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[94] Roger A. Pryor, did sleep there, but none of Ours.

Fourth. It is stated that on Sunday Gen. McClellan made a speech to Casey's division, in which he stated, that if they would stand by him. and act as well as the other divisions, he would bag the whole rebel army in six hours. This is an entire and utter falsehood. It has not a shadow of foundation in fact. Gen. McClellan did not come once into the presence of that division, and would not readily venture to make any such insulting speech to them. If he had appeared before them to make an address, its burden should far more properly have been this: “Comrades, I thank you for your gallantry and firmness; you have saved the army, for if you had not for hours contended against an enemy that outnumbered you five to one, the rebel forces would now be across the Chickahominy, and my entire force most probably defeated!”

Fifth. It is stated that Gen. Heintzelman, on Sunday morning, recovered the ground lost on Saturday by Gen. Casey. He did nothing of the sort. It was on Monday morning before that ground was really in our possession.

Sixth. It is stated in Gen. McClellan's despatch, that on Sunday morning the rebels renewed the attack, but were repulsed at all points They did not renew the attack, and so were not repulsed. They began an orderly retreat on Sunday morning, and Gens. Sumner and Heintzelman followed them and had some skirmishing, but nothing that deserved the name of a battle.

Seventh. It has been publicly stated, as proof that we gained a decided victory on Sunday, that the enemy was driven back at the point of the bayonet some two miles, and that our advance immediately took position two or three miles in front of that held on Saturday last. This also is totally untrue. There were no bayonet-charges made in face of the enemy. Bayonets were not once crossed in the entire affair. And now, after the lapse of a week, our advance is not one quarter of a mile (if it is even a furlong) beyond the position held by the Fifty-second Pennsylvania on the morning of the first fight.

Eighth. The entire credit has been given to Gens. Heintzelman, Kearney, Sumner, etc., but the public is not aware that it was on their own representations this was done. When Gen. McClellan wrote his unjust despatch he had not received Gen. Casey's report; he had not heard from any member of Casey's division an account of the day's work. He took the statement of men who were naturally more anxious to publish their own achievements than to do justice to others. Of at least one of these very men so bepraised at the expense of others, it would hardly be in accordance with military law for your present correspondent to tell the truth. There are such things as courts-martial, which regard but little the truth of a statement if it reflect upon the conduct of a superior officer, and therefore what gentlemen with stars on their shoulders were pushing their steeds toward the Chickahominy, and eagerly asked of some officers in Casey's division the road to Bottom's Bridge, this deponent sayeth not.

The real facts as regards Saturday's fight are these: For two weeks previously the First brigade of Casey's division, (commanded by Gen. Naglee,) was pushed in advance of the whole army, and kept at hard work in reconnoissances and advanced picket duty. That splendid brigade (than which there is no finer in McClellan's command) was like a finger thrust forward into the fire to test its power. Subjected to hardships which in this campaign have not been equalled, and open by day and night to the attack of the enemy, on Saturday morning the One Hundred and Fourth Pennsylvania volunteers, the Fifty-sixth New-York, the Eleventh Maine, and the One Hundredth New-York, were in camp, in advance of the Second and Third brigades, the entire division being in advance of Gen. Couch's division about one mile, and unsupported except by him. Out in front of all, half a mile or a mile in advance of its own brigade, the Pennsylvania volunteers were doing duty as picket reserve; two companies of it (F and H) being out on the line of pickets, and one other (C) having just returned from forty-eight hours spent on picket duty, almost without food, and totally without shelter and rest.

While matters were in this position, the outlying pickets were fired upon by the advancing enemy, but not driven back, as is usual in such a case. They held their ground for a long time, and some of them, when actually surrounded, had to fight their way through to join their brigade. This picket-firing began between eleven and twelve o'clock. The Fifty-second was immediately drawn up in line of battle, but owing to the absence of the two companies above mentioned, and to its great losses from disease, it numbered only two hundred and forty-eight men! It was soon under fire, fire in front, fire from the right, and fire from the left, and yet held its ground. Isolated from its brigade, and so completely flanked by the attacking enemy, Colonel Dodge had to act without orders, and do what he thought best for the common cause. He might have ordered a retreat, but did not. At last Capt. Johnson, aid-de-camp to General Naglee, brought an order for him to bring his regiment and report to his headquarters. When this movement was executed, he found the brigade all engaged, and contending gallantly against a terrific tire.

Having drawn the regiment up in line of battle, Colonel Dodge was waiting further orders, when another Colonel, sent up with his regiment to support Casey's, and who at the time was doing nothing, called out: “Why the----don't you take your men into those woods?” The other, paying no heed to the tone or style of this suggestion, and preferring any work to idleness at such a time, led his regiment into the woods referred to, and had not advanced twenty paces when a murderous volley was poured into his ranks, and then another and another. Three were received before the enemy could be seen or the fire returned, but not a man faltered, not an

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Silas Casey (7)
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