field,) Charles S. Leonard, David B. Copeland. Total — Killed, four; wounded, thirty; missing, twenty-eight--in all, sixty-two. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Robert Cowdin, Colonel First Massachusetts Volunteers.
Captain Brady's account.
headquarters light battery H, First Pennsylvania artillery, near Fort Darling, July 1, 1862.We have had a victory! Five thousand rebel prisoners, and thirty pieces of artillery. In the morning, every thing indicated a hard-fought field and a retreat before dark, as some of the troops had already begun to fall back towards the James River. Orders were given to push all the wagons under cover at a certain place, simultaneously with the commencement of the action. So the struggle began in right good earnest on the right, and then shifted to the left. Secesh appeared to have it all his own way till the proper time came, and then, to his surprise, he was marched back again, without orders from his superior officers, as if it was understood that they had gone far enough with the joke. McClellan was there in person, and attended to their case himself. Our army would not budge an inch for them. The enemy could not understand this kind of retreating. Counter-marching back again, the right falls back, and then marches to the left. Secesh sees this and is exalted. He takes another swig at his canteen of whisky, (a thing which they are all well braced with, for canteens of whisky are found on all the killed and wounded,) tightens the straps around his legs, (for he has to be strapped, lest he fall out of the saddle,) and rushes forward on our lines head foremost, only to be mowed down by our left wing, that had marched to the place of the right. Of course, Jeff did not see this. He thinks he is following our retreating troops, but he finds his drunken army pitching on to advancing bayonets. They cannot stop. Onward they fling, like madmen, and once broken, they cannot be rallied. Secesh has found that McClellan has retreated far enough. The action was a magnificent one. When the rebel lines had been completely broken, and filled up by Smith, Corney, (sic) McCall, Sumner, and Meagher, with his Irish bayonets, the gunboats pitched into Fort Darling, and in about twenty minutes blew up the magazine of the Fort. It was a grand spectacle. Then turning on the flying foe, they hammered them back towards Richmond. For a long time we were drawn up on a large plain covered with wheat ready for cutting, three miles each way. You could scarcely see a horse standing in it. In there were a hundred pieces of artillery and many regiments of cavalry, ready to pitch in and spill the rebel canteens. But we were not wanted, so we had to stand there and listen. Every thing was cast off and ready for action, with our guns shotted. But our troops held their own and won, and the charges were withdrawn from the guns. Night came, and we lay down by our guns in the wheat. This morning, though
The dew on our mantles hung heavy and chill,we rose gaily to our posts, ready to go forward, as I understand the order. Poor Easton was shot through the heart in Friday's fight. His cannoniers stuck to their guns till the rebel cavalry actually knocked the ammunition they were putting into them out of their hands. They took the battery and cried out to him to “surrender.” “Never!” was the reply, and in an instant he was knocked out of his saddle with a shower of bullets. Lieutenant Monk, of McCarty's battery, and Dougherty, of Flood's, in Sunday's skirmish or fight, gave the enemy's cavalry a lesson in dismounting on the charge — unsaddling some two hundred of them. Many of them were strapped to their horses, and of course were dragged or fell with them. Altogether, it was a lively time for these batteries. We were stationed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, guarding the railroad bridge. It was a laborious duty. Mr. Fagan, with two of my guns, I posted at Bottom's Bridge. In due time, the bridge was burned, and when the final order came to return, the train, which was composed of many cars and a locomotive, was fired and run into the river, as it contained a great deal of ammunition. It blew up, throwing fragments of the cars and locomotive thousands of feet into the sky. It was one of the grandest spectacles I may ever witness. We were within about fifteen hundred yards of it at the time. It must have astonished the secesh, who were constantly hovering around the bridge, with about five thousand troops and some artillery. On Saturday they made a demonstration with their guns upon Mr. Fagan's section at Bottom's Bridge. I heard the firing and knew where they were. So, after Fagan gave them a few planters, I opened, along with a brass piece of Mr. Wilder's, from the railroad track, silencing them in five rounds. They were completely scared. Every shot told, and coming from a point not reckoned on, compelled them to respect Mr. Fagan's position and withdraw. It was inferred that this party had run out of whisky, for they “dried up” very soon. When the train was blown up, our artillery ceased firing, and was then ordered to James River to rejoin the corps. There is every reasonable appearance of a victorious entrance into Richmond soon.
James Brady, Captain First Pennsylvania Artillery.