War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0104 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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was commanded by Brigadier General D. B. Birney, and consisted of five regiments, viz, Third and Fourth Maine, Thirty-eighth, Fortieth, and One hundred and first New York. About 8 p. m. of the evening of Saturday, June 28, I received orders to move the train of the brigade across White Oak Swamp, to abandon all tents and camp equipage except what was absolutely indispensable, and to carry all the subsistence stores possible. Throughout the brigade about thirty wall and a few common tents and a small amount of clothing and camp equipage (the precise amount and value of which was never reported to me) were destroyed. The train, consisting of forty-two army wagons, left camp about 9 p. m. and took up the line of march toward White Oak Swamp, which was crossed about daylight without accident except the loss of one wagon (for which I was not responsible), which broke down beyond repair. We halted about 9 a. m. (Sunday, 29th) at Charles City Cross-Roads to await orders, in company with the greater part of the transportation of the army, which had crossed the swamp during the night.

Meanwhile the battles of Peach Orchard and Savage Station, the cannonading of which was plainly audible, were being fought. During the day and night we remained at the same place, vainly seeking orders and vainly attempting to ascertain the route to be taken and the time to take it. Experience had not then taught, what it has since, the value of organization and the importance on a march of moving large trains, the train of a division, or even a corps, as a unit, in one body, with one director. At that time the division quartermaster troubled himself very little about the movement of his brigade trains; the corps quartermaster not at all. Generally brigade trains were moved as units, without connection with other brigades of the same division. In the same corps, therefore, there were nine district and independent trains instead of one, or at most three. The confusion arising from conflicting orders and conflicting interests was multiplied in similar proportion.

Monday morning, the 30th, without orders or definite information, we joined the current of wagons setting toward Malvern Hill after a hard fight for the road, no officer being present with authority to prescribe the route that trains should take or the order of march. At all narrow places or cross-roads, where other trains came in, there was the usual conflict, cutting in and breaking up the trains, degenerating sometimes into personal contests between officers, teamsters, and wagon-masters, and very often in the breaking of wagons and the killing or maiming of public animals. With infinite labor I at last got my train into the road and together, and after a few hours' march we reached Malvern Hill, on the summit of which, overlooking the valley of James River, I parked my train. Our forces having retreated from Savage Station on Sunday night, made a stand at Charles City Cross-Roads, where on Monday, the 30th, was fought the battle of Glendale or Nelson's Farm, while the trains were moving from that place to Malvern Hill. During the night the troops again retreated and once more made a stand at Malvern Hill, and on Tuesday, July 1, was fought the last and severest of the famous seven-days' battles. My train had by this time united with that of the Third Brigade (the First having gone off to Harrison's Landing by another road on its own account), and both were now under the direction of Captain M. Pinner, division quartermaster. Nearly the whole transportation of the army was parked on the great plateau of Malvern Hill during Monday night, and remained there Tuesday morning in plain view of the enemy and within easy reach of his shells. It was not until this began to be demonstrated that the trains commenced to move down the hill out of range. I could not learn, though