Today in History:

50 Series I Volume XI-II Serial 13 - Peninsular Campaign Part II


the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, I abandoned my works at Fair Oaks at daylight on the morning of the 29th ultimo, and proceeded to the principal depot at Orchard Station, at which place the commanding general had ordered all the Government property to be destroyed. I then marched to Allen's field and went into bivouac. At 9 o'clock a.m. the enemy came up and commenced a furious attack upon my right and center with shells and musketry. I immediately got three batteries in position (Kirby's, Pettit's, and Hazard's), which played with great effect and finally silenced the enemy's batteries. A farm-house stood near the point of attack, which was an important point, and was occupied by General French with one regiment (Brooke's Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers), supported by Jones' Californians. The action was very sharp at this point, and continued till 11 a.m., when we drove the enemy from the ground, and thus ended the battle of Allen's Farm.

The regiments and batteries engaged behaved admirable, and I fully confirm the subordinates' reports in commendation of their commands.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.

General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Camp near James River, July 4, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on Sunday, the 29th ultimo, at 12 o'clock m., about an hour after the action ceased at Allen's field, I received intelligence from Generals Franklin and Smith that the enemy was crossing the Chickahominy and advancing in large force upon me. I saw the necessity at once of concentrating the troops (Heintzelman's corps, Franklin's corps, and my own) at Savage Station, and this was speedily done. I ordered Heintzelman to hold the Williamsburg road, on which we had several field, works, and a skirt of timber between those works and the railroad. I then put Franklin's corps and my own in order of battle, Brooks' brigade holding the wood on the left of the field, where he did excellent service, receiving a painful wound, but keeping his command till the close of the battle. These arrangements were hardly completed when the enemy came in upon me at 4 o'clock p.m., in large force, advancing by the Williamsburg road and through the timber that I had ordered Heintzelman to hold, at the same time throwing shells upon my command with remarkable precision from the railroad. The assault was met by Burns' brigade in the most gallant manner, supported and re-enforced by two lines in reserve and finally by the Sixty-ninth New York (Irish) Regiment. The action continued with great obstinacy until some time after dark, when we drove the enemy from the field, and thus closed the battle of Savage Station.

When the enemy appeared on the Williamsburg road I could not imagine why General Heintzelman did not attack him, and not until some time afterward did I learn, to my utter amazement, that General Heintzelman had left the field and retreated with his whole corps (about 15,000 men) before the action commenced. This defection might have been attended with the most disastrous consequences, and although