War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0961 BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS, OR SEVEN PINES. XXIII.

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Report of Brig. Gen. Samuel Garland,jr., C. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade, Third Division. HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, June 3, 1862. MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the oper- ations of this brigade in the battle of Saturday, the 31st nitlino: The brigade had been on outpost duty upon the Williamsburg road for four days and nights previous to this engagement, during which portions of it had been sent forward three times to make reconnais- sauce, which brought on skirmishes with the enemy. Working l)arties had been engaged also night and day in cutting artillery roads and preparing defenses. During the latter portion of these four days the Fourth North Carolina (Major Grimes commanding) was sent to our assistance. I mention these circumstances to let it appear, in justice to my command, that their previous labors had been heavy and weari- some when they were assigned to lead the advance on the left of our attacking forces and bring on the engagement which followed. In obedience to your orders for making the attack I formed my bri- gade in the open field in front of our l)revious position on the left of the Williamsburg road in the following order, to wit: Fifth North Caro- lina, Colonel [D. K.] i~IcRae, 180 rank and file; Thirty-eighth Virginia, Colonel [E. C.] Edmonds, 350 rank and file; Twenty-third North Caro- lina, Colonel [Daniel II.] Christie, 350 rank and file; Twenty-fourth Virginia, M~jor [Richard L.] Maury, 450 rank and file; Second Florida, Colonel [E. A.] Perry, 485 rank and file. The Second Mississippi Bat- talion, Lieutenant-Colonel [John G.] Taylor, 300 strong, were deployed as skirmishers along the edge of the woods in front of the brigade, with general orders to keep 150 yards in advance. The foregoing estimate makes the total strength of the brigade on that (lay 2,065, exclusive of Captain Bondurants battery, left subject to Major-General lulls own orders, since, being compelled to a(lvance by the main road on my extreme right, I could not superintend it. In the foregoing order, upon hearing the signal, the line of skir- mishers Proml)tl.Y ad-ance(l into the woods in front, and the brigade followed, moving by the right flanks of regiments at deploying (us- tance and takimig direction from the right, which was ordered to keel) [with]in a short distance of the Williamsburg road. Meanwhile General Featherstons brigade (Col. George B. Anderson commanding) nioved a cluarter of a mile in rear as a su~)port, while General IRodes aimd Gemmeral Rains moved in corresponding position on the ol)posite side of the road. My line of skirmishers had advanced only a few hundred yards when they encountem-ed that of the enemy. The difficulties of the ground were almost insurmountable. The recent rains had formed l)ollds of water throughout the woods with mud at the bottom, through which the mcmi waded forward knee-deep, amid occasiomially simmking to the hips in boggy places, almnost beyond the point of extrication. The forest was so thick and the undergrowth so tangled that it was impracticable to see the heads of the several regi- mneimts as they moved torwar(l, and the deploying intervals were in con- sequence very imnperfi~ctl preserved. Still all l)ushIe(l onward with alacrityso fhst, ud, that when the skirumisliers became heavily engage(l the regiments pressed upomi their heels and the fire becanie hot along our whole front before emerging from the woods. The regi- 61 R RVOL XI