previous next

[70] a reenforcement. Butterfield threw the Eighty-third Pennsylvania and Sixteenth Michigan in on the left. McQuade sent the Sixty-second Pennsylvania, Col. Black, in the timber on the extreme right, deployed mainly as skirmishers, and advancing rapidly; also the Ninth Massachusetts, Col. Cass, on the left of the Eighty-third. The Fourteenth New-York having relieved the Second Maine, was joined by the Thirteenth New-York, from Col. Warren's brigade, on our left supported by Berdan's Sharp-shooters, half of whom went in with their Sharpe's rifles, doing sure work at every shot, while the balance of the regiments were held in reserve. Griffin's battery now came thundering in, unlimbered and took position in a twinkling, and commenced throwing shell and shrapnel with excellent effect. The fresh regiments now pressed forward, the Eighty-third Pennsylvania advancing under several volleys, but reserving its fire for close quarters, losing but slightly. The enemy found the pressure of the Sixty-second on his left and the other regiments in front altogether too great, and, with several well-directed volleys, our advancing columns soon threw him into the direst confusion, and he at once beat a precipitate retreat, under the cover of the dense forest in his rear.

The victory was ours! All honor to the three noble bands who so long held the enemy in check without abating an iota of their foothold; and great praise to the vigorous and timely efforts of the brave regiments from Butterfield and McQuade, who drove from the ground a force superior to the whole of ours engaged at any one time. Butterfield's efforts, from first to last, were productive of the very best results.

The results are more than we expected. Up to this hour, over six hundred prisoners. Gen. Stoneman captured a railway-train.

Another account.

Butterpield's brigade, Porter's division, Fifth provisional army corps, camp near Hanover Court-House, Va., May 29.
Fort Donelson, Pittsburgh Landing, Williamsburgh, Hanover, and Fair Oaks illustrate in this war, what is a remarkable fact in the campaigns of both classic and modern times, that the most drenching storms and the deepest mud have not been able to deter energetic commanders and vigorous troops from making long marches or fighting hard battles.

The old division of Gen. Fitz-John Porter, now commanded by its ranking general, Brig.-Gen. Morell, received, on the night of the twenty-sixth instant, orders to move on the following morning, equipped for fight. Five o'clock was the hour appointed for starting. At three the officers of the different guards roused the men to find the rain falling rapidly, their tents overflowing, and pools of muddy water where their kitchen-fires had been the night before. The storm kept increasing, and many an officer and man hoped that before daylight a countermand would come. The kindest persuasion could not induce a fire to burn--“fall in,” was heard, for so near the enemy we no longer use the bugle for the general assembly and “color” --and our stout fellows, cut short of their morning cup of coffee, seized their arms, and the long dark regimental lines began to appear over the camp grounds at the first dawn of day. An hour passed, and still no order and no countermand. Yet another — and an orderly came galloping to our tent. We were sure the march for that day had been given up. “You will start with your command at once — the head of the column is moving. T. J. Hoyt, A. A. G.” Out we went, nobody knew whither. 'Twas enough we were going somewhere.

Headed by the General and his staff, the brigade filed into its place and the dreary march commenced. Men were dainty at first where they planted their feet, but in half an hour puddles to the knee and mud that was shallower were sounded alike with indifference. At each small stream, as we passed through the low swampy wood, you could hear the question and reply along the ranks, “This the Chickahominy, boys?” “Yes, here's New-Bridge!” “Big river, this!” “Let's jump it!” but after a ten-mile march it became evident we were not going to Richmond at least by New-Bridge.

The morning wore away and at noon the storm had departed with it. We were now some twelve miles from camp in a direction about north-westerly. The order of advance at a cross-roads here was changed a little. The Seventeenth New-York had led our brigade, followed by Griffin's battery, then the Forty-fourth New-York, Eighty-third Pennsylvania, Twelfth New-York, and Sixteenth Michigan. Here the Forty-fourth New-York was detached with two pieces of Martin's Fifth Massachusetts battery to guard against any attempt of the enemy to interfere with our rear. The regiments closed up, took the right-hand road, and forward we went for some three miles more. Sharp volleys of musketry were now heard, and then the heavy thunder of the larger guns. Evidently the enemy had been found. The Twenty-fifth New-York, Col. Johnson, was in advance of the division. The rebels had chosen an open space of large extent, flanked with woods, several hundred yards to the right and left of an orchard and dwelling-house, (Dr. Kinney's,) near the centre, where they had planted two guns, supported by a regiment of infantry. Col. Johnson's attack upon this position was brave and impetuous, but the superior numbers of the enemy in the field, and in the woods on his right, compelled him to withdraw with severe loss. The artillery had opened briskly, and the head of this brigade — of which I wish particularly to speak, because I know whereof I affirm — made its appearance.

Stripping off their wet blankets and tents, forward went the Seventeenth New-York and Eighty-third Pennsylvania in line of battle, led by their gallant General, and followed in column of division by the Twelfth New-York and Sixteenth Michigan. This movement was for the enemy's flank as well as front; to gain this, therefore, the woods to his right were taken and skirmishers

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Butterfield (3)
Fitz-John Porter (2)
McQuade (2)
Andrew Johnson (2)
Griffin (2)
Warren (1)
Stoneman (1)
Sharpe (1)
G. W. Morell (1)
William Martin (1)
Kinney (1)
T. J. Hoyt (1)
Cass (1)
Butterpield (1)
Samuel Black (1)
Berdan (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 29th (1)
26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: