previous next

[79] which fell and burst with unusual precision among the enemy's masses, as did also those of the other two batteries. And, later in the day, when the enemy were rushing in upon our right, Miller threw his case and canister among them, doing frightful execution.

The death of several officers of high rank, and the disability and wounds of others, have delayed this report. It has been my design to state nothing as a fact,which could not be substantiated. Many things escaped notice by reason of the forests which concealed our own movements as well as the movements of the enemy. From this cause some of the reports of subordinate commanders are not sufficiently full. In some cases, it is apparent that those subordinate commanders were not always in the best positions to observe, and this will account for the circumstance that I have mentioned some facts derived from personal observation, not found in the reports of my subordinates. The reports of division and brigade commanders, I trust, will be published with this immediately. I ask their publication as an act of simple justice to the Fourth corps, against which many groundless aspersions and incorrect statements have been circulated in the newspapers since the battle. These reports are made by men who observed the conflict while under fire, and if they are not, in the main, true, the truth will never be known.

In the battle of the thirty-first of May, the casualties on our side, a list of which is enclosed, were heavy, amounting to something like twenty-five per cent in killed and wounded of the number actually engaged, which did not amount to more than 12,000--the Fourth corps at that date having been much weakened by detachments and other causes. Nearly all who were struck were hit while facing the enemy.

The confederates outnumbered us, during a great part of the conflict, at least four to one, and their losses are supposed greatly to exceed ours. They were fresh, drilled troops, led on and cheered by their best Generals, and the President of their “Republic.” They are right when they assert that the Yankees stubbornly contested every foot of ground.

Of the nine Generals of the Fourth corps who were present on the field, all, with one exception, were wounded, or their horses were hit in the battle. A large proportion of all the field-officers in the action were killed, wounded, or their horses were struck. These facts denote the fierceness of the contest and the gallantry of a large majority of the officers.

Many officers have been named and commended in this report, and in the reports of division, brigade and other commanders, and I will not here recapitulate further than that I received great assistance from the members of my staff, whose conduct was excellent, though they were necessarily often separated from me.

To the energy and skill of Surgeon F. H. Hamilton, Chief of his department in the Fourth corps, and the assistance he received from his subordinate surgeons, the wounded and sick are indebted for all the relief and comfort which it was possible to afford them.

I should be glad if the names of every individual who kept his place in the long struggle could be known. All those deserve praise and reward. On the other hand, the men who left the ranks and the field, and especially the officers who went away without orders, should be known, and held up to scorn. In some of the retreating groups I discovered officers; and, sometimes, the officers were furthest in the rear. What hope can we have of the safety of the country, when even a few military officers turn their backs upon the enemy without orders? Such officers should be discharged and disgraced, and brave men advanced to their places. The task of reformation is not easy, because much true manliness has been suffocated in deluding theories, and the improvement will not be complete until valor is more esteemed, nor until we adopt as a maxim, that to decorate a coward with shoulder-straps, is to pave the road to a nation's ruin.

Respectfully submitted.

E. D. Keyes, Commanding Fourth Corps.


Official report of General Casey.

headquarters Gen. Casey's division, Poplar Hill, Henrico Co., Va., June, 1862.
Captain: In obedience to directions from the General commanding the Fourth corps, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division in the battle of the Seven Pines, on the thirty-first ultimo. I occupied with my division the advanced position of the army, about three fourths of a mile from the cross-roads at the Seven Pines, where I caused rifle-pits and a redoubt to be thrown up. Also an abattis to be commenced about one third of a mile in front of the pits, and parties were employed upon these works on the morning of the thirty-first.

Previously to occupying my last position I had occupied the cross-roads, and had there also caused an abattis to be cut and earthworks to be commenced. On the twenty-ninth, the day on which I moved my camp forward, and also on the thirtieth, my advanced pickets had been attacked by a body of the enemy on the former day by a force of three hundred and on the next by one of four hundred in number. The pickets on the first day succeeded in driving the enemy back in confusion, killing and wounding a number, with a loss on my part of but two killed and two wounded. Major Kelly, of the Ninety-sixth regiment New-York volunteers, was one of my killed. The Major was in command of my pickets at this point, and by his gallant conduct animated the men to the firm resistance offered. In the attack of the thirtieth, I ordered the One Hundredth regiment, New-York volunteers, to move to the support of the pickets. With the assistance of this regiment, under the command of Col. Brown, they succeeded in repelling the attack, the enemy leaving six of his dead upon the ground. On the morning of the thirty-first of May my pickets toward the right of my line succeeded in capturing


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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Henrico (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Silas Casey (2)
William J. Miller (1)
E. D. Keyes (1)
Patrick Kelly (1)
F. H. Hamilton (1)
J. N. Brown (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 31st (2)
June, 1862 AD (1)
31st (1)
30th (1)
29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: