No. 71. Report of Colonel Enrico Fardella,
One hundred and first New York Infantry, of the engagement at Oak Grove, or King's School-House.
HDQRS. ONE HUNDRED AND FIRST Regiment N. Y. S. VOLS., Camp Kearny, June 27, 1862.
GENERAL: I hear that it has been reported to you that my regiment broke in presence of the enemy. This report, general, I must assure you is incorrect, and as commander of the regiment I feel it my duty to mention the following facts:
After the engagement of the 25th, in which my command of seven companies [three being on picket] conducted itself in such a manner as to be complimented by you, your ordered us, with muskets slung and picks and shovels on the shoulders, to proceed to throw up rifle pits in the advance. As we arrived near the pickets a heavy volley of musketry was fired. The pickets fell back and retired through our ranks. From the nature of the path we had taken it was necessary to march in single file, and it is very probable that some of the men took advantage of the darkness to get out of danger; but the regiment was not broken or disorganized. I at once reported to you. You asked about the condition of the regiment, to which I replied that we were ready to move forward. Your ordered me to retire and wait orders. After fifteen or twenty minutes you sent us to relieve a regiment posted as picket in the advance. We held the position during the night, though aware that the enemy was outflanking us and that there was great danger of being surrounded and taken prisoners. At daybreak we received your orders immediately to retire.
If it were true that the regiment broke and ran, it would have been an impossibility to lead it, within fifteen minutes, in the darkness and through the woods, to a position farther advanced. I beg you, therefore, general, to accept this statement of facts, and to correct the bad impression such a report would tend to create about the One hundred and first.
Believe me, general, your most obedient servant,
Colonel One hundred and First New York Volunteers.
Commanding Third Division.
SIR: I respectfully forward this, and I am happy to state in behalf of this regiment my mistake. I witnessed the men, some hundred, run out. I presumed that there was a relative portion behind in the slashing. But they were with muskets slung and carrying spades, &c. General Birney also makes this testimony in their favor. Their colonel is a noble and brave old soldier. His only difficulty is that he does not speak English fluently.
Your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.