War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0371 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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with the Fifth Corps at the plank road: First Minnesota, Nineteenth Maine, Nineteenth Massachusetts, Forty-second New York, Eighty-second New York, Fifteenth Massachusetts, Fifty-ninth New York, Twentieth Massachusetts, Thirty-sixth Wisconsin, and Seventh Michigan. My line was just in front of a thick wood, and from the left of the Nineteenth Massachusetts our line could not be seen. I can account for the loss of the number of men only by the sudden appearance of the enemy; by the rapid falling back of the Second Brigade with so little firing.

The regiments captured were the Nineteenth Massachusetts, Forty-second New York, Eighty-second New York, Fifteenth Massachusetts, and Fifty-ninth New York. Officers and men who escaped informed me that the first they knew of the close proximity of the enemy [he] was in their rear in force, ordering them to surrender, which they did, colors and all.

I would also state that one hour previous to the attack, without any notice that one was expected, I caused the following order to be issued, viz:

CIRCULAR:] HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, SECOND CORPS,

June 22, 1864.

Commandants of regiments will hold their commands well in hand, prepared to resist any assault from the enemy.

By command of Brigadier-General Pierce, commanding brigade:

O. A. WILLIAMS,

Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

The orderly who carried the order was on his return from the left, where, he says, he saw three lines of the enemy charge in front of McKnight's battery.

I received great assistance from my staff officers, who were active in stopping and organizing the broken regiments.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. R. PIERCE,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

Major JOHN M. NORVELL,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Division, Second Corps.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, June 24, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded.

The presence of one or two good regimental officers would probably have stopped this discreditable affair long before the enemy reached the battery. The Second Brigade appears to have given way without an attempt at resistance, and, it is said, by direction of the brigade commander, Major O'Brien, who has been placed in arrest; troops were at once placed at the disposal of General Pierce to retake the battery, but he was so dilatory and allowed so long a time to elapse before moving that the enemy was enabled to organize a force to resist him, and when Colonel Blaisdell, who succeeded him in command, moved forward he was unable to accomplish the object.

JOHN GIBBON,

Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding Division.