Two Days Of Battle AT Seven Pines

(Fair Oaks) By Gustavus W. Smith, Major-General, C.S. A.

Here the Williamsburg "old stage" road is intersected by the Nine-mile road, at a point seven miles east of Richmond was fought the first great contest between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Federal Army of the Potomac. The junction of these two roads is called Seven Pines. About one mile from Seven Pines, where the Nine-mile road crosses the Richmond and the York River Railroad, there s a station called Fair Oaks. Before the action ended there was a good deal of fighting near the latter place. The Federals called the action of May 31st and June 1st the battle of Fair Oaks.

Before describing this contest, a sketch will be given of the movements of the two armies from the time the Confederates withdrew from Williamsburg. It is well, however, to say here flat, in preparing an account of the battle, I have felt constrained to refer to some important matters in more detail than would have been considered essential, if there was not such direct conflict of "high authorities,' in regard to them. For instance, nearly all the descriptions of this action heretofore published give as the intention of the Confederate commander that Longstreet's division was to move to the Williamsburg road and support D. H. Hill's division on that road. In "asserting" that this is an error, I have felt that, under the circumstances, it is incumbent on me to prove what I say on that subject.

It is broadly stated by many authorities that General Johnston intended Huger's division should attack the Federal left flank and rear, Huger's attack to be followed by D. H. Hill's division falling on the Federal front; and it is claimed by many that the slowness of Huger's division caused the failure of complete Confederate success the first day. In refutation of these statements and claims, I have felt constrained to give proofs, and not leave these questions to be decided by mere "assertion."

The position of the Confederate troops at dark, May 31st, has been erroneously stated by General Johnston, and in such particularity of detail as at the time to satisfy me that, in the main, he was correct. But the "Official Records," recently published, show beyond question that General Johnston is in error on this point. It has, therefore, been considered necessary in this article to give definite proof in regard to the position of the Confederate forces when the command of the army devolved upon me, by reason of General Johnston's being wounded. His statement of the reasons for my not having ordered the attack to be renewed the next morning (June 1st) calls for specific proof that I did order the attack to be renewed, and for a detailed exhibit of General Longstreet's battle-field notes to me on that day.

Without specifying further, at this time, in regard to the "misunderstanding," misapprehension, and other causes that have led to erroneous published accounts of important events in this battle, - to some extent on the Federal, but more on the Confederate, side, - it may be added that the recent publication of the "Official Records," when carefully studied, throws a great deal of light upon these events, the accounts of which have heretofore been nearly as dark and confusing as were the dense, tangled wood and swamps in which most of the close and desperate fighting took place. The Federal accounts, as now officially published, are full; they embrace the reports of nearly every regimental, brigade, division, and corps commander engaged; but many of the Confederate reports are missing, those in D. H. Hill's division being the only ones that are complete in regard even to brigade commanders. There are, however, enough others, when taken in connection with the full Federal reports, to give quite a clear understanding of the main facts on both sides.

The affair at Williamsburg, May 5th, was an incident in the withdrawal of the Confederate army from its fortified lines, near Yorktown, to the open country between the Pamunkey and the Chickahominy rivers, where General Johnston intended to halt, near the Richmond and York River Railroad, and contest the farther advance of General McClellan's army. From Williamsburg, Longstreet's and Hill's divisions, both under General Longstreet, moved on the Charles City road, which crosses the Chickahominy at Long Bridge; the division of G. W. Smith and Magruder's forces - commanded by him before Johnston's army arrived at the Yorktown lines - moved on the road that passes through Barhamsville and New Kent Court House and crosses the Chickahominy at Bottom's Bridge. All the Confederate troops on the latter road were under my command, and they were followed by the Federal army. Excepting occasional collisions between our rear-guard and the Federal advance-guard, nothing of special interest occurred after we left Barhamsville, near which place, below West Point, the Federals landed quite a large force, and seemed disposed to move out against us. General Johnston ordered nearly the whole of his army to Barhamsville, and came there in person. The next day, May 7th, the Federal skirmishers advanced, but their main force gave us no opportunity to cut them off from their gun-boats. At this point there was a good deal of sharp fighting for several hours. From this time the Confederates were more worried by the deep mud through which they were patiently trudging than they were by any movements of the Federals. In a letter to me from Palo Alto on the Charles City road, dated Headquarters, Second Corps, May 8th, General Longstreet says:

"If your road can beat this for mud, I don't want to see it," "If you see the General [Johnston], say to him that we are as happy as larks over here, till we get 126 wagons [the total number] up to the hub at one time." "I don't fear McClellan or any one in Yankeedom."

When my command had passed the Baltimore Cross-roads, four and a half miles west of New Kent Court House, and had reached position about half-way between the Pamunkey and Chickahominy rivers, on good ground, they were halted. Longstreet's corps was again within easy supporting distance of mine, and General Johnston intended in that vicinity to contest the further advance of McClellan's army. We remained there about five days. The troops, having rested from the tiresome service in the trenches near Yorktown, and the fatiguing march, were now furnished with abundant supplies from Richmond, and were elated at the prospect of meeting the enemy on an open field of battle.

General Johnston then supposed that something effective had been done by the Government for the local defense of Richmond, during the month that had elapsed since his army moved from there to the peninsula. On the 14th of May, he learned through his chief engineer, that little or nothing - either in the way of fortifications or of troops-had been provided; and that the enemy, on the James River were above City Point, and threatening Drewry's Bluff, as well as the obstruction in the Appomattox, four and a half miles below Petersburg. This report closed with the remark: " The danger is on the south side of James River."

On the same day General Johnston received intelligence of the destruction of the Confederate iron-clad "Virginia" - called by the Federals the "Merrimac".

The next day news was received of the attack on Drewry's Bluff, and of the confusion and fright in Richmond. In this state of affairs, General Johnston decided that it was expedient to cross the Chickahominy and take position nearer the city, rather than continue to wait, north of that stream, for the advance of McClellan from the Pamunkey. Accordingly, orders were issued that night for Longstreet's "corps" to cross the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, and for my command to cross at Bottom's Bridge. A regiment of riflemen was sent direct to aid in the defense of Drewry's Bluff. On the 17th, Longstreet's division was about five miles from Richmond, in the direction of the James River defenses; D. H. Hill's division, on Longstreet's left, guarded the Charles City road, and was about three miles from Richmond; G. W. Smith's division was on the Williamsburg road, and north of it, two or three miles from the city, with one brigade in observation at Bottom's Bridge; whilst Magruder's troops extended from Old Tavern, on the Nine-mile road, to New Bridge, thence along the crest of the Chickahominy Bluffs to the Mechanicsville road.

McClellan's army approached the Chickahominy slowly. On the 23d Keyes's corps crossed at Bottom's Bridge; on the 25th he reached the position known later as the "third line of defense," at which point, as well as at Bottom's Bridge, strong earth-works were constructed; on the 27th the leading division of Keyes's corps occupied and commenced to fortify a position across the Williamsburg road at Seven Pines. In the meantime Heintzelman's corps had crossed at Bottom's Bridge; one division remained near that place, and the other division was posted at White Oak Bridge. Three corps of McClellan's army were still on the north side of the Chickahominy, their left near the rail-road, their right, thrown back in a naturally strong position, on the left bank of Beaver Dam Creek, with an intrenched outpost at Mechanicsville. All the bridges and fords along the Chickahominy in their front were in possession of the Federals; and they were rapidly constructing new bridges.

In the meantime there had been no material change in the position of the Confederate forces. General Johnston was closely watching the movements of the Federals approaching on the Williamsburg road; but, in his opinion, the proper time to strike McClellan's left wing had not come. On the morning of the 27th our pickets were closely pressed just east of Old Tavern. This was some indication that the enemy were probably coming nearer in large force, and would soon be within our effective reach, on the Williamsburg or Nine-mile road, or on both. Our attention was, however, almost immediately diverted to McClellan's right flank, on the opposite side of the Chickahominy.

At 1 p. M. that day I received a note from General Johnston, stating he had just been informed that McDowell was advancing from Fredericksburg in force. This put a new phase on Confederate affairs around Richmond. It was well understood by us that McDowell had an army of about 40,000 men; McClellan's forces were known to be about 100,000, and we could not afford to wait until McDowell reached him.

General Johnston determined to attack the Federal right before McDowell could come up. I was ordered to move my division to the vicinity of Meadow Bridge, bring up A. P. Hill's division from the vicinity of Ashland, and make preparations, as soon as possible, to attack at Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam Creek. Longstreet's division was ordered to take position north and east of Richmond, and D. H. Hill's division was ordered to the ground vacated by mine on the Williamsburg road. Magruder's troops were not moved; but, at my request, I was relieved from longer commanding General Magruder, and he was ordered to report, in future, direct to General Johnston. At the same time D. R. Jones's division, two brigades, of Magruder's proper command, posted on our extreme left, remained temporarily under my control, for service in the proposed attack. Brigadier-General Whiting was regularly assigned, temporarily, to the command of my division.

About sunset, May 28th, I reported to General Johnston that A. P. Hill's division would be close in front of Mechanicsville, on the north side of the Chickahominy, before midnight, with orders to attack that place at dawn on the 29th. As soon as A. P. Hill's attack commenced, my division and D. R. Jones's division would cross the Meadow and Mechanicsville bridges, and the three divisions, constituting the new left wing of Johnston's army under my command, would make a prompt and combined attack on the right of the Federals, strongly posted at Beaver Dam Creek. I was satisfied that the three divisions could carry the works at that place by open assault, but it would be a bloody business - called for, however, by the necessity for prompt action before McDowell could join McClellan. I did not know, in any detail, what General Johnston intended to do with the rest of his forces during the contest I was ordered to initiate, but I was perfectly satisfied that he would use the whole strength of his army against McClellan, and, if possible, defeat him before McDowell could arrive.

On receiving my report General Johnston stated that his latest information showed McDowell's army had returned to Fredericksburg; and it was believed he was moving north from that place. In this state of affairs, there was no longer any necessity for crossing the Chickahominy, attacking the three Federal corps on the north side of that stream, and moving against the very strong position at Beaver Dam Creek; while there were but two Federal corps on our side, gradually coming within striking distance where the natural features of the ground were not against us. General Johnston ordered the contemplated attack on the Federal right to be suspended, and directed me to withdraw A. P. Hill's division, bring it to the south side of the Chickahominy, and place it on our extreme left.

General Longstreet, who was present, then proposed that an attack be made early next morning, the 29th, in the direction of Seven Pines. General Johnston said that it was not quite certain that McDowell had moved north the disposition made of our troops whilst it was supposed McDowell was coming was too strong on the left to admit of immediate and advantageous attack being made in the direction of Seven Pines; that Huger's division from Norfolk was expected to join us very soon; and that the enemy, east of us, had not yet approached near enough, in force worth crushing, to justify the engagement of the mass of our army in the swamps around Seven Pines, whilst the Federals were threatening the city on the north side. No orders were given to attack on the 29th, but it was distinctly understood that, in case McDowell did not promptly come on, General Johnston would revert to his former intention, and endeavor to strike a sudden and, if possible, crushing blow, in full force, against the Federals in the vicinity of Seven Pines, and destroy them before they could be reenforced either from the troops in their rear, now on our side of the Chickahominy, or by forces sent across from the opposite side. When I was assigned to the command of the left wing of the army, General Longstreet became the ranking officer on the right and was anxious to attack in that direction on the 29th. These matters are mentioned in General Johnston's letter of that date to General Whiting.

On the 30th my division, under Whiting, was drawn back to ground about midway between Meadow Bridge and Richmond; and A. P. Hill's division was brought nearer the bridges. The other commands were still in the positions to which they were assigned when it was first heard that McDowell was moving to join McClellan. In the meantime Huger's division had arrived and was encamped east of the city, north of the Williamsburg road, on Gilliss Creek.

About noon on the 30th General D. H. Hill reported to General Johnston that reconnoissances satisfied him that the enemy was not in force on the Charles City road, but was on the Williamsburg road and fortified about Seven Pines. General Johnston promptly determined to attack. His intention was that General Longstreet's division should move by the Nine-mile road, that of General D. H. Hill by the Williamsburg stage road, and General Huger's by the Charles City road. In his order for my division to move, a copy of which was sent by him direct to Whiting, General Johnston says:

"Please be ready to move by the Nine-mile road, coming as early as possible to the point at which the road to New Bridge turns off [at Old Tavern. Should there be cause of haste, General McLaws, on your approach, will be ordered to leave his ground for you, that he may reenforce General Longstreet."

In written instructions, May 30th, to Huger, General Johnston says:

"I wish to concentrate the troops of your division on the Charles City road. . .. Be ready, if an action should be begun on your left, to fall upon the enemy's left flank."

On May 31st General Johnston wrote to General Huger:

"I fear that in my note of last evening, of which there is no copy, I was too positive on the subject of your attacking the enemy's left flank. . .. It will be necessary for your progress to the front to conform at first to that of General Hill. If yon find no strong body in your front, it will be well to aid General Hill; but then a strong reserve should be retained to cover our right."

There seem to have been no written instructions given either to General Longstreet or to General D. H. Hill; but, in his official report, General Johnston says the divisions of G. W. Smith, Longstreet, D. H. Hill, and Huger were ordered to move at daybreak. At sunrise General Johnston confidently expected that Keyes's corps would be crushed, or routed, before 8 A. M. At that season daybreak was at about 4 A. M. Magruder's command and A. P. Hill's division were not moved.

In order to form a proper conception of Johnston's plan it will be well to glance at the position of the Federal forces on the morning of May 31st. One division of Keyes's corps was across the Williamsburg road, a little more than half a mile west of Seven Pines; the other division was across that road at Seven Pines. Both lines were strengthened by rifle-pits extending a short distance on each side of the road, with abatis or felled timber in front. In the first line there was a small, unfinished pent-angular redoubt; and the abatis of the second line extended in a curve to the rear, across the Nine-mile road. The left of the position was protected by the almost impracticable White Oak Swamp. But the ground on the right offered no strong features for defense, and was not fortified. About one thousand yards in front of the first line of rifle-pits, and nearly at right angles to the Williamsburg road, a skirmish-line extended from the White Oak Swamp to the Chickahominy River. Two regiments were detached to support the skirmish-line, - one near the railroad, the other farther to the right, on the Nine-mile road; whilst two regiments and a battery were detached and posted near Fair Oaks Station, to guard the depot of supplies at that place, where there were no artificial defenses. Keyes's lines were provided with ample artillery. On the morning of the 31st the two divisions were in camp just in rear of their earth-works; whilst strong working parties were engaged upon the unfinished trenches and other artificial defenses.

The "third line of defense," across the Williamsburg road, two miles in rear of the first line, was unoccupied. Heintzelman's corps was five miles in rear of Seven Pines; and Sumner's corps was three or four miles from Keyes, with the Chickahominy between them. The two other Federal corps on the north side of that stream were still farther off. In this part of its course the Chickahominy, at ordinary stages of water is a sluggish stream, from thirty to sixty feet in width, from three to four feet deep, with low, muddy banks. It is bordered by flat bottom-lands for some distance, to the foot of rather abrupt bluffs about one hundred feet high. In times of freshet it rises rapidly, extends over the bottom-lands in depth of two or three feet to the bluffs; and at this stage the stream becomes a very serious military obstacle.

The ground upon which Keyes's corps fought that day is level, or very slightly undulating, and most of it, except the small open spaces at the earth-works, was densely wooded and swampy. The soil in all that region, when wet, is very soft and spongy, making passage over it difficult even for infantry. In the dense woods the thick undergrowth is matted with tangled vines, and the luxuriant foliage, in the full bloom of spring, rendered it in many places impossible to distinguish objects ten paces distant. A violent rain-storm set in about 5 P. M. on the 30th, a few hours after General Johnston bad determined to attack next morning. The heavy rain continued all night, and the face of the country was literally flooded. At daylight on the 31st the Chickahominy was booming, passable only at the bridges, and continued to rise during the day, although it had ceased to rain.

General Keyes gives a still closer view of his condition at that time. On the morning of the 31st he reported to General McClellan's chief-of-staff:

"Everything on the part of the Confederates indicates an attack on my position, which is only tolerably strong, and my forces are too weak to defend it properly. Brigadier-General Sumner told me yesterday he should probably cross the Chickahominy last night. If he did so, and takes post nigh Old Tavern and this side, I should feel more secure than I do now. "

Sumner did not cross at the time referred to, and there is no other indication that he had orders or authority to do so. But General Keyes's report, made that morning, develops the fact that there was a dangerous gap between these two corps, and shows that there was a strong probability that it would soon be filled by Sumner's corps. In his "Fifty Years' Observations," General Keyes says:

"The left of my lines was all protected by the White Oak Swamp, but the right was on ground so favorable to the approach of the enemy, and so far from the Chickahominy, that if Johnston had attacked there an hour or two earlier than he did, I could have made but a feeble defense comparatively, and every man of us would have been killed, captured, or driven into the swamp or river before assistance could have reached us."

Isolated as Keyes's corps was, every effort should have been made to strongly fortify the ground it occupied. The defenses in front were weak and incomplete. The vulnerable and easily accessible right flank --the point at which attack ought to have been expected, because Confederate success at that place would have cut the Federal army in two, and would have exposed its left wing to destruction-ought to have been strongly fortified instead of being left entirely open. All this would have been practically illustrated if General Johnston's intentions had been carried into effect-that is, if Long-street's division in full force had struck Keyes's right flank near Fair Oaks, when D. H. Hill's division moved against Keyes's front. But, through a "misunderstanding," General Longstreet transferred his own division to the Williamsburg road, instead of moving to the attack by the Nine-mile road, and he caused that division to take precedence of Huger's division at the crossing of Gilliss Creek, which at daylight was a raging torrent. General Huger, in a report, says: "Longstreet's division got the road at the crossing first"; and adds that his own troops "had to wait until they [Longstreet's division] had passed. The delay after that was the time necessary to cross."

Captain B. Sloan, of Huger's staff, says in a letter dated August 17th, 1885:

"Longstreet's brigades as they successively reached the plain above the creek halted and remained for an hour or two resting on their arms. This plain (in front of General Huger's headquarters) was perhaps between three and four miles in rear of the battle-field. Here, at a farm-house, Huger met Longstreet and Hill, and a discussion was had as to the movements of the divisions, and as to the relative rank of the division commanders. Longstreet claimed (by instructions from General, Johnston) to be in command of that portion of the army. After protest Huger acquiesced."

It was "then possibly 10 A. M. or 11 A. M." After that time "Huger's movements were directed by Longstreet."

Governor William E. Cameron, who was then adjutant of the 12th Virginia,

of Mahone's brigade, Huger's division, says:

"Longstreet [three brigades] moved that morning from Fairfield race-course, and arrived at the crossing of the [Gilliss] creek in front of the command. We waited till Longstreet cleared the way - crossed the creek about 10 : 3 0 A M. -moved as far as the Tudor House rested there until 1 P. M." [Mahone's brigade then moved out on the Charles City road] "the men were fresh, eager, and in light marching-trim. The roads were bad, but there was no physical obstruction of any moment, and we met no enemy."

The following is from a letter by General R. I. Colston, commander of one of the three brigades of Longstreet's division that moved at 6: 30 A. M., from a point three and a half miles out on the Nine-mile road:

"A little brook [Gilliss Creek] near Richmond was greatly swollen, and a long time was wasted crossing it on an improvised bridge made of planks, a wagon mid-stream serving as a trestle. Over this the division passed in single file, you may imagine with what delay. If the division commander had given orders for the men to sling their cartridge-boxes, haversacks, etc., on their muskets and wade without breaking formation, they could have crossed by fours at least, with water up to their waists, . .. and hours would have been saved. . .. When we got across we received orders to halt on the roadside until Huger's division passed us. There we waited for five or six hours."

These movements of Longstreet's division are in very marked contrast with General Johnston's intention that this division should start at daylight, move on the Nine-mile road, and attack the enemy on D. H. Hill's left, as early as possible that morning.

At 6:30 A. M. General D. H. Hill wrote to General Rodes: "I am ordered to attack the enemy this morning. . .. Have your men ready to start at a moment's notice." Rodes's brigade was in observation, three and a half miles out, on the Charles City road, and had to cross an almost impracticable swamp in order to reach the position on the Williamsburg road from which Hill's division was to advance to the attack. General Rodes says that the order to move reached him between 10 aid 11 A. M., and adds:

"The progress of the brigade was considerably delayed by the washing away of a bridge near the head of White Oak Swamp. . .. At this point the character of the crossing was such that it was absolutely necessary to proceed with great caution, to prevent the loss of both ammunition and life."

When the signal for attack was given, only two regiments of Rodes's brigade had reached Hill's position on the Williamsburg road, about one thousand yards in front of the Federal picket-line. But the other regiments of this brigade came up soon after. At 1 o'clock the signal-guns were fired, and Hill's division at once moved forward.

The foregoing details in reference to the movements of these three divisions could not well be omitted, because General Johnston "asserts" that the divisions of Hill and Longstreet were in position early enough "to be ready to commence operations by 8 A. M.," and that General Longstreet "waited from hour to hour for General Huger's division." Having thus seen D H. Hill's division start out alone at 1 p. M. to attack the Federals, it will be well to glance at the preparations made to receive him.

Whilst Hill's troops were coming into position, their movements had been reported to General Silas Casey, who commanded the Federal first line of defense. He at once ordered one regiment to go forward about eight hundred yards on the Williamsburg road, and support the picket-line the working parties were called in, batteries harnessed up, and the troops formed, ready to take their assigned places. In a short time the Confederate signal-guns were heard, and the division was ordered into position to resist attack. The camps of these troops were immediately in rear of the earth-works. Palmer's brigade on the left, Wessells's in the center, and Naglee's on the right. Two regiments of Naglee's brigade were detached, supporting the picket-line, as already stated. About one-half of this division was placed in the rifle-pits on the right and left of the redoubt; the others were put in front, with orders to contest the advance of the Confederates against the first abatis, and Spratt's battery was placed four hundred yards in advance of the earth-works, on the north side of the road, closely supported by three regiments of Naglee's brigade and one of Palmer's.

In moving to attack, Rodes's brigade was on the south side of the road, supported by Rains; Garland's brigade, on the north side of the road, was supported by G. B. Anderson. All were in the dense and marshy woods, wading through water occasionally from two to three feet deep, the whole way obstructed by undergrowth, which often prevented commanders from seeing more than one company of their men at a time. General Hill had taken the precaution to order every man to wear in action a white strip of cloth around his hat as a battle-badge. Garland moved a few minutes before Rodes was ready. His skirmishers soon struck the Federal picket-line, and the shock of Garland's brigade fell upon the small regiment of raw troops that had been ordered into the woods to support the Federal pickets. That regiment fell back to the abatis just in time to prevent being enveloped and destroyed. And it was soon driven through the abatis in great disorder. It had lost about one-fourth its numbers in a few minutes, and was broken to pieces in crossing the abatis under close and deadly fire. This regiment could not again be rallied. General Keyes says that it "retreated, joined by a great many sick. The numbers, as they passed down the road as stragglers, conveyed an exaggerated idea of surprise and defeat."

The field-hospitals of the division were in the camps at the front; there was a large number of sick; some men of the working parties did not resume their arms and join their regiments; these, with the teamsters and army followers, suddenly finding themselves under the fire of a large Confederate force rapidly emerging from the dark woods, fled in wild disorder.

But Garland, who encountered Spratt's battery and its supports at the first abatis, says:

"We had now reached the edge of the wood where the abatis impeded our farther advance, and the troops were under heavy fire. . .. The regimental commanders, who had received my orders to move by the left flank, were unable to effect the movement in good order under the galling fire. The alternative was adopted to push the regiments forward through the abatis."

General Garland soon found that his brigade unaided could not accomplish the work in hand. His losses were very heavy. But he adds: "G. B. Anderson's brigade arrived upon the field just at the proper time."

The latter officer, having put in three regiment to aid Garland, moved to the left with the 27th Georgia and endeavored to turn the right of the Federals. He encountered one of Naglee's detached regiments and drove it back; but the other detached regiment of Naglee's brigade came on the ground, and one regiment sent by General Keyes came up. G. B. Anderson then withdrew from the advanced position he had gained, but continued the fighting on the ground where it had been commenced on this part of the field.

In the meantime the contest around the battery at the abatis was close and desperate. Rodes's brigade was hotly engaged on the south side of the road, and General Hill had ordered Carter's battery to the front. The Federals stubbornly held their ground, and Hill now detached General Rains to make a wide flank movement through the woods to the right in order to turn the left of Casey's earth-works. From the edge of the wood, south of the Williamsburg road, Rains's brigade commenced firing on the flank and rear of the troops posted in Casey's rifle-pits. General Hill says:

"I now noticed commotion in the camps and redoubt and indications of evacuating the position. Rodes took skillful advantage of this commotion, and moved up his brigade in beautiful order and took possession of the redoubt and rifle-pits."

Pending this contest for Casey's earth-works, General Keyes had sent two regiments from the second line direct to Casey's assistance, and a short time before those works were carried he sent General Couch, with two regiments, to attack the Confederate left, and thus relieve the pressure on Casey's front. Before Couch could get into position Casey's line was carried, and General Keyes made immediate preparations for the defense of the line at Seven Pines, held by Couch's division. Peck's brigade was on the left, Devens in the center, and the regiments of Abercrombie's brigade, that had not been detached, were on the right. Casey's troops, in falling back from their earthworks, endeavored to make a stand at the abatis in front of Couch's line, and General Keyes sent forward one regiment of Devens's brigade to assist in checking the advance of the Confederates. Casey's men were driven through the abatis, and the regiment of Devens's brigade was hurled back in disorder, and could not be rallied until they had retreated beyond the earthworks from which they had advanced. A large proportion of the men of Palmer's and Wessells's brigades having been thrown into great disorder whilst retiring through the second abatis, and finding the earth-works of the second line already crowded, continued to retreat; but some of them, with nearly the whole of Naglee's brigade, remained upon the field. The Confederates in the immediate front of Seven Pines were now pressing into the second abatis, and there seemed to be strong probability that they would soon break through it and carry the earth-works of Keyes's second line. Thus, after more than two hours' close and bloody fighting, Hill's division unaided had captured the Federal first line of defense, and was closely pressing upon their second line. Hill then sent to Longstreet for another brigade. In a few minutes "the magnificent brigade of R. H. Anderson" came to Hill's support. The latter says:

"A portion of this force, under Colonel Jenkins, consisting of the Palmetto Sharp-shooters and the 6th South Carolina, was sent on the extreme left to scour along the railroad and Nine-mile road, and thus get in rear of the enemy."

These two regiments were conducted by General (then Colonel) G. B. Anderson to the position in which he had left the 27th Georgia. The three regiments soon became engaged with the two regiments under General Couch, previously referred to. The latter says:

"I advanced with Neill's and Rippey's regiments through a close wood, moving by the flank. .. We at once came upon a large column of the enemy in reserve, but apparently moving toward Fair Oaks. . .. Immediately engaged. . .. Here Colonel Rippey and all his field-officers fell, and in twenty minutes the enemy had passed over the [Nine-mile] road leading to my center, cutting off the advance at Fair Oaks."

In reference to this affair General Keyes says:

"Both regiments were badly cut up . .. Casualties in Rippey's amount to 263, and are heavier than in any other regiment in Couch's division."

He adds that, after Couch was thrown back, Neill's regiment "took part" in the hard fighting which closed the day near the Seven Pines," but Rippey's regiment "withdrew in detachments, some of which came again into action near my headquarters."

So far, the fighting done by the Federal troops for the safety of their second line of defense was not so effective as the resistance made by Casey's division at the first line. After the three Confederate regiments had fought their way across the Nine-mile road, not far south of Fair Oaks Station, they changed direction and moved toward Seven Pines. Leaving them for the present, attention will be called to the state of affairs in the vicinity of the redoubt in Casey's captured line.

When General Hill ordered the two South Carolina regiments to join the 27th Georgia and "scour along the railroad and Nine-mile road, and thus get in rear of the enemy," he directed General R. H. Anderson, with the other portion of his brigade, to attack the Federals in a wood north, and within cannon-range of the redoubt. This wood was then occupied by two regiments and some companies of Naglee's brigade that had been, previous to the commencement of the action, supporting the picket-line. In reference to the fighting at this point, General Naglee says in his official report:

"The Confederates opened a most destructive cross-fire upon them from the pieces near the redoubt that had not been spiked, and this, with the [musketry] fire from their immediate front, was no longer to be endured, and they [his men] were withdrawn and marched down the Nine-mile road and placed in position in rear of this road, about three hundred yards from the Seven Pines."

Whilst these operations were in progress on Hill's left, the state of affairs at the second abatis, just in front of Seven Pines and in the woods south and east of the redoubt had materially changed against the Confederates, who were first checked at the second abatis, and on the right were forced back to the redoubt. Previous to this the brigades of Rodes, Garland, and G. B. Anderson were engaged at the second abatis, and General Hill, having "resolved to drive" the Federals out of the woods on the south of the road, where they now appeared in strong force, ordered General Rains, who was near them, "to move farther to the right," and adds:

"I regret that that gallant and meritorious officer did not advance farther in that direction. He would have taken the Yankees in flank, and the direct attack of Rodes in front would have been less bloody. The magnificent brigade of Rodes moved over the open ground to assault the Yankees, strongly posted in the woods. He met a most galling fire, and his advance was checked. A portion of his command met with a disastrous repulse. Kemper's brigade was now sent me by General Longstreet, and directed by me to move directly to the support of Rodes. This brigade, however, did not engage the Yankees, and Rodes's men were badly cut up."

General Rodes was severely wounded, but did not turn over the command of his brigade to the senior colonel, John B. Gordon, until the firing had ceased. The latter says:

"Notified that I was placed in command, I reported to Major-General Hill for orders. Under his direction I moved the brigade about half a mile to the rear, and ordered them to encamp on either side of the Williamsburg road."

General G. B. Anderson says: "After night we were ordered by the major-general commanding the division to take position in the woods, in rear of the clearing "- that is, in the edge of the wood on the Richmond side of Casey's line. General Garland says that his brigade bivouacked that night with G. B. Anderson's. General Rains says that his brigade "ultimately passed the night in line of battle, without fire or light, in another part of the woods, ready to receive and check the enemy, should he advance." He makes no mention of any fighting done by his brigade after Casey's camp was captured.

Attention will now be called to the Federal movements that caused the right of D. H. Hill's division to fall back from the second abatis.

At 12 M. Berry's brigade of Kearny's division, from Bottom's Bridge, arrived at the third line of defense; and about the same time Birney's brigade, of the same division, reached the same line, but was near the railroad. At 3 P. M. the latter brigade was ordered to move along the railroad and support Keyes's right; but, owing to subsequent conflicting orders, it did not go into action that day. About 3:30 P. M. Berry's brigade, now at the third line of defense, was ordered to Seven Pines to support Keyes; and, at the same time, General Kearny "sent written orders for Jameson's brigade, camped at the tet-de-pont, near Bottom's Bridge (three miles in rear), to come up without delay." It was about 4 P. M. when the advance of Berry's brigade reached Seven Pines. At that time one regiment of Devens's brigade had just been routed in the second abatis. General Kearny says: "On arriving at the field of battle, we found certain zigzag rifle-pits sheltering crowds of men, and the enemy firing from abatis and timber in their front." Berry's brigade was moved forward in the woods on the south side of the Williams-burg road. That officer says: "We steadily drove the enemy so far that I had serious fears of being flanked by the enemy, as they were driving our troops down the [Nine-mile] road." He evidently refers to the effect being produced by the advance of the three regiments under Colonel Jenkins. General Berry adds:

"We were at this time in the woods extending from the edge of the slashings up the woods and on the left [south] of the camping-ground of General Casey's division, completely commanding his old camp and the earth- works with our rifles."

In the meantime the head of Jameson's brigade had reached the field. Two regiments were sent in advance of Seven Pines, in the abatis and woods on the south side of the road, supporting Berry's brigade; one regiment was posted in the earth-works of the second line, and the other regiment of Jameson's brigade had not yet come up.

General Kearny says:

"It was perhaps near 6 o'clock, when our center and right [the forces in the earth-works at Seven Pines, and those that had been sent to resist the Confederates advancing in rear of the Nine-mile road], defended by troops of the other divisions, with all their willingness, could no longer resist the enemy's right central flank attacks, pushed on with determined discipline and with the impulsion of numerous concentrated masses. Once broken, our troops fled incontinently, and a dense body of the enemy, pursuing rapidly, yet in order, occupied the Williamsburg road, . .. and, penetrating deep into the woods on either side, soon interposed between my division and my line of He says that lie "checked the enemy in his intent of cutting us off against the White Oak Swamp. This enabled the advanced regiments

Swamp. This enabled the advanced regiments . .. to retire by a remaining wood path, known to our scouts (the Saw-mill road), until they once more arrived at and remanned the impregnable position [the third line of defense]."

Besides Kearny's troops on the south side of the Williamsburg road, a large portion of those in the earth-works at Seven Pines retreated by the Sawmill road; but some of the regiments from the earth-works, and others that had been contesting Colonel Jenkins's advance along the Nine-mile road, fell back on the Williamsburg road. The latter were re-formed, and again contested Colonel Jenkins's advance. It does not appear that any of D. H. Hill's division, except the regiment that was with Colonel Jenkins, succeeded in getting beyond the second abatis; but it is very certain that the effective fire, across that abatis, from Hill's musketry and artillery, materially aided Colonel Jenkins in "bursting across the Williamsburg road."

Having given the Federal account of the manner in which the two South Carolina regiments and the 27th Georgia forced their way to and crossed the Nine-mile road a little south of Fair Oaks, it is now proposed to give extracts from Colonel Jenkins's report, showing the advance of these three regiments to and across the Williamsburg road, and then along the latter road to a point within about one mile of the Federal third line of defense. Colonel Jenkins says:

"I advanced my regiment through the abatis under a very heavy fire. . .. I instructed Colonel Bratton [6th South Carolina] to keep his left touching my right; and the enemy's line, after a stubborn resistance, having given way to our attack, . .. I executed, under fire from the right front, a change of front obliquely forward. . .. We drove the enemy to the front and right, passing over their second camp. : .. The enemy, heavily reenforced, made a desperate stand, and our fighting was within seventy-five yards. . .. Our advance continued, . .. the enemy steadily giving back, . .. I halted the lines, dressed them, and then changed front obliquely forward. . .. Our steady advance was not to be resisted.

The enemy gave back to our left and right across the Williamsburg road, about a mile or more from General Casey's headquarters. Following the latter and heavier body, they were again reenforced and took position in a wood parallel [to] and about three hundred yards on the right [south] of the Williamsburg road."

In describing his progress thus far, Colonel Jenkins speaks repeated]y of the obstinate resistance he met with, the terrible slaughter of the enemy, and his own severe losses. Bearing in mind the movement of Kearny's troops in the meanwhile against D. H. Hill's right, and the effect of Kearny's fire on Rodes's brigade, the Federals have good cause to regret the conflicting orders that prevented Birney's brigade, on the railroad, from closely supporting Keyes's right. It should be also borne in mind that, whilst Colonel Jenkins was fighting his way to the Williamsburg road, there were four Federal regiments and a battery at Fair Oaks that had not been in action that day. Two of these regiments were the regular guards of the depot of supplies, and the other two had been ordered from Seven Pines to support Couch, but, missing their way, reached Fair Oaks just before the two regiments under Couch were cut up. It was very fortunate for the Confederates that Birney's brigade and the force at Fair Oaks Station were not thrown against the rear of Colonel Jenkins's three regiments, that were so gallantly fighting, and were so determinedly resisted in their brilliant movement to the Williamsburg road, in rear of the Federal second line of defense, and far in rear of Kearny's successful advance.

Resuming Colonel Jenkins's account, it appears that five companies of his regiment pushed after that portion of the Federals which fell back along the Williamsburg road. With the rest of his force Colonel Jenkins was preparing to move against the enemy in the woods south of that road, when it was reported to him that a heavy column of Federals was advancing upon the five companies. Learning just then that the 5th South Carolina was not far to the rear, Colonel Jenkins sent for it to come up as soon as possible; ordered the commander of the five companies to advance upon the approaching Federal column, and determined to break the enemy south of the road before the column advancing on the road could reach him. He says:

"Having to pass across an open field on this advance, I lost heavily, but succeeded in routing and dispersing the enemy in my front, driving them at least a quarter of a mile; then, gathering my men promptly, . .. I moved by the flank . .. and took up line of battle oblique to the [Williamsburg] road and to the left, so as to present front at once to the enemy's advance by the road and to any rallied party that might recover from my last attack. .. We had evidence of the near approach of the enemy by hearing their words of command and their cheers. .. I advanced my line toward them. .. The enemy poured in a heavy fire. .. The supporting regiment [27th Georgia], under a terrible fire, gave back. .. The enemy, encouraged, redoubled his fire . .. and advanced, and I determined to meet him. In prompt obedience, the two regiments . .. resumed their old, steady advance, firing full in the face of the foe. The two lines neared each other to 30 or 40 yards. . .. Losing heavily I pressed on, and the enemy sullenly and slowly gave way. . .. We had advanced some 200 or 300 yards. .. By this time . .. the 5th South Carolina-- came up at a double-quick. . .. The 27th Georgia . .. rallied and came forward. .. Jackson [5th South Carolina] came up on their right, sweeping before him the rallied fragments, who had collected and resumed fire from the woods to the right, and thus, at 7:40 P. M., we closed our busy day.

Out of thirteen brigades composing the right wing of the Confederate army, but five were put in close action that day. General Pickett says:

"On the afternoon of May 31st, and just as the battle of Seven Pines was being opened by General Long-street, I was directed by that officer to move with my brigade to the York River Railroad, cover the same, [and] repel any advance of the enemy up that road."

General Longstreet held Pickett's brigade back in that position until daybreak, June 1st. From this it would seem that Longstreet was not in need of help on that side from troops not under his command. Attention will now be called to the five brigades under Longstreet's control on the Charles City road.

General Wilcox, in his official report, says that the three brigades under his command were in camp near the "Mechanicsville" road. He tells me, however, that he had no map of the country, knew very little about the names of the roads, but distinctly remembers that the road his troops were on passed close to General Johnston's headquarters near the north-east suburb of Richmond and led to New Bridge, - that is, the Nine-mile road. Whatever may have been the name of the road on which his troops were in camp, he says they were three and a half miles from the city, and moved, at 6:30 A. M., "by by-paths across to the junction of the Charles City and Williamsburg roads, and remained at this point till 3 : 30 P. M. I was then ordered to move with three brigades -my own, Colston's, and Pryor's - on the Charles City road, in rear of a part of Huger's division (Blanchard's and Armistead's brigades), as a support to these troops."

The Charles City road is south of the White Oak Swamp; it bears rapidly away from the point where the battle had been raging for more than two hours; and there was no enemy on that road. General Wilcox adds:

"This order was soon modified, and my three brigades ordered to precede Huger's two. Having passed Huger's brigades, the march was continued but for a short time, when orders were again received, and this time to countermarch to the Williamsburg road and follow on in rear of the troops then advancing. The brigades had retraced their steps near one mile, and orders were again given to face about and march down the Charles City road. .. Again orders were received in writing to move across to the Williamsburg road, following country roads and paths through woods and fields . .. in many places covered with water, and at one point waist-deep. .. It was about 5 P. M. when the head of the column reached the Williamsburg road."

The plain words of General Wilcox, written at the time and addressed to his immediate commander, are more significant of the real truth than any skillfully formed sentences, framed now, could possibly be. With Wilcox's report before him, General Longstreet says:

"I was obliged to send three of my small brigades on the Charles City road to support the one of Major-General Huger's which had been ordered to protect my right flank."

Three brigades of Huger's division were then on that road.

In order to form a proper conception of the folly exhibited by the marching and countermarching of five Confederate brigades up and down the Charles City road between 3 and 5 P. M., it is necessary to glance at the movements then being made by the Federals from the north side of the Chickahominy. At 1 p. M., when the firing of Hill's attack was first heard, General McClellan ordered General Sumner to form the two divisions of his corps, and be ready to move across the Chickahominy, at a moment's notice, to aid Keyes. Sumner at once put his two divisions under arms, marched them to their respective bridges, and, with the heads of the columns on the bridges, awaited further orders. General Sumner says: "At 2:30 o'clock p. M. I received the order to cross the river." And he adds: "The columns immediately moved over the river and marched rapidly to the field of battle by two roads." It is not proposed, just now, to describe the earnest haste with which Sumner's troops pressed forward, through the deep mud, to the assistance of their friends. The head of Sumner's leading column reached the immediate vicinity of Fair Oaks before the head of the column of five brigades of Long-street's command, from the Charles City road, reached the Williamsburg road, far in rear of the fighting.

The leading brigade of Wilcox's command arrived at Casey's captured redoubt a little before the firing of Kearny's rear-guard in the wood, south of the Williamsburg road, ceased. Three companies of the leading regiment of Wilcox's troops were sent to dislodge a party of the enemy - Kearny's detached rear-guard - whose fire was still annoying the Confederates in the open between Casey's earth-works and the second abatis. In this contest these three companies lost 66 men in a few minutes. The five brigades with Wilcox went into bivouac between the first and the second abatis. Hill's division was afterward withdrawn and bivouacked in the woods west of Casey's redoubt and rifle-pits.

In his "Narrative," p. 132, General Johnston says

"An hour or two later [than noon, May 30th] orders were given for the concentration of 23 of our 27 brigades against McClellan's left wing."

The result of that alleged "concentration" has been described. McClellan's left wing was attacked by five brigades; and General Johnston, who was wounded on another part of the field about sunset flat day, says, in his official report:

"The skill, vigor, and decision with which these operations were conducted by General Longstreet are worthy of the highest praise."

Without discussing here General Johnston's opinion in regard to the manner in which General Longstreet conducted the operations of the three divisions on the right, reference will now be made to the movements of the division on the Nine-mile road, directed by General Johnston in person.

In addition to the action already described, there was a sharp contest north of Fair Oaks Station late in the afternoon, May 31st, between reenforcements, under General Sumner, sent from the north side of the Chickahominy to aid Keyes at Seven Pines, and my division, under General Whiting. It will be borne in mind that when three Confederate regiments, under Colonel Jenkins, crossed the Nine-mile road just south of Fair Oaks, a little after 4 P. M., four regiments and a battery of Couch's division were cut off from the Federals in the four regiments and a battery of Couch's division were cut off from the Federals opposed to D. H. Hill. Immediately after being thus cut off, General Couch communicated with Birney's brigade on the railroad, a mile or more east of Fair Oaks, and endeavored to make arrangements by which the cut off forces could rejoin Keyes. Just then it was reported to General Couch that a large Confederate force on the Nine-mile road was rapidly advancing on Fair Oaks, and the four regiments and battery retreated in the direction of Sumner's bridges. On reaching a point about one thousand yards north of Fair Oaks, General Couch was informed that the leading troops of Sumner's corps were closely approaching. Conch halted his forces, formed line of battle, facing nearly south, placed two guns on each side of the road, and prepared to defend the position until Sumner's troops could come up.

It is now proposed to give in some detail an account of the movements that day of my division under Whiting which prevented Sumner's forces from reaching Keyes at Seven Pines, and incidentally deprived Keyes and Heintzelman of the services of two brigades and a battery of their own troops.

In my official report (as originally submitted to General Johnston), it is stated that

"on arriving at the headquarters of General Johnston about Sunrise [May 31st], I learned from him that his intention was that General Longstreet's division should move by the Nine-mile road, that of General D. H. Hill by the Williamsburg road, and General Huger's by the Charles City road. The enemy, it was understood, had already upon this side of the Chickahominy a force variously estimated at from 20,000 to 40,000 men. The recent rains had materially increased the difficulty of crossing that stream, and, notwithstanding the very bad condition of the roads over which we had to pass, and the boggy, swampy condition of the fields and woods through which our troops would have to operate, it was believed that an energetic attack early in the morning, properly supported and followed up, would result in defeat to that portion of the enemy already upon this side before the other portion of their army could cross the swollen river either to reenforce their troops or to attack the city in our rear. .. General J intentions, as then explained to me, were, that whilst General D. H. Hill's division was attacking the enemy's advanced position on the Williamsburg stage road in front, . .. General Longstreet's division would engage the enemy on Hill's left."

About 6 A. M. the head of the division under Whiting reached the vicinity of General Johnston's headquarters. There its way, to a point on the Nine-mile road near the suburb, was blocked by troops of Longstreet's division. General Whiting wrote to General Johnston asking that the route should be cleared. In reply, a staff-officer wrote: "General Johnston directs me to say, in answer to yours of this date, that Longstreet will precede you." This quieted Whiting for a time, but, as the delay continued, lie became impatient, and having heard that I was at General Johnston's headquarters, he came there to see if I could not have his line of march cleared of Longstreet's troops. About 8 A. M. I sent my aide-de-camp, Captain Beckham, to

see General Longstreet in regard to this matter. Captain Beckham asked me where General Longstreet was to be found. I referred him to Genera Johnston who, with several others, was present. General Johnston said General Longstreet's division was on the Nine-mile road and he was probably with it; but, if not, he might be found on the Williamsburg road with that part of his command.

I now quote again from the suppressed portion of my official report:

"In about an hour I learned by note from Captain Beckham that neither General Long-street nor any portion of his command was on the Nine-mile road. This note was immediately shown to General Johnston, who dispatched his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Washington, to General Longstreet with directions to turn his division into the Nine-mile road, provided it could be done without material loss of time. This message did not reach General Longstreet.

It was about 9 A. M. when I handed Captain Beckham's note to General Johnston, who was amazed at the information and for a time strongly inclined to discredit it, thinking that my aide had not gone far enough on the Nine-mile road to come up with Longstreet's troops. Johnston then sent one of his own aides, Lieutenant J. B. Washington, to Longstreet, with orders for the latter "to send three brigades by the Nine-mile road." Washington rode at full speed along the Nine-mile road, and soon found himself within the Federal picket-line-captured. As I first wrote in my report:

"An hour later Captain Beckham reported that he had found Longstreet's division on the Williamsburg road, halted, for the purpose of allowing General D. H. Hill's troops to file by."

In a letter to me dated February 7th, 1863, Captain Peckham says it was about 10 A. M. when he reached General Longstreet. He adds:

"Kempers brigade, which formed a part of General Longstreet's division, was at a halt when I got to General Longstreet's headquarters, and, what surprised me most, was accompanied by wagons loaded with baggage and camp-equipage."

During these delays the firing of cannon across the Chickahominy, and reports from our troops guarding the river between New Bridge and Mechanicsville, indicated threatening movements of the Federals on that side. About 11 A. M. General Johnston directed me to take Hampton's and Hatton's brigades, proceed to the Chickahominy bluffs, and assume command of all the forces on that side, in case the Federals made any attempt to cross the river. At the same time, the other three brigades, after about five hours' delay near the suburbs of the city, accompanied by General Johnston, proceeded on the Nine-mile road, and halted near the point at which the road to New Bridge turns off. Finding nothing that required my presence on the banks of the river, I placed Hampton's and Hatton's brigades in position from which they could promptly resist the passage of the river at New Bridge or above, and could support the other three brigades when needed, and then joined Generals Johnston and Whiting, near Old Tavern. About 2:30 P. M., nothing having been heard from General Longstreet since my aide returned from the Williamsburg road, the chief of my staff, Major Whiting, requested to be

allowed to go over to that road and find out the state {) f affairs there. I tendered his services in this matter to General Johnston.

In my official report it is stated:

"Between 4 and 5 o'clock a note was received [by General Johnston] from General Longstreet, stating that he had attacked and beaten the enemy after several severe fighting; that he had been disappointed in not receiving assistance upon his left; and, although it was now nearly too late, that an attack, by the Nine-mile road, upon the right flank and rear of the enemy would probably enable him to drive them into the Chickahominy before night."

All of the foregoing quotations from my report were omitted from the copy that was put on file, in compliance with General Johnston's request, contained in his letter to me, June 25th, 1862, in which he said:

"I inclose herewith the three first sheets of your report, to ask a modification - or omission, rather. They contain two subjects which I never intended to make generally known, and which I have mentioned to no one but yourself, and mentioned to you as I have been in the habit of doing everything of interest in the military way. I refer to the mention of the misunderstanding between Longstreet and myself in regard to the direction of his division, and that of his note to me received about 4 o'clock, complaining of my slowness, which note. I showed you. As it seems to me that both of these matters concern Longstreet and myself alone, I have no hesitation in asking you to strike them out of your report, as they in no manner concern your operations. I received information of L.' s misunderstanding (which may be my fault, as I told you at the time) while his troops were moving to the Williamsburg road, and sent to L. to send three brigades by the Nine-miles road, if they had not marched so far as to make the change involve a serious loss of time this, after telling you of the misunderstanding. Your march from General Semmes's headquarters [he means the advance made by the division under Whiting, from the point where it was halted, near Old Tavern. G. W. S.] was not in consequence of the letter from L. Whiting [Major] had gone at my request, with your permission, to ascertain the state of things with Longstreet. Just before 4 o'clock we heard musketry for the first time, and Whiting [General] was ordered to advance. Just then Major W. rode up and reported from L., and a moment after the note was brought me

which, after reading it, I showed to you".

In his official report General Johnston says that General Longstreet received verbal instructions, and that the division of General Longstreet was to support the attack made by D. H. Hill's division. General Longstreet, in his official report, makes no mention of the preliminary movements of his own division, except that he was obliged to send three of his small brigades on the Charles City road to support the brigade of Huger's division, which had been ordered to protect his (Longstreet's) right flank. Indefinite as these reports are in reference to the direction in which Longstreet's division was to move, it may, on the preceding evidence, be now considered established that General Johnston intended Longstreet's division should move into action on the Nine-mile road, and support Hill by attacking Keyes's right flank. It is noticeable that General Johnston, in his official report, makes no mention of the information he received in regard to the transfer of Longstreet's division to the Williamsburg road, or of the attempt made to have at least three brigades sent back to the Nine-mile road. No allusion is made, in either of their official reports, to the note from Longstreet, received by Johnston about 4 P. M.

The anxiety felt by those near Old Tavern was extreme in the hours of suspense previous to 4 P. M., during which all were expecting to hear that the fighting on the Williamsburg road had commenced. In my official report it is stated that "as the day wore on and nothing decisive was heard from General Longstreet's attack, except occasional firing of cannon, and, for some two or three hours, but little musketry, it seemed that no real attack was likely to be made that day." Previous to 4 P. M. it was believed by all on the Nine-mile road that no attack had yet been made; the division on that road could not be advanced beyond McLaws's picket-line without bringing on the battle which General Johnston intended should be initiated by the divisions of Hill and Longstreet. The division under Whiting was there for the purpose of holding in check reenforcements from the north side of the river that would surely be sent to Keyes as soon as he was attacked in force; and Whiting was only to reenforce Longstreet "should there be cause of haste." The information finally received not only warned General Johnston that the battle had been raging for several hours, but the character of Longstreet's note conveyed the distinct impression that the delay from S A. M. to the afternoon had enabled the Federals to reenforce Keyes to such an extent that Longstreet had met with more opposition than the whole of his command could well overcome. In this state of affairs General Johnston ordered the division under Whiting to move forward as rapidly as possible, and himself urged and led the division against "the right flank of Longstreet's adversaries" without further regard to reenforcements from the north side of the Chickahominy. This advance was so rapid that no artillery was carried forward, on account of the almost impracticable condition of the ground. Very soon after this movement commenced, General Johnston directed Hood's brigade to bear strongly to the right, and go direct to the assistance of Longstreet, who was supposed to be in front of the enemy, near Seven Pines But it has already been seen that Colonel Jenkins's command had then burst across the Nine-mile road a little south of Fair Oaks, and was "scouring" the rear of that road; and that 8 of the 13 brigades under Longstreet's control had not been put in action. Nothing of this, however, was then known to General Johnston. When the head of the column on the Nine-mile road, in the hurried movement to aid Longstreet, reached the vicinity of Fair Oaks Station, General Johnston censured General Whiting for hesitating to cross the railroad before disposing of a Federal force, north of that station, in position to threaten the left flank and rear of Whiting's command in case he moved farther. I was not present, but the following extracts from a letter to me, written in 1868 by Colonel B. W. Frobel, of the Confederate States Engineer Corps, gives an account of what occurred on that occasion. Colonel Frobel was then a major on General Whiting's staff. He says:

"Generals Johnston and Whiting were following immediately after Whiting's brigade. As Whiting's brigade reached the road near the railroad crossing, I was sent to halt it. On returning after doing this, I joined Generals Whiting and Johnston, who were riding toward the crossing. General Whiting was expostulating with General Johnston about taking the division across the railroad - insisting that the enemy were in force on our left flank and rear. General Johnston replied: Oh! General Whiting, you are too cautious.' At this time we reached the crossing, and nearly at the same moment the enemy opened an artillery fire from the direction pointed out by General Whiting. We moved back up the road near the small white house. Whiting's brigade [a portion of it] was gone; it had been ordered forward to charge the batteries [two separated sections of one battery] which were firing on us. The brigade was repulsed, and in a few minutes came streaming back through the little skirt of woods to the left of the Nine-mile road near the crossing. There was only a part of the brigade in this charge. Pender [commanding regiment] soon rallied and re-formed those on the edge of the woods. General Whiting sent an order to him to reconnoiter the batteries, and if he thought they could be taken, to try it again. Before he could do so some one galloped up, shouting, 'Charge that battery!' The men moved forward at a double-quick, but were repulsed as before, and driven back to the woods."

Of the Federal resistance to this attack, General E. V. Sumner, in his official report, says:

"On arriving on the field, I found General Couch with four regiments and two companies of infantry and Brady's battery. These troops were drawn up in line near Adams's house, and there was a pause in the battle."

General Sedgwick, commander of Sumner's leading division, says: "Upon debouching into the open field near Adams's house, we found Abercrombie's brigade of Couch's division sustaining a severe attack and hard pushed by the enemy."

Kirby's six Napoleon guns were promptly placed in position facing south. The infantry of Sedgwick's division was put on the right and left, in Couch's defensive line. The Federal accounts show that repeated attempts were made by the Confederates to carry the position, but without success; that the contest continued until dark, at which time Kirby's battery faced west, without having otherwise changed position, and the infantry on the left of the battery was also facing west, with its left very near the railroad, a little east of Fair Oaks Station. On the immediate right of Kirby's battery the line of infantry still faced nearly south. There was no change in this part of the Federal lines; but on the extreme right the line was facing almost west, and had not been closely engaged.

In the meantime, before the action north of Fair Oaks commenced, when the head of Pettigrew's brigade reached the point in the large wood about three-fourths of a mile from the railroad crossing, I halted for the purpose of giving instructions to General Wade Hampton, whose brigade had reached the rear of Pettigrew's. Generals Johnston and Whiting had gone on with the two leading brigades, and I did not again see either of them until after dark. I directed General Hampton to lead his brigade to the left, on the wood road, a little more than a brigade length, and then resume his march in a direction parallel to the Nine-mile road which would bring Hampton into line of battle on Pettigrew's left, in the attack General Johnston proposed to make. I remained at that point until Hampton's brigade had filed out of the Nine-mile road; then gave directions to Hatton's brigade to continue moving on the Nine-mile road, which would bring it into position as a reserve to the line of battle formed by the brigades of Whiting, Pettigrew, and Hampton. In the meantime the action had commenced near Fair Oaks. On reaching the eastern edge of the wood I saw the leading troops moving north from Fair Oaks in direction almost exactly opposite to that in which I had given General Hampton to understand that General Johnston's movement would be made. In a short time I saw our leading troops retiring. This was the second repulse spoken of by Colonel Frobel. I notified General Whiting of Hampton's position, and soon learned from him that the previous attacks had been conducted without proper knowledge of the enemy's position but that a reconnoissance had been made, aid a combined attack 1 y the three brigades would capture the battery in a few minutes. Before this attack was arranged, Kirby's battery of six pieces and the first brigade of Sedgwick's division reached Couch's line and the attack was repulsed. By this time Hatton's brigade had come up and was in the open field, close to the north side of the Nine-mile road. One regiment of Pettigrew's brigade, in reserve, was in the same field about two hundred yards north of the road. Soon after the repulse of the three brigades, the firing on the Federal side greatly increased. General Johnston, who was at the small grove north of Fair Oaks, sent word to me to have all the avail able troops brought up quickly. The only troops within reach, not already up, were a brigade and a half of Magruder's command stationed along the New Bridge road. I sent General Johnston's order direct to these brigade commanders; and seeing that Whiting's brigade was pressed back on the right, and learning that Hampton and Pettigrew were suffering great losses in the small wood, 600 or 500 yards north of Fair Oaks, it seemed to me that the Federal reenforcements from the north side of the river were likely to break through the division and reach Longstreet's left flank and rear. I therefore ordered Hatton's brigade and Pettigrew's reserve regiment to move into the woods and aid the troops closely engaged there. Believing that Whiting had, on the right, as much as he could well attend to, I went with Hatton's brigade to the extreme front line of Hampton and Pettigrew in the woods, and soon learned that General Pettigrew had been wounded, it was supposed mortally, and was a prisoner. General Hatton was killed at my side just as his brigade reached the front line of battle; and in a very few minutes General Hampton was severely wounded. In this state of affairs, I sent word to General Whiting that I would take executive control in that wood, which would relieve him, for the time, of care for the left of the division, and enable him to give his undivided attention to the right.

In the wood the opposing lines were close to each other, in some places not more than twenty-five or thirty yards apart. The contest continued until dark without material variation in the position of either line on that part of the field after I reached the extreme front, until the firing had ceased at dark, when I ordered the line to fall back to the edge of the field and re-form. In the meantime Whiting's brigade and the right of Pettigrew's had been forced back to the clump of trees just north of Fair Oaks Station, where the contest was kept up until night.

On reaching the open field in rear of the line where Hampton's and Hatton's brigades had been engaged, I heard for the first time that General Johnston had been very seriously wounded and taken from the field an hour or more before. I was second in rank in his army, therefore the command, for the time being devolved upon me.

In further illustration of views held at that time on the Confederate side in regard to the events of the first day at Seven Pines, the following extracts from a letter dated June 7th, 1862, from Longstreet to Johnston, are not irrelevant, however erroneous the opinions he expresses may be. He says:

"The failure of complete success on Saturday [May 31st] I attribute to the slow movements of General Huger's command. This threw perhaps the hardest part of the battle upon my own poor division. .. Our ammunition was nearly exhausted when Whiting moved, and I could not, therefore, move on with the rush that we could had his movement been earlier. .. I can't but help think that a display of his forces on the left flank of the enemy by General Huger would have completed the affair and given Whiting as easy and pretty a game as was ever had upon a battle-field."

It is not deemed necessary to make any comments on this letter. The facts already stated and proved are sufficient.

General Johnston says [see p. 214]:

"It was near half-past 6 o'clock before I admitted to myself that Smith was engaged, not with a brigade, as I had obstinately thought, but with more than a division."

It may not be amiss to mention here that Colonel Frobel, in the letter to me above referred to, says:

"General. H. C. Whiting was at that time commanding your division, you being in command of the left wing of the army. . .. Whiting was directly under General Johnston, who was with the division the whole day until he was wounded, late in the afternoon."

Without dwelling now upon the persistency with which General Johnston insists that I was then in command of the division which bore my name, it may be stated here that General Whiting was clearly of opinion then and ever after, that but for General Johnston's determination to press on across the railroad to Longstreet's assistance, Couch would have been beaten and his battery captured before Sumner's leading troops reached the field.

Before describing what occurred on the second day, allusion will be made to some of the erroneous views which have been widely promulgated in regard to these operations. General Johnston, in his official report, says: "Major-General G. W. Smith succeeded to the command. He was prevented from renewing his attack on the enemy's position next morning by the discovery of strong intrenchments not seen on the previous evening." On page 141 of his published "Narrative," he says: "Sumner's corps at Fair Oaks [June 1st] was six miles from those of Heintzelman and Keyes, which were near Bottom's Bridge." In reference to the position of the Confederates at that time, he places D. H. Hill's division in line of battle across the Williamsburg road, at right angles to it, more than a mile east of Seven Pines, the left of Hill's line, near the railroad, facing north; Longstreet's and Huger's divisions on Hill's left, parallel to the railroad and extending a short distance west of Fair Oaks Station, uniting there with the division under Whiting; and says, "Magruder's division in reserve" "was under arms near." On the map in his book lie represents Sumner's corps in one line facing west, its left on the railroad a little west of Fair Oaks, with Longstreet's and Huger's divisions close on Sumner's left flank and rear. Having thus placed the contending forces, he adds: "Such advantage of position and superiority of numbers would have enabled the Confederates to defeat Sumner's corps, had the engagement been renewed Sunday morning [June 1st] before any aid could have come from Heintzelman, after which his troops could not have made effectual resistance." He claims that the battle was "unfinished in consequence of the disabling of their commander [Johnston]," and states that after he was disabled, the "only thing" President Davis "ought to have done, or had time to do, was postponed almost twenty hours -the putting General Lee, who was near, in command of the army."

General Johnston also states that three Federal corps on the Richmond side were completely separated from the two corps of their right beyond the Chickahominy by the swollen stream, which had swept away their bridges." This, if true, was not known or believed on our side. Anxiety on account of Federal reenforcements from the north side of the Chickahominy was felt, on the 1st of June as well as on the 31st of May, by the Confederate commander. But General Longstreet seems to have ignored all consideration of that subject on both days.

In the official report of the chief engineer of McClellan's army it is stated:

"At 8:15 A. M. (June 1st) the pontoon-bridge at the site of New Bridge was complete and passable to infantry, cavalry, and artillery. About noon the upper trestle-bridge was practicable for infantry. It was not till night that a practicable bridge for infantry was obtained at the lower trestle–bridge."

The railroad–bridge had been made practicable for all arms, and was not affected by the freshet.

The specific details given by General Johnston in regard to the positions occupied by the divisions of D. H. Hill, Longstreet, and Huger on the morning of June 1st, accorded, in the main, with General Longstreet's report to me at the time; and I never questioned the accuracy of General Johnston's statement in regard to the general positions occupied by these three divisions until I saw the recently published "Official Records." But I knew there was a gap between Whiting's right and Longstreet's left, and I knew, too, that Magruder's troops were not concentrated at Old Tavern.

Only one of the many remarkable statements made by General Longstreet in regard to the operations of the second day will be mentioned here. In a letter written in 1874 to General George W. Mindil, Federal, for the avowed purpose of throwing light upon the Confederate side, General Longstreet says:

"I do not remember to have heard of any fighting on the second day, except a sharp skirmish reported by General Pickett as he was retiring, under the orders of General Lee, to resume our former position.

Without dwelling upon what might have happened if General Johnston had not been disabled, or discussing what President Davis "ought to have done, or had time to do," it is proposed to show that General Johnston is greatly in error in reference to the positions of the contending forces on the morning of June 1st, and to present evidence that will refresh General Longstreet's memory in regard to the fighting he "heard of" that day.

In reference to the positions occupied by the three divisions under General Longstreet, it has already been stated and proved that D. H. Hill's division was in bivouac in the woods west of Casey's earth-works; and that large portions of the divisions of Longstreet and Huger were around Casey's redoubt, in the open field west of the second abatis. Before midnight, May 31st, Colonel Jenkins's command was withdrawn to Seven Pines, and the brigades of Wilcox and Pryor moved forward from the redoubt and bivouacked on the sides of the Williamsburg road, in advance of Seven Pines, the head of their column being on the ground where Colonel Jenkins ceased fighting. Pickett's brigade was still far back on the railroad, where it was posted by Longstreet's order when the attack was commenced, May 31st, and Mahone's brigade was three and a half miles out on the Charles City road.

Two brigades of the division under Whiting were in line of battle, facing nearly east, the right being on the railroad about five hundred yards west of Fair Oaks the left in the woods on the north of the Nine-mile road, and the other three brigades within close supporting distance. There were six brigades in Magruder's command. Two of them were guarding the Mechanicsville and Meadow Bridge roads. The positions of the other four brigades are given in a note, dated 11 p M., May 31st, addressed to me by their immediate commander, General McLaws. He says:

"General Cobb, five regiments, [posted] from the Mechanicsville road to General Harvey's place; General Kershaw from General Harvey's to Bakers; Generals Griffith and Semmes from General Kershaw's right to New Bridge, and on the line down New Bridge road."

Magruder's six brigades were the only forces guarding the crossings of the Chickahominy from New Bridge to Meadow Bridge.

On the Federal side Keyes's corps, with abundant artillery, occupied that part of the Federal third line of defense which was on the south side of the Williamsburg road, one and three-eighths miles east of Seven Pines. One brigade and two regiments of Hooker's division were close in rear of Keyes, and two brigades of Kearny's division were in the trenches of the third line of defense, on the north side of the Williamsburg road; whilst Birney's brigade of that division was about half a mile in advance, with three regiments in line of battle, facing nearly south-west, their right resting on the railroad, and in close connection with Sumner's corps. In fact, the lines of Sumner and Heintzelman overlapped here at the time the Confederate attack was made. Sumner's corps (instead of being drawn up in one line, facing nearly west, as represented by General Johnston) was in two lines, nearly at right angles to each other. Sedgwick's division, with Couch's cut-off forces and five batteries, were in line, facing nearly west, the left being a little north of the railroad, a short distance east of Fair Oaks. Richardson's division was on Sedgwick's left, in three lines, nearly parallel to the railroad, with four batteries. In front of Richardson's position was a dense and tangled wood; on his right, and in front of Sedgwick, the ground was open for several hundred yards.

I find no reasonable cause to doubt the substantial accuracy of the Federal official reports in regard to the position of their forces, or in reference to their accounts of the actual fighting, a synopsis of which will presently be given. I am far from agreeing with General Johnston in the rose-colored view he takes of the situation, at the time lie was wounded, when there were, practically, three Federal corps upon the field. But I gave orders for the renewal of the attack, with no expectation, however, of the easy, complete, and certain success he pictures for that day.

When I assumed command of the army, I could learn nothing from those around me in reference to what had occurred oil the Williamsburg road later than the information contained in the note received from General Longstreet, at 4 p. M. Hood's brigade had been recalled before it reached D. H. Hill's lines, and returned after the action north of Fair Oaks was ended. I sent staff-officers with several different parties to communicate with General Long-street and request him to meet me as soon as possible at the headquarters on the Nine-mile road, near Old Tavern. A few minutes later General J. E. B. Stuart reported to me that the enemy had made no advance during the day on the Charles City road, and that our troops had captured the Federal works at Seven Pines some time before sunset and had advanced beyond that point -lie did not know how far. He had good guides with him, and offered to go in person to General Longstreet and have him piloted to headquarters. A little after 11 p. M. I received a note from General Stuart, stating that at 10:30 he had failed to find General Longstreet.

In the meantime General McLaws, who was at New Bridge, reported large forces opposite that point, and that they were building a pontoon-bridge. He added: "If this position is forced, your command will be in great danger, as you are aware."

Guided by one of my staff, who had succeeded in finding him about midnight, General Longstreet - reached headquarters after 1 A. M. He reported that D. H. Hill's division and a portion of his own, after prolonged fighting and heavy losses, had succeeded in driving the enemy from Seven Pines late in the afternoon, and had pursued them more than a mile, until dark. On learning from him that a portion of his own division lied not been in action, and that Huger's division, recalled from the Charles City road, though now at the front, had not been engaged at all, I directed General Long-street to send a brigade of Huger's division to the Nine-mile road. That brigade was to support McLaws at New Bridge, or Whiting at Fair Oaks, as might be required. General Longstreet was ordered to renew the attack with the rest of his command as soon after daybreak as practicable, and to fight north rather than attempt to force his way ally farther toward Bottom's Bridge. He left me a little after 2 A. M., and returned to the Williamsburg road. I wrote to General Lee, who was stationed in Richmond, in general charge of military operations, informing him of the orders I had given. In reply, dated 5 A. M., June 1st, General Lee says: "Your movements are judicious, and determination to strike the enemy right." In my official report it is stated:

General Longstreet was directed to push his successes of the previous day as far as practicable, pivoting his movement upon the position of General Whiting, on his left. The latter was directed to make a diversion in favor of General Longstreet's real attack."

Soon after daylight there was sharp firing for a few minutes between Hood's skirmishers, near the railroad, and the extreme right of Richardson's position. These skirmishers were promptly recalled, and Whiting was ordered to make no advance until the attack by the right wing was well developed, in full force. In this affair Hood lost thirteen wounded. No part of the division under Whiting was again engaged during the day; because, although there was a good deal of heavy firing in the right wing that morning, nothing was observed from the Nine-mile road that indicated to me a real and determined attack, in full force by the right wing, such as I intended Whiting should support.

At 6:30 A. M. firing in the wood commenced, a little south of the railroad, about half a mile or more east of Fair Oaks, and was sufficiently heavy to indicate that the movement Longstreet had been ordered to make had begun. This heavy firing continued for an hour or more, nearly at the same place, but did not develop into an attack in full force. It lulled for a while, and was presently renewed, but now at a point several hundred yards south of the railroad. Longstreet's troops were evidently losing ground without his having made an attack with more than a very small portion of the Right Wing.

In the meantime my chief of staff, who was on the Chickahominy bluffs, had, from time to time, reported movements of troops, pontoons, etc., on the north side of the river, showing preparations for sending over additional Federal reinforcements. The first information received from General Long-street was contained in a note from him, dated 8 A. M., saying: "I have ordered a brigade of General Huger's, as agreed upon. Please send a guide for it." About 10:30 A. M. the following was received from General Long-street: "The brigade cannot be spared. Every man except a brigade is in action." In a few minutes this came from him: "The entire army seems to be opposed to me. I trust that some diversion may be made in my favor during these successive attacks, else my troops cannot stand it. The ammunition gives out too readily." And directly after, a note, dated 10 A. M. was received, saying: "Can you reenforce me The entire army seems to be opposed to me. . .. If I can't get help, I fear I must fall back."

His leading troops had fallen back some time before; this was evident from observations made on the Nine-mile road. In Longstreet's dire extremity, as shown in the three notes received almost at one time, there were two ways in which I could then, possibly, help him, - one was by ordering Whiting forward over the open ground, and in deep mud, against the strong lines and numerous batteries of Sedgwick and Richardson; the other was to strip the Chickahominy of its defenders above New Bridge, and send reenforcements direct to Longstreet on the Williamsburg road. I adopted the latter course, and requested General McLaws to go to General Long-street, inform him that about five thousand men had been ordered to reenforce him, assure him that the whole Federal army was not in his front, tell him that he must not fall back any farther, but drive the enemy, and, if possible, regain the ground he had lost.

About 1 P. M. I received a note from General McLaws, stating: "Longstreet says he can hold his position with five thousand more men. He has now the same ground the enemy held yesterday." A little after 2 P. M. I received a letter from General Longstreet, dated 1:30 P. M. in which he says:

"The next attack will be from Sumner's division. I think that if we can whip it we shall be comparatively safe. . .. I sincerely hope that we may succeed against them in their next effort. Oh, that I had ten thousand men more!"

When I received that note from Longstreet there had been little or no firing for several hours, and there was none of any consequence after that time.

On reading in the "Official Records" the detailed reports of subordinate fighting commanders on both sides, I asked General D. H. Hill what orders he received from General Longstreet that day. His reply, dated June 26th, 1S85, authorizes me to state: "General Hill says that he got no orders from General Longstreet on Sunday [June 1st] whatever." This information was to me like lightning from a clear sky, and it cleared the murky atmosphere which had surrounded some of the recently published official reports on the Confederate side, and enabled me to comprehend things that appeared to be inexplicable before I knew that Longstreet had made no attempt to obey my order.

The Federal reports of regimental, brigade, and division commanders of troops closely engaged the second day are given in such detail in the" Official Records," that, by comparing them with the limited number of Confederate reports found there, a clear idea may be formed of what actually occurred. This comparison eliminates nearly all of those exaggerated elements in the accounts which relate to the wondrous results claimed to have been achieved by so-called " bayonet-charges" on the one side, and the bloody repulse of "ten times " their own numbers on the other.

It has already been shown that on May 31st the Confederates struck Keyes's corps, isolated at Seven Pines, with four brigades, and increased the attacking force to five brigades after Keyes had been reenforced by Heintzelman. June 1st, the Confederate attack was made against the left wing of French's brigade, which, with one regiment of Howard's brigade on its left, formed the front line of Richardson's division. On the left of that division was Birney's brigade of Kearny's division. In his official report, Richardson says:

"Near our left two roads crossed the railroad, and up these the enemy moved his columns of attack. At 0:30 A. M. . .. the enemy opened a heavy rolling fire of musketry within fifty yards. . .. It soon became the heaviest musketry-firing that I had ever experienced during an hour and a half. . .. I now ordered in General Howard to reenforce the first line with his brigade. . .. Soon after this the whole line of the enemy fell back for the first time, unable to stand our fire, and for half an hour the firing ceased on both sides."

In this attack the regiment of Howard's brigade on the extreme left of Richardson's front line was broken, fell back behind the second line, and was

not again in action. The regiment next to it on the right was forced back a short distance. The left of Richardson's front line was so rudely shaken that all available means were used to strengthen it; a battery and Meagher's brigade were put in to cover the gap, and Burns's brigade, previously detached to cover the communications with the bridges, was recalled and hurriedly sent by General Sumner to Richardson's assistance.

It will be seen later that this staggering blow against the left of Richard-son's line was from three regiments of Armistead's brigade and three regiments of Mahone's brigade, both of Huger's division. It will be seen, too, that these six regiments were the only Confederate forces that attacked the Federals during the second day.

It was about A. M. when General Howard, with two regiments of his brigade, relieved the left wing of French's brigade and took up the fighting. Just at that time the three regiments of Birney's brigade south of the railroad whose strong advanced guards had been slowly driven back, were rapidly thrown forward. The regiment next the railroad struck the flank of the Confederates just at the time Howard was advancing against their front; and under these two attacks the Confederates gave way in great disorder. The center regiment, of Birney's three, met with but little resistance until it struck a Confederate force in strong position on a wood road parallel to and three hundred to four hundred yards south of the railroad, in front of the left wing of French's brigade. The two regiments of Howard's brigade, in their forward movement, soon struck the same Confederates in the densely tangled wood. These three Federal regiments, after repeated efforts to dislodge the Confederates, Pickett's brigade, were repulsed with severe losses, and resumed position in the lines from which they had advanced.

General Howard 'was wounded just as his two regiments were coming to close quarters with Pickett's brigade. The command of Howard's brigade then devolved upon Colonel Cross, of the 5th New Hampshire, who says:

"Finding that the three other regiments of the brigade had been some time in action and severely handled, I directed that they should move out of the woods and re-form in the rear of Meagher's brigade, while I advanced my regiment to occupy the ground. We moved forward in line of battle through a thick wood, and about three hundred yards from the railroad track encountered the rebel line of battle. . .. The fire was now very close and deadly, the opposing lines being several times not over thirty yards apart. When about ordering another [the third] charge I was struck by a rifle-ball. . .. Lieutenant-Colonel Langley then took command of the regiment, and, the rebels endeavoring to flank us, he brought off the regiment in excellent order, carrying most of our wounded."

It was now about 11 A. M., perhaps earlier. The fighting was practically ended when the 5th New Hampshire withdrew from in front of the position defended by Pickett's brigade. In the meantime, however, there had been some sharp firing, and for a short time a little close fighting, on the Williamsburg road, between the two Confederate brigades under General Wilcox and seven regiments of Hooker's division and the left regiment of Birney's three. The two regiments of the right wing of French's brigade also advanced into the wood a short time before the action was ended.

On the Confederate side, General D. H. Hill, in his official report, says that at daylight, June 1st, he "learned that heavy reenforcements had come up to the support of Keyes," and "that General G. W. Smith had been checked upon the Nine-mile road, and that no help could be expected in that direction." He adds: "I therefore resolved to concentrate my troops around the captured works." This resolution was formed in the absence of any instructions "whatever" from his chief, General Longstreet, and he certainly received none from me. It now appears that after Longstreet, about 10 A. M., May 31st, assumed control of Huger and Huger's division, all the brigades, when sent to the front, were ordered to report to General D. H. Hill. I did not know that General Longstreet had, for the time being, virtually given up to General Hill the command of the three divisions on the Williamsburg road; much less did I know, or even suspect, that General Longstreet made no attempt, June 1st, to carry into effect the order I gave him to renew the attack. The official reports show that D. H. Hill commanded the thirteen brigades in the right wing that day. It is now proposed to tell what he did with them. It will be seen that he ordered the brigades of Pickett and Mahone to attack, and, by inference, that Armistead's brigade was ordered to attack; that the brigades of Wilcox and Pryor were ordered to retire, and that the brigades of Mahone and Colston, just as the fighting ended, were ordered to assist Pickett in the defensive position he had taken up after Armistead's three regiments were repulsed.

General Pickett, in his official report, says that his brigade marched at daylight from its position back on the railroad, and, in compliance with General Longstreet's order given the evening before, reported to General D. H. Hill at Casey's redoubt. He adds:

"My brigade had marched on some four hundred yards in advance of this point when it was there halted. General Hill directed me to ride over to the railroad and communicate with Brigadier-General Hood, whose right was resting on that road. I asked General Hill of the whereabouts of the enemy He said they were some distance in advance - in fact, I had no definite idea where."

It is very clear that to the Confederates on the Williamsburg road the expression "in advance" meant toward the east. But Pickett's instructions from Hill required him in person to go north in search of Hood. On his route, Pickett soon met a small "plundering party" of Confederates rushing past him. He says:

"One fellow riding a mule with a halter. I seized on and detained for an explanation. He said the enemy was within a few hundred yards of us, and entreated me to let him save himself. I immediately rode back with him at a gallop, and as briefly as possible informed General Hill of the circumstances. He ordered me to attack, and I supposed [the] same order was given to other brigade commanders."

It is well to call attention here to the fact that the three regiments of Birney's brigade [Federal] had strong outposts well to their front, stationed in the woods several hundred yards south of the railroad, for the purpose of holding any advance of the Confederates in check long enough to enable Kearny, with the rest of his division, to reach and support Birney if closely pressed. The Federal accounts show flat these outposts did seriously delay the Confederates advancing east on the south side of the railroad.

General Pickett says that his brigade was "in line of battle nearly perpendicular to the railroad," and that Armistead was on his left. It will be noticed that, advancing in the line he describes, Pickett's brigade moved nearly parallel to the railroad, and that Armistead's brigade was between Pickett and the railroad. Pickett encountered the strong outposts of Birney's brigade. Continuing his account, he says his brigade

"struck the enemy within a short distance (who opened heavily upon us), drove him through an abatis over a cross-road leading to [the] railroad, and was advancing over a second abatis, when I had discovered Armistead's brigade had broken and were leaving the field pell-mell. At this moment I was on foot and half-way across the' abatis, the men moving on beautifully and carrying everything before them."

He had certainly not yet struck Richardson's line, and never did reach it. He called on General Hill for reenforcements, and lie says that he threw back the left of his brigade so as to oppose a front to the Federals on the side where Armistead's men had given way, and adds:

"As a matter of course, from having been the attacking party, I now had to act on the defensive. Fortunately the enemy seemed determined oil attacking and carrying my front, and driving me out of the abatis, which our men succeeded in preventing, though with considerable loss."

The " Official Records" contain no report from any commander in that portion of Armistead's or of Mahone's brigades engaged in the attack on Richardson's line. But General Mahone, in a letter to Captain Benj. Huger, October 13th, 1862, says that his brigade moved early on the morning of June 1st from its position on the Charles City road, and reported to General Hill, at the redoubt, "at the same time that General Pickett's brigade reported upon the field," and that his own "brigade was in a few moments thereafter thrown into action, a report of which General Huger has." That report cannot be found; but General Mahone now says, in letters to me, December, 1885, and January, 1886:

"At the moment I was reporting to General Hill, some person rode up and excitedly stated to him that the enemy were in the wood on the north side of the [Williamsburg] road.

General Hill said: 'General Mahone, take your brigade in there,' referring to the wood in which the enemy were supposed to "I am quite certain that Armistead's brigade was on my immediate right, and I suppose it went into the fight about the time my brigade went in. There was no fighting which would indicate an attack by either side before my leading regiment went in, . .. and none on my left during the engagement that followed. Armistead's brigade and mine must have struck the enemy about the same . .. The impetus of the charge of the 3d Alabama, a splendid regiment, I am satisfied must have severely shocked and disordered Richardson's line, and if there bad been any intelligent understanding of the position of the enemy, and instructions as to what we were to do, it can be seen now how easy a destructive blow might have been given.

From different but authentic sources, I learn that the losses in Mahone's brigade were 339, of which 175 were in the 3d Alabama, 112 in the 41st Virginia, and 52 in the 12th Virginia. The other two regiments were detached.

I have not succeeded in getting specific information from any one engaged in either of the regiments of Armistead's brigade that attacked the extreme left of Richardson's line. The effect produced by that attack shows it was of a very determined character, and from the nature of the Federal counter-attack on Armistead, the losses of the latter must have been very heavy. That Armistead's three regiments did not, then, retire from the wood is shown by the published official report of Colonel H. B. Tomlin, of the 53d Virginia, which had been kept back during the night, May 31st, at General Longstreet's headquarters, and did not get to the front before the other three regiments had been repulsed. On reaching the redoubt, this regiment was ordered to join the other three in the woods. In the tangled undergrowth it became engaged by mistake with one of Mahone's regiments; and, whilst they were firing into each other, one of the regiments of French's Federal brigade came up, and Armistead's regiment, in confusion, fell back to the redoubt, "apprehending more danger from friends than the enemy." In this fiasco that regiment lost one killed and eighteen wounded and the regiment of French's brigade lost one killed and five wounded. These incidents have been referred to because of the exaggerated importance attached by the Federals to the "bayonet-charge" made by the right of French's brigade.

General Wilcox, commanding his own brigade and Pryor's, says that on the morning of June 1st, having no orders, he formed his brigade in line of battle across and at right angles to the Williamsburg road about half a mile east of Seven Pines, and Pryor's brigade on the left, but facing early north. The Federals moved against Wilcox about 8 A. M. In his official report he says that after the firing had continued for some time, e engagement became serious on his entire front, and the contest "was going on as well as could be desired," when "an order was sent to me to withdraw my command, which was instantly done." General Wilcox adds:

"The order given me to retire my command on the second morning was given in writing by D. H. Hill, and for the reason, as he stated in his note, that men had acted badly."

After the withdrawal of these two brigades they were placed in position ear the redoubt. In this affair the losses in Wilcox's brigade were 44; those in Pryor's brigade are not stated. The Federal accounts of operations n this part of the field show great misapprehension of the real state of affairs on the Confederate side. General Hooker says:

"Our advance on the rebels . .. was slow, . .. the fire brisk and unerring. After interchange of musketry of this character for more than an hour, directions were given to advance with the bayonet, when the enemy were thrown into wild confusion, throwing away their arms, hats, and coats, and broke through the forest in the direction of Richmond."

A good deal of this "magnificence" vanishes before the plain statements made by General Wilcox; but, in fairness, it should be stated that " extravagances" are also found in the Confederate reports. General Hill says: Pickett held his ground against the odds of ten to one for several hours."

Pickett's frantic appeals to Hill for help gave color of probability to General Hill's opinion; but the Federal reports, now published, show that Pickett's strong defensive position was attacked by four regiments only. Hill finally sent two brigades to Pickett's assistance, and on their appearance the 5th New Hampshire withdrew from Pickett's front; or, as he expresses if the enemy retreated to their bushy cover, and their fire immediately slackened." He adds: "No other attempt was made by them to advance, and about p. M., I judge, by General Hilt's order, I withdrew the whole of our front line." e evidently means his own brigade and the two brigades that had been sent aid him. The losses in the 4 regiments of Pickett's brigade were 350.

General Hill had now succeeded in concentrating the right wing of the army around the captured works." He says:

"The [remainder of the] day was spent in removing 6700 muskets and rifles in fine condition, ordnance, commissary and medical stores. Ten captured guns had been removed the night before. . .. General Longstreet sent me an order after dark to withdraw my whole command. The thirteen brigades were not got together until near midnight."

General Pickett says:

"General Hill sent for me about 1 at night, or, rather, morning of June 2d, and I

went to the redoubt in search of him. .. General Hill gave me orders to cover [the] withdrawal of the troops with my brigade. .. The whole of our force filed past by half an hour after sunrise. I then leisurely moved off, not a Yankee in sight or even a puff of smoke."

The Federals resumed the positions they held that morning, with the exception of Sickles's brigade of Hooker's division, which occupied the ground where colonel Jenkins's command ceased fighting the previous day. Some time after sunrise, June 2d, the Federal pickets discovered that the Confederates had retired from Casey's captured works. At 5 p M. that day General Hooker reported the result of an armed reconnaissance from which he had just returned. He says that a short distance in front of Casey's camp "the enemy appeared to have a regiment of cavalry and three of infantry, but as the latter were most concealed in the forest, it was not prudent to determine their number." At 3 A. M. that day the chief of staff of McClellan's army wrote to General Sumner: "The general commanding says, b reply to your dispatch, that you must do the best you can to hold your own if attacked. General Heintzelman will support you." At 11:50 p M., June 3d, General Sumner wrote to General Kearny:

"From information I have received, I have reason to expect a formidable attack tomorrow morning. Please advance with your division at 2 A. M. in order to attack the flank of the enemy if he assails me in large force. Everything may depend upon this movement of yours.

The theory that the " Confederates attacked in full force," were repulsed retreated in "disorganization and dismay," "which sent them to Richmond in a panic on the night of June lst," is not in accordance with the facts already established, nor with any that are likely to be brought to light hereafter.

The divisions of Longstreet and Hill leisurely returned to the positions they occupied when the order to attack was given; but Huger's division remained well out on the Williamsburg road in advance of D. II. Hill's position. The latter fact is made clear by the following written statement of General Long-street, dated June 3d, 1862. He says:

"The entire division of General Huger was left in advance upon retiring with the forces from the late battle-field. He was absent yesterday, but not coming to report after being sent for, I ordered General Stuart to take command of the division."

This in itself shows, beyond doubt, that General Longstreet was exercising control over Huger and Huger's division during these operations.

On the Nine-mile road the division under Whiting remained, for some days after the battle was ended, closely confronting Sumner's corps near Fair Oaks. In the letter already referred to, Colonel Frobel says:

"We remained in the position indicated until the afternoon, when the brigades were with-drawn a short distance to the shelter of heavy woods in our rear. I do not think after this that we changed our position for several days.

In his official report of what occurred the day after he was disabled and left the field, General Johnston says: "In the evening [June 1st] our troops quietly returned to their own camps."

The camps of the division under Whiting were on the Meadow Bridge road; this division remained on the Nine-mile road, a mile or more in advance of Magruder's line at Old Tavern. The camps of Huger's division were on the banks of Gilliss Creek, close to the suburbs of Richmond; this division remained on the Williamsburg road, more than a mile in advance of Hill's camps. The two divisions that did return to their camps left the field on the morning of June 2d-not "in the evening" of June 1st.

To complete this sketch of the battle of Seven Pines, it is essential to mention that, when I received General Longstreet's note, dated 1:30 P. M.

June 1st, which ended with the exclamation, "Oh, that I had ten thousand men more," General Lee had just taken command of the army. He seemed very much impressed by the state of affairs on the Williamsburg road as depicted in General Longstreet's note. I assured him, however, that Long-street was mistaken in supposing that the whole Federal army was opposed to him; that I had several horn's before nearly stripped the Chickahominy, between New Bridge and Mechanicsville, in order to send him reenforcements; and that the danger to Richmond, if any, was not then on the Williamsburg road, if it ever had been.

General Lee gave me no orders that day. The fact that Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions were sent back to their former camps induces me to believe that this was in compliance with orders given by General Lee to General Longstreet-perhaps for the reason that on May 31st we had not fully succeeded in crushing one Federal corps isolated at Seven Pines, and on June 1st had lost all the ground beyond Seven Pines that we had gained the day previous.

I was completely prostrated on the 2d of June by an attack of paralysis, no symptom of which was manifested within eighteen hours after Lee relieved me of the command of the army. But, for that misfortune, I would certainly have required all subordinates to report to me events that took place on the field in their respective commands whilst I was in control of the army.

The detailed reports of regimental and brigade commanders on both sides in this battle show many instances of close, persistent, and bloody fighting, such as have been seldom equaled by any troops on any field. Cases of temporary confusion and disorder occurred, but fair examination shows there was good reason for this. In reference to the general management, however, it may welt be said that General McClellan committed a grave error in allowing Keyes's corps to remain isolated for several days within easy striking distance of General Johnston's army. The intention of the latter to throw Longstreet's division against Keyes's exposed and weak right flank was the best plan that could have been adopted. The first great blunder consisted in Longstreet's taking his division from the Nine-mile road to the Williamsburg road, and the next in placing six brigades on the Charles City road, where there was no enemy. Five of these brigades were marching and countermarching on the latter road, and struggling through the White Oak Swamp, in mud and water waist-deep, to reach the Williamsburg road miles in rear of the fighting, where General Longstreet then was, whilst Colonel Jenkins's three regiments were scouring the rear of the Nine-mile road from Fair Oaks to Seven Pines; thus not only saving the right of Hill's division from being driven out of Casey's captured works by Federal reenforcements under Kearny but forcing Keyes and Heintzelman to their third line of defense. No one can fairly doubt what would have been the result, if at 3 P. M. when Hill's division alone had carried Casey's works, the five brigades that had been sent to the Charles City road had been within supporting distance of Hill, and had been promptly put in close action, and Pickett's brigade had been thrown forward instead of being held far back on the railroad by Long-street's order "to repel any advance of the enemy up that road." Instead of putting his own troops into the fight, even late in the afternoon, Longstreet called on General Johnston for help, and complained of the latter's "slowness."

It is not proposed to speculate here upon what might have happened on the second day, if General Longstreet had made any attempt to carry out the orders he received to renew the attack. But it may be well to emphasize the fact that if Longstreet's division had promptly moved, on the Nine-mile road, at daybreak, May 31st, and been put in close action on that side, whilst D. H. Hill's division attacked in front, as Johnston certainly intended, - there would have been no occasion to make excuses for the failure of complete Confederate success in wiping out Keyes's corps, early in the morning of May 31st, before it could have been reenforced by either Heintzelman or Sumner.