War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0947 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES.

Search Civil War Official Records

No. 104. Report of Colonel M. Jenkins,

Palmetto Sharpshooters, commanding brigade.


SIR: Having been placed in command of the brigade prior to getting under fire, by General Anderson's being charged with the control of three brigades, and though for a time detached with my regiment for a special service, yet from the circumstances of the fight, being called on during nearly the whole time we were under fire to control and direct the movements, first of two regiments, then of three, and afterward, for a short time, of four, I find it difficult to make, as I am called on to do, a detailed report of my own regiment only, as my attention and thoughts were directed to their combined movements as well as to the conduct of my own.

When Major General D. H. Hill called for a regiment from the brigade to take one of the enemy's batteries, mine having been designated, I with it, and guided by Colonel George B. Anderson to the left of the Twenty-eighth Georgia (one of his regiments), took position against a small abatis, with my left company deployed near the York River Railroad and my right adjacent to the Twenty-eighth Georgia. Colonel John Bratton, with the Sixth South Carolina Volunteers, having afterward come up, took position on the right of the Twenty-eighth Georgia, and an advance being concerted, the regiments moved forward without firing and with fixed bayonets. A continuation of the forward movement brought the Sixth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers and my own together, shutting out the Twenty-eighth Georgia to the rear. The colonel of that regiment having asked a position with us, I directed him to the right of Bratton's regiment. Our advance was now continued, with little or no opposition, through the enemy's camp and across a neighborhood road leading to [the] railroad. Here the lines were halted and dressed, my left company called in, and at this time, seeing General Richard H. Anderson, I reported to him. His instructions being to advance, we went forward to the second abatis, a very heavy and difficult one to pass. At this point, the railroad being open to view and some of the enemy being seen to our left and front, I threw out as skirmishers to feel it Captain Colclough's company, and having allowed sufficient time to discover their presence, I advanced my regiment through the abatis under a very heavy fire, which was repaid with interest after crossing. Finding after crossing that the Sixth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers and mine were isolated, I instructed Colonel Bratton to keep his left touching to my right; and the enemy's line, after a stubborn resistance, having given way to our attack, I perceived that we had pierced his line, and having dressed the line, I executed, under fire from the right front, a change of front obliquely forward on right company. Directing the two regiments forward in line, we drove the enemy to the front and right, passing over their second camp and through a swamp.

At this point the enemy, heavily re-enforced, made a desperate stand, and our fighting was within 75 yards. Not pausing even to load, and pouring in my volleys at close range as I advanced, I never allowed a broken line to get through their new lines before I pushed on the new line and drove them back, losing heavily myself, but killing numbers of the enemy. Our advance continued in this steady manner, the enemy