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moralized a considerable portion of the rebel forces; taken over seven hundred and fifty prisoners; killed and wounded large numbers; one gun, many small arms, and much baggage taken. It was one of the handsomest things in the war, both in itself and in its results. Porter has returned, and my army is again well in hand. Another day will make the probable field of battle passable for artillery. It is quite certain that there is nothing in front of McDowell at Fredericksburg. I regard the burning of South Anna bridges as the least important result of Porter’s movement. - o “G. B. McCLELLAN, “Major General. “Hon. E. M. STANTON, “Secretary of War.”

The results of this brilliant operation of General Porter were the dispersal of General Branch's division, and the clearing of our right flank and rear. It was rendered impossible for the enemy to communicate by rail with Fredericksburg, or with Jackson via Gordonsville, except by the very circuitous route of Lynchburg, and the road was left entirely open for the advance of McDowell had he been permitted to join the army of the Potomac. His withdrawal towards Front Royal was, in my judgment, a serious and fatal error; he could do no good in that direction, while, had he been permitted to carry out the orders of May 17, the united forces would have driven the enemy within the immediate intrenchments of Richmond before Jackson could have returned to its succor, and probably would have gained possession promptly of that place. I respectfully refer to the reports of General Porter and his subordinate commanders for the names of the officers who deserve especial mention for the parts they took in these affairs, but I cannot omit here my testimony to the energy and ability here displayed by General Porter on this occasion, since to him is mainly due the successes there gained. On the 20th of May a reconnoissance was ordered on the south side of the Chickahominy towards James river. This was accomplished by Brigadier General H. M. Naglee, who crossed his brigade near Bottom's bridge, and pushed forward to within two miles of James river without serious resistance, or finding the enemy in force. The rest of the 4th corps, commanded by General E. D. Keyes, crossed the Chickahominy on the 23d of May. On the 24th, 25th, and 26th, a very gallant reconnoissance was pushed by General Naglee, with his brigade, beyond the Seven Pines, and on the 25th the 4th corps was ordered to take up and fortify a position in the vicinity of the Seven Pines. The order was at once obeyed; a strong line of rifle-pits opened, and an abatis constructed a little in the rear of the point where the nine-mile road comes into the Williamsburg road. On the same day General Heintzelman was ordered to cross with his corps, (the 3d,) and take a position two miles in advance of Bottom's bridge, watching the crossing of White Oak swamp, and covering the left and the rear of the left wing of the army. Being the senior officer on that side of the river, he was placed in command of both corps, and ordered to hold the Seven Pines at all hazards, but not to withdraw the troops from the crossings of White Oak swamp unless in an emergency. On the 28th General Keyes was ordered to advance Casey's division to Fair Oaks, on the Williamsburg road, some three-quarters of a mile in front of the Seven Pines, leaving General Couch's division at the line of rifle-pits. A new line of rifle-pits and a small redoubt for six field guns were commenced, and much of the timber in front of this line was felled on the two days following. The picket line was established, reaching from the Chickahominy to White Oak swamp. On the 30th General Heintzelman, representing that the advance had met with sharp opposition in taking up their position, and that he considered the point a critical one, requested and obtained authority to make such dispositions of his troops as he saw fit to meet the emergency. He immediately advanced two brigades of Kearney's division about the fourth of a mile in front of Savage's station, thus placing them within supporting distance of Casey's division, which held the advance of the 4th corps. On the 30th the troops on the south side of the Chickahominy were in position as follows: Casey's division on the right of the Williamsburg road, at right angles to it, the centre at Fair Oaks; Couch's division at the Seven Pines; Kearney's division on the railroad, from near Savage's station towards the bridge; Hooker's division on the borders of White Oak swamp. Constant skirmishing had been kept up between our pickets and those of the enemy; while these lines were being taken up and strengthened, large bodies of confederate troops were seen immediately to the front and right of Casey's position. During the day and night of the 30th of May a very violent storm occurred. The rain falling in torrents rendered work on the rifle-pits and bridges impracticable, made the roads almost impassable, and threatened the destruction of the bridges over the Chickahominy. The enemy perceiving the unfavorable position in which we were placed, and the possibility of destroying that part of our army which was apparently cut off from the main body by the rapidly rising stream, threw an overwhelming force (grand divisions of Generals D. H. Hill, Huger, Longstreet, and G. W. Smith) upon the position occupied by Casey's division. It appears from the official reports of General Keyes and his subordinate commanders that at ten o'clock a.m. on the 31st of May an aide-de-camp of General J. E. Johnston was captured by General Naglee's pickets. But little information as to the movements of the enemy was obtained from him, but his presence so near our lines excited suspicion and caused increased vigilance, and the troops were ordered by General Keyes to be under arms at eleven o’clock. Between eleven and twelve o'clock it was reported to General Casey that the enemy were approaching in considerable force on the Williamsburg road. At this time Casey's division was disposed as follows: Naglee's brigade extending from the Williamsburg road to the Garnett field, having one regiment across the railroad; General Wessel's brigade in the rifle-pits, and General Palmer's in the rear of General Wessel's ; one battery of artillery in advance with General Naglee; one battery in rear of rifle-pits to the right of the redoubt; one battery in rear of the redoubt, and another battery unharnessed in the redoubt. General Couch's division, holding the second line, had General Abercrombie's brigade on the right, along the nine-mile road, with two regiments and one battery across the railroad near Fair Oaks station; General Peck’s brigade on the right, and General Devens's in the centre. On the approach of the enemy, General Casey sent forward one of General Palmer's regiments to support the picket line, but this regiment gave way without making much, if any, resistance. Heavy firing at once commenced, and the pickets were driven in. General Keyes ordered General Couch to move General Peck's brigade to occupy the ground on the left of the Williamsburg road, which had not before been occupied by our forces, and thus to support General Casey's left, where the first attack was the most severe. The enemy now came on in heavy force, attacking General Casey simultaneously in front and on both flanks. General Keyes sent to General Heintzelman for re-enforcements, but the messenger was delayed, so that orders were not sent to Generals Kearney and Hooker until nearly 3 o'clock, and it was nearly 5 p.m. when Generals Jameson and Perry's brigades of General Kearney's division arrived on the field. General Birney was ordered up the railroad, but by General Kearney's order halted his brigade before arriving at the scene of action. Orders were also despatched for General Hooker to move up from White Oak swamp, and he arrived after dark at Savage's station. As soon as the firing was heard at headquarters, orders were sent to General Summer to get his command under arms and be ready to move at a moment's warning. His corps, consisting of Generals Richardson's and Sedgwick's divisions, was encamped on the north side of the Chickahominy, some six miles above Bottom's bridge; each division had thrown a bridge over the stream opposite to its own position. At one o'clock General Sumner moved the two divisions to their respective bridges, with instructions to halt and await further orders. At two o'clock orders were sent from headquarters to cross these divisions without delay, and push them rapidly to General Heintzelman's support. This order was received and communicated at half past two, and the passage was immediately commenced. In the mean time General Naglee's brigade, with the batteries of General Casey's division, which General Naglee directed, struggled gallantly to . maintain the redoubt and rifle-pits against the overwhelming masses of the enemy. They were re-enforced by a regiment from General Peck's brigade. The artillery under command of Colonel G. D. Bailey, 1st New York artillery, and afterwards of General Naglee, did good execution on the advancing column. The left of this position was, however, soon turned, and a sharp cross-fire opened upon the gunners and men in the rifle-pits. Colonel Bailey, Major Wan Walkenberg, and Adjutant Ramsey, of the same regiment, were killed; some of the guns in the redoubt were taken, and the whole line was driven back upon the position occupied by General Couch. The brigades of Generals Wessel and Palmer, with the re-enforcements which had been sent them from General Couch, had also been driven from the field with heavy loss, and the whole position occupied by General Casey's division was taken by the enemy. Previous to this time General Keyes ordered General Couch to advance two regiments to relieve the pressure upon General Casey's right flank. In making this movement, General Couch discovered large masses of the enemy pushing towards our right, and crossing the railroad, as well as a heavy column which had been held in reserve, and which was now making its way towards Fair Oaks station. General Couch at once engaged this column with two regiments; but, though re-enforced by two additional regiments, he was overpowered, and the enemy pushed between him and the main body of his division. With these four regiments and one battery General Couch"fell back about half a mile towards the Grapevine bridge, where, hearing that General Sumner had crossed, he formed line of battle facing Fair Oaks station, and prepared to hold the position. Generals Berry and Jameson's brigades had by this time arrived in front of the Seven Pines. General Berry was ordered to take possession of the woods on the left, and push forward so as to have a flank fire on the enemy's lines. This movement was executed brilliantly, General Berry pushing his regiments forward through the woods until their rifles commanded the left of the camp and works occupied by General Casey's division in the morning. Their fire on the pursuing columns of the enemy was very destructive, and assisted materially in checking the pursuit in that part of the field. He held his position in these woods against several attacks of superior numbers, and after dark, being cut off by the enemy from the main body, he fell back towards White Oak swamp, and by a circuit brought his men into our lines in good order. General Jameson, with two regiments, (the other two of his brigade having been detached—one to General Peck and one to General Birney,) moved rapidly to the front on the left of the Williamsburg road, and succeeded for a time in keeping the abatis clear of the enemy. But large numbers of the enemy pressing past the right of his line, he, too, was forced to retreat through the woods towards White Oak swamp, and in that way gained camp under cover of night. Brigadier General Devens, who had held the centre of General Couch's division, had made repeated and gallant efforts to regain portions of the ground lost in front, but each time was driven back, and finally withdrew behind the rifle-pits near Seven Pines. Meantime General Sumner had arrived with the advance of his corps, General Sedgwick's division, at the point held by General Couch with four regiments and one battery. The roads leading from the bridge were so miry that it was only by the greatest exertion General Sedgwick had been able to get one of his batteries to the front. The leading regiment (1st Minnesota, Colonel Sully) was immediately deployed to the right of Couch, to protect the flank, and the rest of the division formed in line of battle, Kirby's battery near the centre, in an angle of the woods. One of General Couch's regiments was sent to open communication with General Heintzelman. No sooner were these dispositions made than the enemy came in strong force and opened a heavy fire along the line. He made several charges, but was each time repulsed with great loss by the steady fire of the infantry and the splendid practice of the battery. After sustaining the enemy's fire for a considerable time, General Sumner ordered five regiments (the 34th New York, Colonel Sinter; 82d New York, Lieutenant Colonel Hudson; 15th Massachusetts, Lieutenant Colonel Kimball; 20th Massachusetts, Colonel Lee; 7th Michigan, Major Richardson—the three former of General Gorman's brigade, the two latter of General Dana's brigade) to advance and charge with the bayonet. This charge was executed in the most brilliant manner. Our troops springing over two fences which were between them and the enemy, rushed upon his lines, and drove him in confusion from that part of the field. Darkness now ended the battle for that day. During the night dispositions were made for its early renewal. General Couch's division, and so much of General Casey's as could be collected together, with General Kearney's, occupied the rifle-pits near Seven Pines. General Peck, in falling back on the left, had succeeded late in the afternoon in rallying a considerable number of stragglers, and was taking them once more into the action, when he was ordered back to the intrenched camp by General Kearney. General Hooker brought up his division about dark, having been delayed by the heaviness of the roads and the throng of fugitives from the field, through whom the colonel of the leading regiment (Starr) reports he “was obliged to force his way with the bayonet.” This division bivouacked for the night in rear of the right of the rifle-pits, on the other side of the railroad. General Richardson's division also came upon the field about sunset. He had attempted the passage of the Chickahominy by the bridge opposite his own camp, but it was so far destroyed that he was forced to move Generals Howard and Meagher's brigades, with all his artillery, around by General Sedgwick's bridge, while General French's brigade, with the utmost difficulty, crossed by the other. General Sedgwick's division, with the regiments under General Couch, held about the same position as when the fight ceased, and General Richardson on his arrival was ordered to place his division on the left to connect with General Kearney; General French's brigade was posted along the railroad, and Generals Howard and Meagher's brigades in second and third lines. All his artillery had been left behind, it being impossible to move it forward through the deep mud as rapidly as the infantry pushed towards the field, but during the night the three batteries of the division were brought to the front. About five o'clock on the morning of the first of June skirmishers and some cavalry of the enemy were discovered in front of General Richardson's division. Captain Pettit's battery, (B, 1st New York,) having come upon the ground, threw a few shells among them, when they dispersed. There was a wide interval between General Richardson and General Kearney. To close this, General Richardson's line was extended to the left and his first line moved over the railroad. Scarcely had they gained the position, when the enemy appearing in large force

from the woods in front, opened a heavy fire of musketry at short range along the whole line. He approached very rapidly...with columns of attack formed on two roads which crossed the railroad. These columns were supported by infantry in line of battle on each side, cutting General French’s line. He threw out no skirmishers, but appeared determined to carry all before him by one crushing blow. For nearly an hour the first line of General Richardson's division stood and returned the fire, the lines of the enemy being re-enforced and relieved time after time, till finally General Howard was ordered with his brigade to go to General French's assistance. He led his men gallantly to the front, and in a few minutes the fire of the enemy ceased and his whole line fell back on that part of the field. On the opening of the firing in the morning General Hooker pushed forward on the railroad with two regiments (5th and 6th New Jersey,) followed by General Sickles's brigade. It was found impossible to move the artillery of this division from its position on account of the mud. On coming near the woods, which were held by the enemy in force, General Hooker found General Birney's brigade, Colonel J. Hobart Ward in command, in line of battle. He sent back to hasten General Sickles's brigade, but ascertained that it had been turned off to the left by General Heintzelman to meet a column advancing in that direction. He at once made the attack with the two New Jersey regiments, calling upon Colonel Ward to support him with General Birney's brigade. This was well done, our troops advancing into the woods under a heavy fire, and pushing the enemy before them for more than an hour of hard fighting. A charge with the bayonet was then ordered by General Hooker with the 5th and 6th New Jersey, 3d Maine, and 38th and 40th New York, and the enemy fled in confusion, throwing down arms and even clothing in his flight. General Sickles, having been ordered to the left, formed line of battle on both sides of the Williamsburg road and advanced under a sharp fire from the enemy, deployed in the woods in front of him; after a brisk interchange of musketry fire while crossing the open ground, the Excelsior brigade dashed into the timber with the bayonet and put the enemy to flight. §: the right the enemy opened fire after half an hour's cessation, which was promptly responded to by General Richardson's division. Again the most vigorous efforts were made to break our line, and again they were frustrated by the steady courage of our troops. In about an hour General Richardson's whole line advanced, pouring in their fire at close range, which threw the line of the enemy back in some confusion. This was followed up by a bayonet charge led by General French in person, with the 57th and 66th New York, supported by two regiments sent by General Heintzelman, the 71st and 73d New York, which turned the confusion of the enemy into precipitated flight. One gun captured the previous day was retaken. Our troops pushed forward as far as the lines held by them on the 31st before the attack. On the battle-field there were found many of our own and the confederate wounded, arms, caissons, wagons, subsistence stores, and forage, abandoned by the enemy in his rout. The state of the roads and impossibility of manoeuvring artillery prevented further pursuit. On the next morning a reconnoissance was sent forward, which pressed back the pickets of the enemy to within five miles of Richmond; but again the impossibility of forcing even a few batteries forward precluded our holding permanently this position. The lines held previous to the battle were therefore resumed. General J. E. Johnston reports loss of the enemy in Longstreet's and J. W. Smith's divisions at 4,283; General D. H. Hill, who had taken the advance in the attack, estimates his loss at 2,500; which would give the enemy's loss 6,783. Our loss was, in General Sumner's corps, 1,223; General Heintzelman's corps, 1,394; General Keyes's corps, 3,120–total, 5,737. Previous to the arrival of General Sumner upon the field of battle, on the 31st of May, General Heintzelman, the senior corps commander present, was in

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