War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0901 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

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standing and felled timber. But a short time elapsed before the fugitives from the field in our front began to crowd through our own lines on their retreat, and in addition to the enemy's artillery fire their musketry began to tell on our ranks, and the men were exposed for nearly an hour to a fire which they were unable to return. At this juncture General Keyes, apprehending that the enemy were extending themselves on our right and threatening that flank, ordered me to take post to the rear in the belt of woods beyond the road. Subsequently, becoming satisfied by a personal examination made by my aide, Chaplain Beecher, t;hat the enemy were in force and advancing on both sides of this road and extending himself on my right, I threw back six companies of this wing, thus forming an angle of about 60 with my front, at the same time extending that flank as skirmishers. Upon this disposition the enemy now advanced in strength, outnumbering us about five to one. We opened fire at a distance of about 50 yards, and held our position for some time that our right was outflanked. The nature of the ground and the heavy timber prevented this fact from being satisfactorily determined in any other way, as stragglers or detached groups in occupation of that part of the wood. The order was now given to retire by the left, which was effected in mass, the enemy not venturing to follow beyond cover of the woods.

In the mean time the battery had made good its retreat, The men were rallied within a distance of 500 or 600 yards from the woods (this was about 6 o'clock p. m.) and were marched to the rifle pots in the rear, when the regiment was placed by General Kearny's orders on outpost duty.

The duty assigned to my command (that of supporting the battery) was, I trust, efficiently performed. That we suffered so severely was owing in a great measure to the locality, confining us to a narrow belt of woods, where the concentrated fire of a superior force of the enemy was necessarily very destructive.

In the hottest of the fire I was honored by the presence of Generals Keyes, Wessells, Naglee, Devens, and others unknown tom me, who will bear evidence to the weight of fire with which we had to contend.

I herewith append a list of the casualties, from which it will be perceived that our loss in killed and wounded amounted to some 29 percent. of the numbers engaged.

There were present with the regiment but nine companies, Company G being absent on detached service. The captain and first lieutenant, Belden and Sherer, remained with the regiment.

Lieutenant Rysdyk, Company K, killed, and Captains Rainals, Van Ness, and Sullivan, and Lieutenants Croft and Belknap, severely wounded, and 26 non-commissioned officers and privates killed, 126 non-commissioned officers and privates wounded, and 15 missing* - some of the latter believed to be wounded and in the hands of the enemy. The aggregate in the field 537 men.

I cannot close without calling attention to the admirable behavior of the officers and men of the regiment, and to express my indebtedness to Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Cross for the zeal with which he seconded me throughout the day. This duty was rendered more onerous from the fact of 10 of our officers being absent by order on detached service. I should also remark that Lieutenant King, of the First U. S. Chasseurs


* But see revised statement, p.761.