toward White Oak Swamp, but after proceeding about 2 miles the brigade was ordered with the division to return and assist the troops at Savage Station, who in the mean time had been assaulted by the enemy. That duty having been performed and the enemy repulsed, I was ordered to command the advance of the troops through White Oak Swamp. We crossed the bridge about 1 o'clock a.m. We remained there during the next day, forming a portion of the rear guard of the army. Our troops were held in position all day, ready to repel an attack from the enemy and to prevent them from constructing new bridges or repairing those we had destroyed. About 10 o'clock in the morning the enemy opened a terrific bombardment upon our troops from the heights on the other side of the swamp, and shortly after crossed a corps of sharpshooters. Having been ordered to withdraw my troops at night, I was directed with my brigade to take the advance of the rear guard and to proceed to James River. We arrived at that point at daylight the next morning after a most orderly march. During this day (the 1st of July) we took up a favorable position facing the enemy, and remained there until early the following morning (the 2nd), when I again led the advance of our division to a point named Harrison's Landing, lower down the James River.
During this march the rain fell in torrents, the roads were very heavy, and the tired troops suffered a great deal. The night march of the 30th instant, owing to the results of the operations of other troops in our advance during the day and from the supposition that we would probably meet the enemy in force on the route, was full of uncertainty, knowing that in the narrow road we pursued we labored under the greatest disadvantage in case of an attack even from a small force in our front, the wooded nature of the country making it difficult to cause any prompt preparation to meet an assault from that direction.
No phase in was could try the endurance, the discipline, and the patriotism of our men more than the late movement. I am happy to say that they did all that could be expected of the best troops. Our ambulances, wagons, &c., having been sent in advance and separated from us, it was necessary to leave the sick by the road-side, to get along as best they could. Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing on the march subsequent to the 28th was as follows:
Killed. Wounded. missing.
Command. Off Enl Off Enlis Off Enlist Aggre
ice ist ice ted ice ed men gate
rs ed rs men rs
6th Maine -- -- -- 5 -- 21 26
43rd New York -- -- -- -- -- 29 29
49th Pennsylvania -- -- -- 2 -- 7 9
5th Wisconsin -- -- -- -- -- 27 27
Total -- -- -- 7 -- 84 91
The brigade has one gratifying assurance-that although forming a portion of the rear guard the greater portion of the time, our losses from straggling were but few; and it is a matter of congratulation to us that the regiments of the brigade have never met the enemy but to repulse