El 7 Co I II E PORT HENRY M. NAGLEE, BRIGADIER GENERAL, I'AKT TAKKN \',\ HIS I515KJAHK J N THK SKVKN DAYS, FROM JU\K 2<> TO .TI'LY L'. IM.L'. A U^r V OF POTO M AC. PHILADELPHIA: C (.) L L I N S , P 11 I N" T I'- M . T u :. .1 A Y X !; S T II K K T 1 REPORT HENRY M. NAGLEE, ^ / Q- O" A BRIGADIER GENERAL, * PART TAKEN BY HIS BRIGADE IN THE SEVEN DAYS, FROM JUNE 26 TO JULY 2, 1862. ARMY OF POTOMAC. PHILADELPHIA: COLLINS, PRINTER, 705 JAYNE STREET. 1863. v iancroftLibiarj REPORT BRIG. GEN. R. B. MARCY, Chief of Staff. GENERAL : On the 26th of June the rebel General Jackson, having escaped from the armies of *Banks, Shields, Fremont, and McDowell in the valley of the Shenan- cloah, suddenly hurled his army, with that concen- trated at Richmond, upon the right flank of the army of the Potomac, and then, believing that Gen. McClel- lan would be driven to the White House, he rapidly marched in that direction. The army of the Poto- mac, on the contrary, having crossed to the southern side of the Chickahominy, the bridges and fords of that river became positions of great importance and interest. On the 27th, orders were received from Gen. McClellan by Gen. Keyes directing " that the Railroad and Bottom's Bridges over the Chickahominy should be held at all hazards," and if pressed the bridges should be destroyed. This important service was in- trusted to my brigade, as may be inferred from the orders of Gen. Keyes hereunto attached. Being at the above position, I had, in anticipation of the above orders, received some entrenching tools from Gen. Peck, who at the same time had promptly responded to my call, and had sent Miller's Battery, 1st Pa. Artillery, to report to me at midnight of the 26th. By the evening of the 27th, this battery was well protected by a breast-work placed immediately in rear of Bottom's Bridge, which I had destroyed as soon as our wagon train had passed. Continuous with the redoubt, was thrown up, parallel with the Chickahominy, about 100 feet from it, a line of rifle- pits, which extended some 600 yards in the direction of the Railroad Bridge, and the latter defended by Brady's Battery, which I had placed on the first firm ground, in the line of the railroad, about 800 yards from the bridge, and I protected the battery by an embankment on the front and left side. Another, Morgan's Battery G, 4th N. J. Artillery, had been also ordered by Gen. McClellan to report to me, and this I placed upon the rising ground to the rear of the Chickahominy, so that it was within easy range of both bridges, commanding the approaches to them, and the road leading from them. Upon the first intimation of the approach of the enemy in this direction, I had lined the Chicka- hominy, between the bridges and a mile above and below them, with the sharp-shooters of the 52d Pa, and llth Maine, and had placed the especial charge of the Railroad Bridge with Col. Plaisted and the remainder of his regiment. The remainder of the 52d Pa. Lt. Col. Hoyt, the 56th Col. Van Wick, and 100 N. Y. Lt. Col. Staunton, were distributed in the redoubt and rifle-pits, and on picket duty, and the 104th Pa. Lt. Col. Nields, which I had withdrawn from the Dispatch Station upon the approach of the enemy, was held near Morgan's Battery in reserve. Gen. McClellan had "ordered a detachment of Capt. Mann's Oneida Cavalry to report to me for scouting duty," and they were sent to observe the enemy on the left side of the Chickahominy, where I also ordered a portion of Capt. Wickersham's Squad- ron of the Gregg's 8th Pa. Cavalry ; keeping the rest scouting above and below the bridges to observe the enemy from the right bank of the river. During the 26th the only evidence of the approach of the enemy was the constant roar of artillery, borne upon the breeze from the desperate conflict at Me- chanicsville ; on the 27th small reconnoitring parties approached the Chickahominy ; but they soon learned to respect the presence of the 52d Pa. and llth Maine, that were concealed in that swamp, waist deep in water. Some cavalry appeared upon the hills in front of us, within easy range of Miller's Battery. But not being prepared, I allowed them to continue their observations undisturbed. A large party of cavalry and infantry approached the Railroad Bridge, but Brady received them warmly, and they departed to Ch V Ju / the join the larger force that had moved down within two miles of the railroad. During the whole of the day large numbers of stragglers from Porter's and McCall's commands were stopped before they arrived at the Railroad Bridge, which I had ordered Col. Plaisted to destroy, and turned back to join the body of the army at Savage Station. The roar of artillery this day was also incessant, for Porter had met the enemy, and dreadful had been the slaughter at Games' Mill. All the night our pickets were kept occupied with the approaches to the bridges. On the 28th there were indications of activity in our immediate neighborhood ; from early morning cavalry watched our industrious efforts to complete our earthworks. Infantry pressed into the woods and skirmished with our picket line, but too close an approach to my sharp-shooters, concealed in the swamp, soon led to great caution. About noon, a large force, reported as two brigades, moved down to the railroad; a battery of artillery, with cavalry, and supported by two regiments of infantry, crossed the railroad, and under cover of the wood took a position upon the high ground facing the Chickahominy, and about one thousand yards from ihe bridges. Making every preparation, I awaited their attack, and ordered Miller to respond slowly but skilfully until he learned the range. I directed Brady and Morgan to test the range in the same manner, and with about an hour's practice we were fully prepared. Half an hour after I observed changes of position, as if in preparation for an attack, and ordered the three batteries to increase their fire, and to concentrate it upon the troops that were moving; this had the desired effect, and they were compelled to withdraw into the woods. I then concentrated the fire upon the battery, which by four o'clock was so effectually silenced, that it responded but seldom during the remainder of the afternoon. On the 29th, large bodies of the enemy were con- stantly hovering around in force, but he did not renew the attack here, being fully occupied in the terrific struggle that continued throughout this day at Savage Station. At 7 P. M. the destruction of the Railroad Bridge was made complete by running into the gap the loco- motive and long train of cars filled with immense quantities of ammunition, which exploded with sub- lime and terrific power that shook the whole earth, and the white smoke ascended in a column so grand, so magnificent, that all stood spell-bound, impressed to that extent that it cannot be forgotten. At 10 P. M. the army trains and army having passed by the road less than two miles in rear of these bridges, the necessity of holding this position no longer existed, and I received instructions from General McClellan to follow with the rear-guard and cross the White Oak Swamp Bridge. Thus was my brigade, which had forced the pas- 8 sage of the Railroad and Bottom's Bridges on the 20th of May, destined to dispute the same passage of the enemy on the 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th of June. Our position with the enemy was, in every regard, reversed, holding on each side the identical ground the other had held. In our army, we had made the advance from this point towards Richmond, and were now to be the last in the retreat. It was nearly daylight, on the morning of the 30th of June, when the brigade bivouacked in the rising ground near to and commanding the White Oak Swamp Bridge. At 10 A. M. " Naglee's Brigade was ordered by General McClellan to report immediately for duty to Brigadier General W. F. Smith," and by 11 o'clock it was in line of battle perpendicular to, and the right resting on, the main road leading from the White Oak Swamp Bridge, with the left on the swamp about three-fourths of a mile from the bridge, a portion of the 52d being deployed in the swamp, extending from the brigade to the bridge. All of the space between the swamp and the line occupied by my brigade was covered with troops, infantry and artillery, belonging to the Divisions of Smith and Richardson, under the command of General Franklin, who was ordered to hold the position and prevent the passage of the bridge, that the army might continue the retreat down the Peninsula. About noon, without one being aware of his inten- tion, the enemy opened upon the position held by General Franklin with a quick and constant discharge from a number of batteries concealed in the wood or brush three-fourths of a mile from the swamp. So sudden and incessant was the discharge that for some time much confusion prevailed amongst the trains, and an excellent opportunity was afforded to judge of the steadiness and discipline of the different com- mands present. This fearful cannonade was answered promptly and gallantly by the artillery of Franklin, and kept up, there being fully one hundred pieces on both sides, until long after dark. Frequent efforts were made by the enemy to cross the bridge and swamp, but he was as frequently re- pulsed. About 3 P.M. a heavy force of the enemy attempted to cross the swamp two miles above the bridge de- fended by Franklin, but they were opposed by the corps of Sumner and Heintzelman, and a fearful con- test ensued, which continued until night. My brigade stood, this excessively hot .day, screened only by the wood that skirted the White Oak Swamp, exposed to this constant fire, and, although under my immediate observation, I did not see an instance of hesitation or fear, and none was reported to me. On the contrary, its position was such that no person could leave the field without passing my line, and none but the wounded and those necessary to remove 10 them were permitted to do so. The dead we were compelled to bury upon the ground where they fell. At 10 P. M. I was ordered to follow Gen. Smith's Division, and made immediate preparation to retreat as soon as that division should file off; the proper orders were given, and the regiments were instructed to follow each other whenever the head of the brigade should move. It was after 11 o'clock before Smith's Division was out of the way, and I could get my artillery started. The men and officers had been constantly engaged since the 26th, and naturally sunk upon the ground in utter exhaustion. Finally, when the column moved off, the connection was lost be- tween my third and fourth regiments, and two of them, the 56th and 100th N. Y., remained upon the ground. This was not discovered until we had marched fully an hour, and when, the road being literally crammed, it was impossible to return. They, how- ever, soon after midnight discovered their position, and followed in admirable marching order and joined the brigade on the following day at Haxall's, where we arrived by 7 A. M. on the 1st of July, after a march of seventeen miles. On the 1st of July I joined my division, and my brigade remained under arms whilst Porter fought the bloody battle at Malvern Hill. On the 2d of July, my brigade, with that of Gen. Wessall's, of Peck's Division, formed the rear guard, 11 and whilst we were prepared for any attack of the enemy, the immense artillery and wagon train were kept in such excellent control that all confusion was prevented, and the whole train was brought in safety to Harrison's Landing. Thus for seven days were the men of my brigade constantly on duty. On the 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th of June the safety of the army depended upon our holding the Railroad and Bottom's Bridges ; and on the 30th upon holding the bridges at the White Oak Swamp. Many, day and night for four days, stood to their middle in the water of the Chicka- hominy Swamp, and all, impressed with the respon- sible duty required of them, served their country in this hour of trial, enduring the most excessive labor, fatigue and exhaustion, with extraordinary endurance and cheerfulness ; and well may they and their many friends, in all the future, refer to these gallant deeds and trials with the conscious pride that they are deserving of the thanks and remembrance of their country. All of which is respectfully submitted by Your ob't servant, HENRY M. NAGLEE, Brigadier General. HD. QRS. NAGLEE'S BRIGADE, January, 1863. 13 HEAD QUARTERS 4in CORPS, June 26th, 1862. BRIG. GEN. PECK, Commanding Division. SIR: It is reported and believed that a large force of the enemy is on the other side of the Chickahomiuy, to cut off our communication if he can. All the wagons now on the east side of the Chickahominy will therefore be brought to this side at once, and packed not far from the burnt chimneys. Gen. Naglee, with his brigade, is charged with guarding the Rail- road Bridge and Bottom's Bridge. Gen. Naglee will direct the regi- ment at Dispatch Station to be on the alert, and if need be (that is, if attacked by a large force) it will retire to this side, in the manner to be arranged by Gen. Naglee. I send a battery to Gen. Naglee to be placed on duty at Bottom's Bridge, and a battery to you to be placed as you see fit. I send this direct to Gen. Naglee to save time. I am, very respectfully, Your ob't servant, (Signed) E. D. KEYES, B. G. Comd. 4h Corps. Brig. Gen. Naglee will note, and carry out such portions of the foregoing as relate to himself and his brigade, and to his position. By order of BRIG. GEN. KEYES. C. C. SUYDAM, Capt. A. A. Gen. HEAD QUARTERS 4in CORPS, June 27th, 1862, 8.45 P. M. BRIG. GEN. PECK, Comd'g Division. GENERAL : I am instructed by the General commanding the corps to direct that, in accordance with instructions from Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac, Bottom's and Railroad Bridges be held at all hazards, and to destroy the Bottom's and Railroad Bridges effectually, rather than allow the enemy to pass them. The Gen- eral desires that all planks by which men could cross be moved from the Railroad Bridge. He also desires that dry fagots in sufficient quantity be placed under both the above bridges, and at such places as may conduce to their entire destruction, when the necessity for their demolition arises ; but you must not destroy the bridges unnecessarily. Very respectfully, Your ob't servant, (Signed) C. C. SUYDAM. / ' ,. P. S. When I say the bridges must not be destroyed unnecessa- rily, you will understand that the sole object of ordering them de- stroyed is to prevent the enemy from crossing to this side, and that officers of first rate discretion must be especially charged with the matter. Have you force enough, or do you need another battery ? The infantry is almost entirely assigned. (Signed) C. C. SUYDAM, Capt. A. A. Gen. 15 HEAD QUARTERS 4xn CORPS, June 28th, 1862, 2.30 A.M. BRIG. GEN. NAGLEE, Comd 'g Brigade. GENERAL : * * # The General also desires that you will inform Gen. McClellan, at Savage Station, of what you have done, and that you commu- nicate directly with that officer, as General Keyes himself will be during the rest of night in the saddle, being now on the point of departure for Gen. Peck's Head-Quarters. Enclosed is a copy of instructions which have been received. These, as far as they relate to you, you will please observe. Very respectfully, Your ob't servant, C. C. SUYDAM, Capt. A. A. Gen.