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[146] swept the field, recovering much of the ground that had been lost. At nightfall, Richardson's division, having also crossed over, came up on the left of Sedgwick, connecting with Birney's brigade of Heintzelman's corps on his left; thus making all secure in that quarter.

At 6 P. M., Abercrombie, farther to our right, still desperately fighting, had been compelled to give ground, and seemed about to be enveloped by an overwhelming force; when the long-expected succor arrived. Gorman's brigade, leading Sedgwick's division, deployed into line of battle along the crest of a hill in the rear of Fair Oaks, and advanced down a gentle slope to the field where Col. Cochrane's U. S. Chasseurs and Neill's 23d Pennsylvania were fighting against heavy odds. At this moment, a furious enfilading fire of musketry was received on our right, indicating an effort to turn us on that flank, and repeat the sharp lesson of Casey's disaster. Gen. Sedgwick instantly directed Gen. Burns to deploy the 69th and 72d Pennsylvania to the right, himself holding the 71st and 106th in support of Gorman. The Rebels attacked with great fury, stampeding two or three battery teams, so that for a moment our lines seemed to waver; but Burns's calm, full-voiced order, “Steady, men, steady!” evoked a thundering cheer, followed by volley after volley of musketry, under which the enemy advanced steadily, and were charging Kirby's battery, when he poured into their close ranks a murderous fire of canister, which sent them rapidly to the woods in their rear.

Meanwhile, Dana's brigade had come into line on Gorman's left, and the Rebels renewed, as darkness fell, their attempt to outflank our right, extending their left farther and farther; but in vain. Gens. Sumner, Sedgwick, Dana, whose horse was killed under him, Burns, and Gorman, each exerted himself to the utmost to animate and encourage their men. Dana's wing was gradually advanced as the Rebels extended their left, and the battle swayed more and more to our right, until our line was nearly at right angles with that on which we had been fighting two hours before. And thus the fight raged on until after 8 o'clock; when the Rebels desisted and fell back, leaving us in undisputed possession of the ground whereon the final struggle was made.1

Sumner's heavier artillery had been left stalled in the swamps of the Chickahominy, as his infantry hurried

1 Gen. McClellan, in his elaborate report on this campaign, after relating Gen. Sumner's arrival on the battle-field, with Sedgwick's division, says:

The leading regiment (1st Minnesota, Col. 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 center, in an angle of the woods. One of Gen. Couch's regiments was sent to open communication with Gen. Heintzelman. No sooner were these dispositions made, than the enemy came on in strong force, and opened a heavy fire along the line. He made several charges, but was 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, Gen. Sumner ordered five regiments (the 34th New York, Col. Smith, 82d New York, Lt.-Col. Hudson, 15th Massachusetts, Lt.-Col. Kimball, 20th Massachusetts, Col. Lee, 7th Michigan, Maj. Richardson, the three former of Gen. Gorman's brigade, the two latter of Gen. Dana's brigade) to advance and charge with 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.

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Sedgwick (5)
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