Seven Days Battle - 1862
Report of Brig. Gen. John Sedgwick, SEVEN DAYS' BATTLES
Report of Brig. Gen. John Sedgwick, U.S. Army, commanding Second Division, of engagement at Peach Orchard, or Allen's Farm, and battles of Savage Station, Glendale, or Nelson's Farm (Frazier's Farm), and Malvern Hill.
PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN--SEVEN DAYS' BATTLES
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XI/2 [S# 13]
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, SUMNER'S CORPS,
Harrison's Landing, Va., July 5, 1862
Lieut. L. KIP,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Sumner's Army Corps.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part sustained by this division in the march made and the actions fought by this army during June 29 and 30 and July 1 and 2:
The division left its camp at Fair Oaks immediately after daybreak June 29, and formed in line of battle faced to the rear on the left of Richardson's division, on Allen's farm, between Orchard and Savage Stations, on the Richmond and York River Railroad. The enemy appeared and attacked about 9 a.m., but was successfully held in check. At about noon, all firing having been suspended, the command crossed the railroad and fell back to the high ground south of Savage Station and near the Williamsburg Road. About 5 p.m. the enemy attacked again in stronger force and with more impetuosity, but was gallantly resisted and driven back, the engagement continuing until quite dark.
About 11 p.m. the march was resumed across Waite Oak Swamp, the crossing being successfully accomplished by about daybreak. After a brief rest the march was continued to the point known as Nelson's Farm, or Glendale. About 11 a.m. June 30, the enemy having made a strong attack with artillery upon Franklin's command, which had remained to defend the bridge across White Oak Swamp, Dana's and Gorman's brigades (the latter under command of Colonel Sully, First Minnesota) were sent, under Brigadier-General Dana, to Franklin's support, moving a part of the way at double-quick. About 3 p.m. a very fierce and strong attack was made upon McCall's division in the first line, which after a short resistance retired, thus bringing in direct contact with the enemy that portion of my command remaining with me. Burns went immediately to meet the enemy, and Dana's and Sully's brigades were recalled, again marching a part of the way at double-quick. The Nineteenth Massachusetts, Colonel Hinks, was the first to arrive, and scarcely pausing to draw breath, gallantly dashed at the enemy. The others followed and went to the front as they came up as rapidly as their wearied condition rendered possible. Some temporary confusion arose among the regiments of Dana's brigade owing to their failure to advance equally with each other, and all these regiments suffered severely. The entire division was now hotly engaged, the greater part of it until night, and not only did these troops meet and repulse the assaults of the enemy, but were forced to withstand the demoralizing influence of the panic among those of the first line, who in many instances broke through our ranks in their haste to move out of reach of the enemy's fire.
About 10 p.m. the regiments, which were lying upon- their arms in the positions occupied at the close of the fight, which lasted, as at Savage Station, until some time after dark, were called in, and preparations made to continue the march to Malverton, which we reached about daybreak.
At 9 a.m. July 1 the enemy again attacked. My division took up a position under the orders of General Sumner, which was changed once or twice during the day, and was held in readiness to meet the enemy should he appear in our immediate front, or to give any assistance required on other parts of the line. It was exposed during a portion of the morning to a heavy fire of artillery, from which, however, surprisingly few casualties resulted, among them, unhappily, the death of Major Brown, Thirty-fourth New York Volunteers.
Between 12 and 2 a.m. of the 2d instant my command was withdrawn from the hill, and took up the march down the River road to this point, arriving about 10 a.m.
We have to deplore the loss of several valuable officers. Colonel Hinks, Nineteenth Massachusetts, fell, dangerously wounded, during the action at Glendale while gallantly leading his regiment. Major How, of the same regiment, fell at the same time. Colonel Charles, Forty-second New York, also fell, mortally wounded, at the head of his regiment.
I cannot refrain from speaking with pride and satisfaction of the great resolution, cheerfulness, and good conduct of the men during the entire march. All were ready at all times, in spite of the severe and almost unparalleled fatigues they were compelled to undergo, to meet the enemy at a moment's notice. I would especially call the attention of the general commanding the corps to the gallantry of Brigadier-General Burns in the severe engagements both of Savage Station and of Glendale, in the former of which he was severely wounded, and in both of which he exhibited great daring and excellent judgment in the disposition of his troops.
The conduct of Brigadier-General Dana and of Colonel Sully, though they were less conspicuously engaged, was in every way what was to be expected from their well-established reputation. I would also especially commend the firm and steady behavior of the Seventy-first Pennsylvania, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, which covered the movement from Fair Oaks to Allen's farm, repelling several attacks made by superior numbers most handsomely. Kirby's battery was of great service in the engagement at Glendale, and it is needless to say that officers and men fully sustained their well-earned reputation. Captain Tompkins' Rhode Island battery was also engaged upon the same occasion, and was worked with great spirit.
I refrain from multiplying mention of good conduct, but refer for additional details to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders which I herewith submit. My personal staff, Capt. William D. Sedgwick, assistant adjutant-general, Lieut. Church Howe, aide-de-camp, as well as Col. C. H. Tompkins, chief of artillery, were untiring in their exertions, and rendered me, as usual, constant and most valuable assistance. Maj. R. F. Halsted, volunteer aide, also behaved most handsomely, and rendered me important services. To Capt. R. N. Batchelder, assistant quartermaster, for his skill and indefatigable energy in the difficult undertaking of moving our transportation, the service is under great obligations.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Volunteers, Commanding Division.
Posted By: Joe Elia