blame to any one for retiring with a meager force from a position which was held by the enemy in spite of the large re-enforcements in Kearny's, Hooker's, and Couch's divisions. It was my misfortune to see a portion of the re-enforcements greater than my whole command retire from the field before they had scarcely felt the enemy. As it was useless to attempt to reform the brigade when the regiments were so widely scattered, the work of collecting the men generally was commenced about sundown, and on the next morning they took up their position, by the order of the commanding general of the division, at the position in front of Savage Station.
I inclose a list of casualties* in each regiment, and you will perceive that the killed and wounded alone will amount to nearly one-third of my force. This is sufficient to induce me to think that while the men did not, perhaps, act like veteran troops, they did as well as could be expected. For the disasters of the day those who placed a small force of the rawest troops in the army in a position where they would of necessity bear the brunt of any attack on the left must bear the blame. I take none of it to myself.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. N. PALMER,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Brigade, Casey's Division.
To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
No. 98. Report of Captain Williams C. Raulston,
Eighty-first New York Infantry.
CAMP NEAR POPLAR HILL, VA., June 5, 1862.
GENERAL: I herewith transmit to you a report of the part taken by the Eighty-first New York Volunteers, of your brigade, in the engagement of Saturday, the 31st ultimo, near Seven Pines:
We were ordered into line at 12.30 p. m.; formed immediately, and were ordered to take a position in a narrow road between the woods and an inclosure of 250 yards in breadth. We remained in this position for half an hour, during which time there was a brisk fire on our right. When the firing became general we were ordered to pull down the fence and advance into the field about 40 yards, when the enemy immediately advanced to the edge of the woods and opened fire on our whole front. At the same time a volley came from the woods on our left. We returned their fire briskly, and after holding our position for some time it became evident, from the destructive fire on our left, that they were endeavoring to flank us. As we could gain nothing from the position which we then occupied, we retired to the cover of the woods, where we retained our position, firing with good effect until our ammunition was nearly exhausted and we found ourselves again being flanked on our left. We then moved to the right into a clearing beyond the woods and took a position facing the enemy.
At this point there was a slight cessation of the enemy's fire, and we judged that they were being re-enforced. It was then that I first learned that the lieutenant-colonel commanding (J. J. De Forest) had
*Embodied in return, p.762.