orders from Major-General Magruder, and occasional attacks upon the outposts of the enemy, to ascertain their strength, resulting in the loss to the Seventh Regiment of 1 killed and 3 wounded, and to the Third of several wounded, and the discovery that the enemy was at least in his usual force in our front, nothing of importance occurred in my command until Sunday morning, the 29th. At an early hour I received orders from Major-General McLaws to send forward a regiment and ascertain the condition of things in front. I dispatched the Second Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel [John D.] Kennedy. Some hour after I received from that officer information that the enemy had disappeared, and that he occupied his abandoned works.
Immediately communicating with division headquarters, I received orders to advance my entire command to the support of Colonel Kennedy. Soon after the arrival of this brigade at Fair Oaks my skirmishers, under command of Major F. Gaillard, of the Second Regiment, became engaged slightly on the left, and my whole command was ordered to advance cautiously across the York River Railroad along the Nine-mile road, under repeated cautions to be careful not to engage the forces of General Jackson, which were believed to be advancing from the Chickahominy to our left. We advanced about 1 mile when the firing along the left of my line of skirmishers became general and an artillery fire from our left front was opened upon our column. Having every reason to supposed that this might be a collision with General Jackson's forces, I restrained the fire of my men and sent a regimental battle-flag to the front to be waved on the railroad. At this conjunction I was ordered to fall back and take position, with my left resting on the railroad. here it became evident, from the continuance of the fire upon our lines, that the enemy was in front of us.
About 3 p.m., the other troops of General Magruder's command being in position, I received orders to advance along the line of the railroad, and marched at once steadily in the direction of Savage Station. Arriving at the point from which the enemy had fired his artillery (the first house on the right of the railroad below Fair Oaks), it was ascertained that he had retired. Still advancing, my right skirmishers was ascertained that he had retired. Still advancing my right skirmishers became engaged while passing through the wood, but upon reaching the open plain beyond the enemy was found occupying a series of heavy earthworks at the far end of the field on the Williamsburg road. I halted the command under the brow of the hill, sent for Kemper's battery, and ordered forward, along a ravine near the railroad to a thick wood in front of my left, the Second and Third Regiments South Carolina Volunteers to flank the redoubts and to charge them if practicable. Kemper arriving, I directed him to open upon the enemy, which he did with such rapidity and effect as to disperse them without the aid of the infantry. At this moment I received orders from Major-General Magruder to continue my advance and attack any position I might meet the enemy in. I ordered my command forward, preceded as before by skirmishers commanded by Major Gaillard, to whose assistance I sent Major W. D. Rutherford, of the Third Regiment. I signified to Major Brent, who brought me the order, that in my opinion there should be troops to my right, which only extended to the Williamsburg road, though my skirmishers were extended beyond to cover that flank. In a few minutes I heard that Major-General McLaws had ordered forward General Cemmes' brigade to that position. Continuing the advance through the abandoned works and camps of the enemy, taking some prisoners on the way, we arrived at the edge of the wood which skirts Savage's farm. Sending forward the line of