« 上一頁繼續 »
BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS. Ill
more, and the fighting ended for the day. This was known as the battle of Seven Pines.
The enemy renewed the conflict on the morrow, attacking General Sumner at "Fair Oaks," from which the second day's struggle derives its name. They were everywhere repulsed, and compelled to retreat back to their stronghold, followed by our victorious troops to within four miles of the capital, when, for a second time, it was given up for lost. "The enemy," wrote General McClellan to the Secretary of War, after the close of the contest, "attacked in force, and with great spirit, yesterday morning, but are everywhere most signally repulsed with great loss. Our troops charged frequently on both days, and uniformly broke the enemy. The result is, that our left is within four miles of Richmond. I only wait for the river to fall to cross with the rest of the force and make a general attack. Should I find them holding firm in a very strong position, I may wait for what troops I can bring up from Fort Monroe. But the morale of my troops is now such that I can venture much. I do not fear for odds against me. The victory is complete, and all credit is due to the gallantry of our officers and men."
The Thirty-third, at the commencement of the conflict, was doing picket duty near one of the bridges which were being constructed over the Chickahominy. So sudden was the rise in the river, that the force which proceeded at two o'clock Sunday morning to relieve the pickets stationed near
112 THE GAINES ESTATE.
the bridge three hours previous, found them nearly surrounded with water. Some were standing up to their arm-pits in the now new channel, and others, having lost their footing, were clinging to trees, for dear life. Boats were obtained, and they were rescued from their perilous position. At 3 o'clock, General Brooks came down to the river with his Brigade, the second in Smith's Division—Davidson's being the third, and Hancock's the first,— to cross over and render what assistance he could on the opposite side. By this time the bridge was most of it swept away, and the General, instead of attempting to cross, set his men to repairing it. At sunrise the river had overflowed to the width of half a mile, and he experienced much difficulty in getting his troops back to dry land again. All day Sunday the heavy roar of artillery and sharp firing of musketry could be heard. Just at night, General McClellan, accompanied by General Hancock, rode down to the right -of the Thirty-third, where they remained until dark, watching the progress of the battle.
Dr. Gaines, the owner of the farm on which the Regiment was now encamped, possessed one of the finest estates in Virginia. One wheat field alone comprised four hundred and fifty acres. In the rear of his dwelling, furnished in the most costly manner, was a picturesque grove, which furnished a cool retreat for the officers during the intense heat of the mid-day.. t In front was an extensive garden, abounding in flowers and shrubs of native and foreign
CROSSING THE CHICKAHOMINY. 115
with all its beautiful surroundings, was overrun by the " invader."
The Regiment remained here until the 5th of June, when the Division was ordered to cross the Chickahominy and encamp on "Golden's Farm," nearly opposite. The Third Brigade took the advance. Owing to the high stage of the water, it was obliged to proceed down the river to "Dispatch Station," before effecting a crossing. When marching up on the opposite bank, the men fell in with a gray-haired, toothless negro, 102 years of age, who entertained them with a recital of many incidents which had transpired during his long period of slave life. After having marched over fifteen miles to reach a point only three miles oppposite the old encampment, the Thirty-third arrived at Golden's Farm, where Baxter's Fire Zouaves, of Philadelphia, were found briskly skirmishing with the enemy.
Our artillery, which immediately opened upon them, put the rebels to flight, and the picket line was moved forward, for some distance. Col. Taylor halted his command in a beautiful cornfield, and on the following day occupied a more advanced position, less than one thousand yards from the enemy's lines. There it remained until the 28th of June, the spot being christened " Camp Lincoln."
An officer of the Regiment, in a communication from here, dated June 8th, wrote:
"We are now six miles from Richmond, behind entrenchments, waiting for something to turn up. The pickets are very close together, and many