh Massachusetts Volunteers and a section of Brady's battery, formed on the left of the road. The other section of Brady's battery was placed on the right of my command near the First Minnesota Regiment as soon as that regiment, with the rest of the troops under General Sumner, arrived on the ground.

In concluding this report it would be an act of great injustice not to mention Captain Brady and my staff, Captain G. Urban, assistant adjutant-general, Captain Van Ness, brigade quartermaster, Lieutenants Adams and Appleton, aides, who were, owing to the divided state of my brigade, kept constantly under fire in passing from one portion to the other of it. I must also mention among the list of my staff officers the Rev. Robert W. Oliver, chaplain, who acted as volunteer aide, and never hesitated to carry an order in the very hottest of the fight. In retiring from my