This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 immediately ordered Sumner to cross the Chickahominy and take part in the battle. At half-past 3 o'clock Kearny, who, from the moment that he heard the sound of cannon, knew no obstacles, arrived at Seven Pines with two of his brigades, Berry's and Jamison's, and his timely presence retrieved for a moment the fortunes of the day. But at the same time Johnston was also roused from his inactivity. He sent at last an aide-de-camp to ascertain the movements of Longstreet; and learning from him that a fierce battle was raging on his right, he determined to bring Smith's corps into line. A portion of this corps, under Hood, marched directly upon Fair Oaks by way of Nine Mile road to support Longstreet's attack. The remainder, under the personal lead of the general-in-chief, bore to the left, and reached the large clearings extending from Fair Oaks to the Chickahominy; by this movement Johnston hoped to strike the right flank and rear of the Federals who were defending Seven Pines. It was four o'clock. Hood arrived at Fair Oaks with his fresh troops, and swept everything before him. He cut the Federal line in two. Couch, with a few regiments, was driven back north of the railroad, while the remainder of his division, already scattered and mixed up with the debris of Casey's, was no longer able to defend Seven Pines, and was forced back on the Williamsburg road, while Kearny's brigades, which had resolutely defended their positions on the extreme left, finding themselves separated from the rest of the army, were obliged to make a large detour across the woods to rejoin their comrades. It was a critical moment. The Federals, who had struggled vigorously against the ever-increasing numbers of their adversaries—for they were only eighteen or nineteen thousand against more than thirty thousand—were in a condition in which the least mischance might lead to an irreparable disaster. Brigades, regiments, and even companies, were mixed up. The relative commands no longer existed. In their efforts to restore order among the troops the officers gathered around them, by their words and their example, men from the regiments, and marshalled them in haste and almost at random behind the breastworks erected a few days before near the camp occupied by Kearny, two kilometres
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.