War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0927 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

Search Civil War Official Records

vance toward the One hundred and first. The enemy's fire was directed with great precision and effect on this regiment, which, however stood fast and returned the fire with coolness and rapidity. Hoping the One hundred and first would be able to maintain its position I crossed to the road in the rear of the Eighty-fifth, which was now occupying the rifle pits, amid a terrific fire from the front, and which was constantly and effectually returned. The Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers, which up to this time had gallantry maintained its position, was forced to fall back to the line on the left of the rifle pits, where it again opened fire and continued with great effect until again forced back by a terrific fire from the front and flank, enfilading completely the rifle pits occupied by the Eighty-fifth and One hundred and first Lieutenant-Colonel Morris, One hundred and first, in order to protect his right, which was assailed by a terrific fire from that flank, caused the right wing of his battalion to change front to that direction and for some time succeeded in holding the enemy in check, until he fell severely wounded and was borne from the field, when the regiment, assailed by overwhelming numbers, was forced to fall back.

The Eighty-fifth and Ninety-sixth, having fallen back, were again formed on the left of the road in rear of the camp in the fallen timber, and delivered their fire with great effect, but being again flanked and overwhelmed, were compelled again to retire. The right wing of the One hundred and first, after retiring, deployed to the left, and passing the left wing opened its fire, and for some time maintained its position, but was at length compelled to fall back. Considerable disorder here ensued, the fallen timber and irregularity of the ground preventing the companies and battalions from preserving their alignment. Different regiments were intermingled and the line put in confusion. Colonel Howell gallantly rallied a part of his regiment and regained the rifle pits, but was again driven back. The troops fell back slowly, but with some disorder, carrying with them their arms. They were rallied, however, by the efforts of Captain Jeffries, assistant adjutant-general of this brigade, and marched all in good order (except the sick, numbering over 300, who abandoned the camp at the commencement of the action and fled in the direction of the Chickahominy River in great disorder) to a suitable camping ground, where the line was formed, ammunition sent for across the river, and information sent to Generals Heintzelman, Keyes, and Casey of the position of the troops.

After the brigade had retired I reported to Brigadier-General Keyes, by whom I was directed to reform the line on the right of Devens' rifle pits, and having been driven from that position in the same manner as before, with my horse killed under me and a severe contusion in the shoulder from a musket-ball, I fell back near sunset with retreating fragments of other brigades and halted at this camp.

The casualties are as follows: Thirty-four killed; 271 wounded; 55 missing.* A correct list of the names is herewith inclosed.

The actual effective strength of the brigade, as appears from the morning reports, was 2,061. Of these 200 comprised the working party on the fortifications; a like number was derailed on picket, which, with the usual details and extra-duty men, made our actual strength in action less than 1,500 men.

During the engagement I was ably assisted by Captain Jeffries, assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenants Williams and Dawson, acting aides-de-camp, who were with me in the thickest of the fight.

---------------

*But see revised statement, p.762.

---------------