War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0217 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

Search Civil War Official Records

Chickahominy and White Oak Swamp, my force in hand was reduced to less than 1,400. An abatis was ordered to be cut in front, but not much progress was made for want of tools. The day passed without disturbance, which I attributed in a great degree to the precaution I had taken of having the provost guard over every house within the distance of 2 or 3 miles, with instructions to prevent any person leaving his premises.

About 9 a. m. on the 29th some of Wise's cavalry dashed into the camp in a reckless manner, cheering, and were received with a volley, which resulted in the death of the major and the capture of some 25, among whom was Captain Ruffin, M. C.

The troops lay in position all day, awaiting in anxious suspense the movements of the enemy. Somewhat encouraged by the arrival of supports from White Oak Swamp, at 6 o'clock p. m. my command was relieved by that of General Slocum, and in obedience to orders from General Keyes, commanding Fourth Corps, took up the line of march to James River, where it arrived in safety with its train and artillery at 9 a. m. on the 30th, having been on the road without sleep, in expectation of meeting the enemy, the whole night.

I placed Wessells' brigade in position not far from Turkey Creek, Naglee's brigade not having joined. The enemy having commenced his attack upon the column in route, my command was placed in line of battle by General Keyes at 3.30 p. m. on the extreme right, and intrusted with the defense of the reserve artillery. For a long time it was the only command on the ground. Early on the 1st of July General Slocum was placed on my left, and in conjunction with him arrangements were made for the defense of our portion of the line.

During the day my detachment at Turner's and Long Bridges and Jones' Ford were compelled to withdraw, to avoid being destroyed by the overwhelming force on the opposite side of the Chickahominy. They reported the enemy had already crossed at Jones' Bridge in considerable numbers.

At midnight I was advised that the army would immediately commence its movement to Harrison's Landing-some 7 miles-and that my command would constitute the rear guard. After consultation it was deemed best, in case of being only one road, that the brigades of Wessells and Naglee should cover the rear alternately with the needful supply of artillery.

At 1.30 a. m. I was in my saddle, aiding General Wessells in forming his line of battle on the heights a short distance this side of the headquarters of General McClellan. Miller's battery only was retained. All the principal by-roads were picketed with cavalry, and Naglee's brigade was formed about a mile in the rear in a commanding position.

Stationing myself in the road I gave my entire time and personal attention to the supervision of troops, batteries, and trains. Long trains of wagons and ambulances converging from every quarter toward the road, it became a very important question how to dispose of them under my instructions, which were to operate with reference to the rear of the artillery and troops and not with reference to the trains, save the having of a single regiment in their rear. The plan which I adopted was this-that there should be one unbroken line of troops and batteries on one side of the road and that the trains should move in like manner on the other side; that as long as the troops moved the trains could move, but that upon any detention of the troops the wagon train must be halted; batteries, ammunition, and hospital wagons to have the preference. Where extensive openings bordered the