advance line — that officer's corps being on my right — and a few projectiles from the artillery, which found their way inside my lines. Orders were now sent me to fall back to Savage's station for its defence; and while my column was moving for that purpose, orders were again received to follow Kearney in his flank movements towards James River, and to cross Oak swamp at Brackett's Ford, which was accomplished that night — the rear of my column coming up to the Charles City road about ten o'clock, at which point we bivouacked for the night. In this flank movement two of my batteries — Osborne's and Bramhall's — had been detached for duty in the defence of Savage's station, where they rendered efficient service. The report of Capt. Osborne is herewith forwarded, to which the attention of the Major-General commanding the corps is especially invited. About daylight the following morning, thirtieth ult., the Major-General commanding the corps communicated to me in person that it was his desire that my division should cover what is called the Quaker road, over which our troops, artillery and trains were to pass in their retrograde march to James River. As Kearney's division was assigned the same duty, and as it was yet early in the morning, we mounted our horses, rode over the road we were required to defend, and examined the country and the approaches over which the enemy would be the most likely to advance. The direction of Quaker's road is nearly perpendicular to the general course of James River, and crosses at nearly right angles the principal highways leading out of Richmond, between the river and the Williamsburgh road. Numerous by-roads connect these most-travelled highways with the Quaker road, and it was determined that I should establish my division on the one which falls into the last-named road, near St. Paul's church, the right resting on this crossroad, and the line nearly parallel with, and half a mile or more in advance of, the Quaker road. A forest covered the area between my position and this road. On my right was Sumner's corps, in a cleared field, occupying the position which I had supposed was assigned to Kearney, and Kearney remained near where I had left him early in the morning. About nine o'clock my line of battle was established — Grover on the right, Carr in the centre, and Sickles's brigade on the left. In the mean time, directions were given for all of my batteries to continue their march to our proposed camp near James River, in order that they might be put in position there. About eleven o'clock A. M. some of our army-wagons were observed in my front, which, on inquiry, were found to belong to McCall's division, which was the first intimation I had received of his being in my neighborhood, and, on examination, I found his division drawn up in line of battle, his left resting five hundred or six hundred yards from my right, and stretching off at an obtuse angle with the direction of my own. The woods in which this division was found extended to the immediate front of my right, narrowing in width as it approached my position. About three o'clock the enemy commenced a vigorous attack on McCall, and in such force that Gen. Sumner voluntarily tendered me the services of a regiment which was posted in an open field on my extreme right, and under shelter from the enemy's artillery. This was the Sixty-ninth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, under Col. Owen. Meanwhile, the enemy's attack had grown in force and violence, and after an ineffectual effort to resist it, the whole of McCall's division was completely routed, and many of the fugitives rushed down the road on which my right was resting, while others took the cleared field, and broke through my lines, from one end of them to the other, and actually fired on and killed some of my men as they passed. At first I was apprehensive that the effect would be disastrous on my command, and was no little relieved when they had passed my lines. Following closely upon the footsteps of these demoralized people, were the broken masses of the enemy, furiously pressing them on to me under cover of the woods, until they were checked by a front fire of the Sixteenth Massachusetts volunteers, and afterwards by a diagonal fire on their right and left flanks from the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania volunteers and the left of the Sixteenth Massachusetts. Also, whenever the enemy ventured to uncover himself from the forest, a destructive fire was poured into him along my right wing. After great loss the enemy gave way, and were instantly followed with great gallantry by Grover at the head of the First Massachusetts regiment, while the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, heroically led by Owen, advanced in the open field on their flank, with almost reckless daring. Grover was reinforced by the Second New-Hampshire and the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania regiments, but not until after he had suffered severely from the enemy's reserves. The enemy were rolled back through a part of McCall's camp, and passing Sumner's front, they were by him hurriedly thrown over on to Kearney, where the fire was kept up until a late hour in the night. During all this time several of Sumner's batteries had been doing splendid execution in the rebel ranks, and greatly contributed to our success. The troops under Grover were withdrawn from the pursuit at dark, and restored to their places in line of battle. Soon after this attack was made, word was received from Gen. Sickles that the enemy in his immediate front were preparing to turn our left, when all our reserves were despatched to strengthen him. No attack, however, in force was made, and Sickles's and Carr's brigades remained in position. The former reports the capture of one hundred and fifty prisoners, in which are included one Lieutenant-Colonel, one Captain, five Lieutenants, and forty enlisted men, taken by Capt. Parks, company F, Second New-York volunteers,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.