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ing the entire force brought into the field, should be clearly discovered to any considerable distance. be explained. This is essential to the complete I should remark here that just after or about the understanding of the part taken by and the dis- time I gave the order for the advance from camp, position made of the various commands in the I was joined by General Benham, who assumed action.
the command of the column, and who retained it According to this plan, the division of General during the action, leaving ine responsible for my Stevens was to form the assaulting column against division only. the enemy's works at Secessionville, and being Moving rapidly to the front, I formed my com. formed in the utmost silence at his outer pickets, mand partly behind a hedge-row parallel to the was to move forward at the first break of day front of the enemy's works, partly a little in rear, upon the enemy's batteries, while the remainder and brought up two pieces of artillery to open of the troops, comprising Willliams's brigade and upon the enemy, and then proceeded to the front, a part of my division, moving together from the to ascertain exactly the condition of affairs there. camp at Grimball's, were to act as a support to I should have stated that soon after the colGen. Stevens, protecting his left and rear from umn was put in motion from the wood where it an attack of the enemy's forces from that direc- had been halted, a messenger came from General tion. So important was the duty assigned to this Stevens to say that he was advancing; and becovering force deemed, and so convinced was Gen. fore we had reached our position, a message from Benham of the probability of an attack in that di- Gen. Stevens asking immediate support was an. rection, that he ordered in the event of the re- swered by an order from Gen. Benham to Acting pulse of Stevens, that the covering troops should Brig.-Gen. Williams to report to General Stevens not resume the assault.
with his command. This was a change in the The parts to be performed by the two columns original programme, by taking from the covering were therefore well defined and distinctly under-column the brigade under Williams, and adding stood. That of Gen. Stevens was to assault and it to the assaulting column. On reaching the carry the works at Secessionville: that composed. front, I found that the command of Gen. Stevens of the troops of Gen. Williams's brigade and my was falling back; that a portion had been formed division were to cover the assault, and protect it behind the advance hedge-row; that the Ninetyfrom attack on the left and rear. The organiza- seventh Pennsylvania was behind the same hedge tion of the left column having been left to me, I on the left of Gen. Stevens, and that the Third added to the brigade of Williams the Ninety- New Hampshire and Third Rhode Island, which seventh Pennsylvania regiment and one section of had been pushed well up to our left of the enemy's Hamilton's battery, and arranged the force as works and on the left of the marsh, were hotly follows:
engaged, and under a cross fire from the works and Acting Brig.-Gen. Williams's BRIGADE.—1—from a force of the enemy's artillery and infantry Third Rhode Island, five companies; 2- Third on our left, in a low growth of bushes which corNew-Hampshire, ten companies ; 3—Ninety-sev- ered them from view. The performances of these enth Pennsylvania, six companies; 4 company regiments and their gallant bearing under a most E, Third artillery, one section.
destructive fire, will be detailed by their immediCol. CHATFIELD'S BRIGADE.-5- Sixth Con-ate commander, Gen. Williams, and I refer to necticut, two companies ; 7–Forty-seventh New-them at all only with a view to their connection York, eight companies.
with the movements of the rest. Col. Welsh's BRIGADE.—8–Forty-fifth Penn- To silence the fire on our left, just referred to, sylvania, six companies; 9—First New-York and to be able to resist more promptly any atvolunteer engineers, three companies ; 10-artil- tack from that point, a section of Hamilton's lery, two sections; 11-cavalry, two squadrons. battery was brought into the field to the left of
The remaining troops were left in camp and on the marsh, and opened on the enemy; and the picket duty, from which they could not be with- Forty-seventh regiment, of Col. Chatfield's bridrawn without compromising the safety of the gade, was also brought forward, and formed in camps and depot.
line of battle to the left, in face of the low growth Orders were issued to call the men at two A.M., of bushes to which I have alluded-a measure and to have them in line for marching at three which was executed with the most admirable
coolness and in perfect order. The fire of our All this was accomplished, and at the appoint. battery soon silenced that of the enemy, which ed time the column was in motion, and proceeded was not resumed. The other troops of my comto and formed under cover of the woods about mand maintained their original position through one mile in advance of our camp, to await inform the entire engagement, except the volunteer en. ation of the advance of Gen. Stevens's column, as gineers, who, by my direction, changed front for. had been agreed upon.
ward to the left, to cover the approach in that Prior to receiving such intelligence, however, direction. a few stray shots on our right and to our front Although not actually engaged with the enemy, indicated that Gen. Stevens's command was ad- the troops of my command were constantly under vancing, and without waiting farther, the column the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was at was at once pushed forward.
times very warm, and which was borne most un. By this time daylight was upon us, but as the Ainchingly by officers nd men, who were any. morning was dark and cloudy, objects could not ious to be brought up face to face with the enemy.
The conduct of officers and men was deserving Licut.-Col. David Morrison commanding, the Ono of all praise.
Hundredth Pennsylvania, Major David A. Leckey To Captain Hamilton, Third artillery, Chief of commanding, and the Forty-sixth New-York, Col. Artillery, of the left column, I desire to express Rudolph Rosa commanding, being in support. my obligations for the judicious management of A storming party, consisting of companies C and the artillery, which had much influence in sub- F, commanded by Capts. Ralph Ely and Richard duing the fire of the enemy; and to the various N. Doyle, of the Eighth Michigan regiment, was members of my staff, Col. E. W. Serrell, volun- in advance, followed by company E, Serrell's Enteer engineers, Chief Engineer; Capt. C. W. Fos- gineers, Captain Alfred F. Scars commanding. ter, Assistant Adjutant General; Capt. Goodrich, Four guns of the Connecticut light battery, Assistant Quartermaster ; Lieut. Frederick A. Capt. A. P. Rockwell commanding, followed the Sawyer, Acting Brigade Commissary; Lieuts. First brigade, and company H, First MassachuT. L. Hayan and H. W. Hubbell, Aids-de-Camp;setts cavalry, Capt. S. M. Sargeant commanding, John Darlington, volunteer Aid-de-Camp, and followed in rear. Capt. J. M. Rice, of Gen. Hunter's staff, but The strictest orders were given to maintain the serving with me as a volunteer Aid—I desire to most perfect silence, for each regiment to follow acknowledge the prompt and satisfactory dis- the preceding regiment within supporting discharge of the various duties assigned them. tance, and to rely exclusively upon the bayonet
The troops of the entire column left the field in encountering the enemy, resorting to firing in the most perfect order, the Forty-fifth Penn- only in case of manifest necessity. sylvania regiment bringing up and covering the At the first break of day, or about four o'clock, rear, as far as our front line of pickets, where it it being a dark and cloudy morning, the entire was halted and remained in position till all pros- command was in motion. My Xid-de-Camp, pect of an attack on the part of the enemy had Lieut. Benjamin R. Lyons, with a negro guide, passed away:
was at the head of the storming party. My AidThe withdrawal from the field of both columns de-Camp, Captain William T. Lusk, guided the was ordered by Gen. Benham.
Twenty-eighth Massachusetts. The command Accompanying this are the reports of Colonels pushed forward, surprised and captured the pickChatfield and Welsh, commanding brigades. ets at the house occupied by them, entered the Very respectfully, your obedient servant, fields beyond, and as they came within the effec
H. G. Wright, tive range of grape and musketry, pushed forBrigadier-General Commanding. ward into line of battle, and the entire Eighth
Michigan regiment, at about one hundred yards
from the enemy's works, the main body being HEADQUARTERS Second DivisiON, N, D. D. S., preceded only about forty feet by the two stormJAMES ISLAND, S. C., June 19, 1862.
ing companies, received his fire of grape, musBrig.-Gen. 7. G. Wright, Commanding United ketry and canister. States Forces, James Island, S. C.:
At this period of time the entire three regiSır: I have the honor to submit the following ments of Fenton's had passed the hedge, some report of the operations of my division in the ac- five hundred yards from the enemy's works, and tion of the sixteenth instant.
I was engaged directing the attacking and supThe instructions of Brig.-Gen. H. W. Benham, porting force of Col. Leasure. They were orderwho commanded the forces, were to form my en-ed to keep to the left, and to push up to the tire division before the break of day, in secrecy work, regiment following regiment, as in the case and silence, at the outer pickets; and at the of Col. Fenton. break of day-say about four o'clock — to move Up to this period not a shot had been fired, rapidly upon the enemy's works at and about Se- although five men of the Eighth Michigan had cessionvisle, with a view of carrying them by a been wounded by the pickets who were surprised coup de main. In the attack, it was arranged and captured. that all the available forces of Wright's division The firing now became general and continuous and Williams's brigade were to move to its sup. in front. The advance of the Eighth Michigan port as soon as the fire from my attack was was on the parapet. The light battery of Rockheard. In the event the attack proved success-well was immediately pushed to the front, and ful, the other operations of the day were to be took its position at the second hedge, and the determined by the circumstances of the occasion. Highlanders, led by Morrison, seeing the hot fire
My command was all in order of battle at half- to which the Eighth Michigan was exposed, pushpast three o'clock at the outer pickets, the head ed forward at the double-quick, and moving from of my column being within rifle-range of the ad- the left to the right of the field, entered a narrow vanced position of the enemy. The First bri- opening, gained the parapet to the right of the gade, Col. Fenton commanding, consisting of the point reached by the Eighth Michigan, and shot Eighth Michigan, Lieut.-Col. Frank Graves com- down the enemy whilst serving their guns. manding, the Seventh Connecticut, Lieut.-Col. J. The front on which the attack was made was R. Hawley commanding, and the Twenty-eighth narrow, not over two hundred yards in extent, Massachusetts, Lieut. Col. M. Moore command-stretching from the marsh on the one side to the ing, being in front, and the brigade of Col. Leas- marsh on the other. It wils at the saddle of the urc, consisting of the Seventy-ninth Highlanders, ' peninsula, the ground narrowing very suddenly
GENERAL STEVENS'S REPORT.
at this point from our advance. On either hand had taken on that flank, and do the best, in conwere bushes on the edge of the marsh for some lit- cert with our attack, the circumstances of the tle distance. The whole space at the saddle was ground permitted. The movement of Col. Wiloccupied by the enemy's work, impracticable liams was, in my judgment, the best thing that abattis on either hand, with carefully prepared could be done, and he executed it in a manner trous de loup, and in front a ditch seven feet worthy of all admiration. deep, with a parapet of hard-packed earth, having Some time was occupied in establishing the a relief of some nine feet above the general sur whole line at the advanced hedge. The remains face of the ground. On the fort was mounted of two or three companies of the Eighth Michi. six guns, covering the field of our approach. The gan, and of several companies of the Highlanders whole interior of the work was swept by fire from never once abandoned their advanced positions the rifle-pits and defences in the rear, and the on the right and left of the enemy's works, till flank of the work itself, and the bushes lining the ordered to do so at a subsequent period of the marsh on either hand, were under the fire of rifle- action, and the remainder of the regiments were men and sharp-shooters, stationed in the woods gallantly led - that of the Eighth Michigan, by and defences lying between the work and the Capt
. Ely, twice wounded, and the only officer village of Secessionville.
of the storming party not killed or disabled, and It will thus be seen that the whole front was that of the Highlanders by their gallant Lieutscarcely enough to deploy a single regiment. Col. Col. Morrison, who, wounded in the head on the Fenton, in command of the First brigade, used parapet, seemed only the more eager to lead on cvery exertion to throw the Eighth Michigan as to the assault. The Seventh Connecticut also far to the right as possible, and to bring on, in moved up in a beautiful and sustained line of support, the Seventh Connecticut and the Twen- battle ; for it must be borne in mind there had ty-eighth Massachusetts, but the terrible fire of not been the least panic or running from the field grape and musketry from the enemy's works cut on the part of a single regiment. Commands, in the two former regiments in two, the right going consequence of the roughness of the ground, the to the right and the left to the left, whither, final- unexpected abrupt narrowing of the front at the ly, the whole of the Twenty-eighth Massachu- neck of the peninsula, the destructive fire of setts took its position, and where they were join- grape and musketry from the enemy, and the raed without scarcely an interval of time, by the pidity with which regiment followed regiment, One Hundredth Pennsylvania and the Forty-sixth were divided, became somewhat intermingled, New-York, of Leasure's brigade. These regi- and it was simply a necessity to disentangle and ments had been brought up with great prompt re-form them. Not a fugitive did I observe passness and energy by Col. Leasure, and the right ing from the battle-field. of the One Hundredth had pushed up to and The battery which had been temporarily withjoined the Seventy-ninth in their charge. drawn to the road, was again advanced to the
It was during this brief period of less than one hedge, and opened a destructive fire upon the half hour — from five to half-past five o'clock enemy. Of my entire command, all were thus that the greater portion of the casualties occured. advanced except the Twenty-eighth MassachuThe Eighth Michigan made the most heroic exer- setts, which had withdrawn, and now cupied a tions, and suffered the most terrible losses. Cap- position on the left at the road. tains Pratt, Church, Guild, and Lieut. Cattrell, The command was in excellent spirits and in commanding companies, were killed, and Capts. a position enabling them clearly to discern the Doyle and Lewis and Lieut. Bates, commanding effect of our fire, and were prepared and eager to companies, were wounded on or near the parapet be led to the assault. The flank movement by of the work. My, Aid-de-Camp, Lieut. Lyons, Williams was having a very marked effect. I who led the storming party, and the first man to sent word to Brig.-Gen. Benham, commanding cross the ditch, was severely wounded on the the forces, through his staff-officer, Capt. Elwell, berme of the work, and was obliged to retire. Of that my troops were in line of battle, my guns twenty-two officers of that regiment who went in position at the hedge, and that I was preparinto action, twelve were killed and wounded. ing to move upon the enemy's works.
Seeing that without supports and re-forming At this stage of the action, Williams's troops the line it was useless to continue the contest, I were withdrawn, and I learned from staff-officers, ordered the troops to be so formed on the hedge who reported to Gen. Benham in person, that nearest the works, and the regiments that had they were withdrawn by his orders. I still mainsuffered most, namely, the Eighth Michigan, the tained my advanced position. Nor did I withSeventy-ninth Highlanders, and the Seventh Con- draw a regiment till, by the orders of Gen. Bennecticut, to be withdrawn to the second hedge, ham, Williams's had been entirely withdrawn, and to be re-formed.
every regiment of Wright's, except the NinetyIt was not until in execution of this order the seventh, had passed to the rear of the road. My line at the advanced hedge had been formed, and troops were then withdrawn in good order, and the regiments at the second hedge were forming, were returned to their several encampments. that Col. Williams's advance was to be seen to our I must express my profound sense of the inleft, and soon afterward his Aid-de-Camp, Lieut. trepid bearing and soldierly conduct of my briAdams, reported to me for orders. My orders to gade commanders, Colonels Leasure and Fenton, Col. Williams were to maintain the position hel who did every thing that commanders could do
to lead their respective brigades to the attack; gineer company the storming party, did most exand it is mainly due to their exertions that their cellent service, first at the advanced hedge, unlines of battle were maintained throughout the der circumstances of great exposure, preparing action. Col. Fenton left a sick-bed to command embrasures for Rockwell's battery, and afterward his brigade, and the bold, well-sustained charge at the road, removing obstructions therefrom, and of the Eighth Michigan regiment was made under arranging the openings in the hedge both for inhis direction, as was that of the Seventy-ninth fantry and artillery. Highlanders, led by Morrison, was under the There was no opportunity for cavalry movedirection of Col. Leasure. All which these offi- ments proper; but the orderlies furnished from cers have to say in commendation of their staff, Capt. Sargeant's company did most gallant serI know from personal observation to be true. vice, and the remainder of his company served
To my own staff I am under the greatest obli- effectively as videttes and pickets. Two men of gations, and it is owing to the great harmony and his company were severely wounded and two concert of action between myself and brigade horses were killed. and regimental commanders, and their respective The firing from the batteries at the point by staffs, that exact information was had in regard company F, Third Rhode Island volunteers, Capt. to the field, and that the command was not longer Charles G. Strahan commanding, was commenced exposed, without purpose, to a destructive fire. immediately after the unsuccessful charge of our My Assistant Adjt.-Gen., Capt. Hazard Stevens, troops had been made upon the works of the enewas in all parts of the field carrying my orders my. Although having every gun but one disand bringing me information, to the great expo- abled very soon after the commencement of the sure of his life, as was Aid, Captain William T. action, the firing was conducted with great preLusk and my Acting Aid, Lieut. o. M. Dearborn, cision and regularity, nearly every shot taking Third New-Ilampshire volunteers. Lieut. Lyons, effect in the fort, or in the woods in rear of my Junior Aid, led the storming column; was the work, where the large force of the enemy the first man to cross the ditch and make the were lying. The single gun was worked with as ascent of the parapet. My Division Quartermas- much rapidity as possible during the entire enter, Lieut. Jefferson Justice, One Hundredth Penn- gagement, in the course of which one sergeant sylvania volunteers, volunteered his most accept- was killed. able services at the outer pickets and served on The gunboats Ellen and Hall came into action my staff throughout the action. He communi- at a later hour, but by their excellent range, obcated with me and Leasure's brigade, and I call tained by the assistance of Signal-Officer Howard, attention to his services so conspicuous for their who had been upon the Ellen for several succesgallantry, and to the mention made of him in sive days, did very great execution among the Col. Leasure's report. My Signal-Officers, Lieuts. ranks of the enemy. Although the gunboats did Taffts and Howard, are worthy of honorable men- not advance up the river as far as could have tion. Lieut. Taffts took his station in an ad been desired, in order to give a more effective vanced and exposed part of the field, kept con- flanking fire upon the fort, still much credit is stantly in communication with Lieut. Howard at due them for the wonderful precision with which the gunboats, and Lieut. E. H. Hickock, Seventy- their fire was directed at such long range. sixth Pennsylvania at the battery, and was per
The whole force which went into action was as fectly efficient and self-possessed under the heavy follows: discharges of grape from the enemy. In the latter part of the action he carried iny orders and aided in the formations and movements.
First Brigade, Col. Fenton Comd'g. The staff-officers of Col. Leasure, were:
Lieut. S. G. Leasure, One Hundredth regiment Eighth Regiment Michigan Volunteers,.... Pennsylvania volunteers, Acting Assistant-Adju- Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers,
Twenty-eighth Regiment Mass. Volunteers, tant General. Lieut. Jefferson Justice. The staff-officers of Col. Fenton, were:
Total First Brigade,....
57 1,602 1,676 Lieut. S. C. Brackett, Twenty-eighth regiment Two companies of the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers, Acting Assistant-Adju- did not join their regiment.
Massachusetts were on fatigue-duty, and tant General.
Lieut. H. G. Belcher, Eighth Michigan, Aid-de-Second Brigade, Col. Leasure Comdoo. Camp.
Seventy-ninth Highlanders, N. Y. Vols,.. Lieut. Jas. B. Fenton, Eighth Michigan, Aid One Hundredth Regiment Pa. Vols., de-Camp.
Forty-sixth Regiment, N. Y. Vols.,. Lieutenant Belcher, though early and severely Total Second Brigade,
58 1,302 1,369 wounded, continued actively on duty throughout
Rockwell's Artillery, the action, and was the last man to leave the field. Strahan's Artillery, .
Capt. A. P. Rockwell, of the Connecticut bat- Sears's Company of Engineers,.. tery, deserves particular mention for his gallant Sargent's Company of Cavalry,. bearing and skilful handling of his guns on that Total Special Arms,... field. His senior Lieutenant, S. P. Porter, was General Staff,. remarkable for his energy, daring and persistence
Grand total, ....
13,337 throughout Capt. Sears, following with his en
21 1S 18
509 678 5:20
a) 237 Total
534 699 644
21 18 19
450 474 400 421 452 474
73 85 59 4S
77 89 61 50
Killed. Wunded. Pris'ers. Total,
9 114 0
1 0 0
29 314 12 179
Moreover, the Seventh Connecticut had been Company H, First Massachusetts cavalry, Capt. on very severe fatigue-duty the three previous L. M. Sargent, two wounded. nights. I desire, in this official report, to place Company E, volunteer Engineers, Capt. A. F. on record my objections to these early morning Sears, one wounded. attacks. They are justifiable, in my humble Total of special arms, one killed and three judgment, only under extraordinary circum- wounded. stances. The troops get necessarily but little rest the night before, and they go to the work total loss is as follows:
The missing are unquestionably killed, and the fatigued and excited. An attack at a more advanced period of the day I consider vastly prefer
Agireable. These views I presented with all possible cogency and earnestness to Gen. Benham on the First Brigade,... 4 evening of the fifteenth-in stating my objections Second Brigade, 3 to his proposed attack at daylight on the morning Special Arms,...
51 of the sixteenth. I must confess that the cool
81 498 529 ness and mobility of all the troops engaged on the sixteenth instant surprised me. ·And I can- Total loss, 32 officers; 497 men, or grand aggrenot but believe, had proper use been made of the gate, 529 men. artillery, guns from the navy, and our own bat- The medical officers of the division were, and teries, fixed and field ; had the position been have been, unwearied in their exertions and atgradually approached and carefully examined, tentions upon the wounded, both on the battleand the attack made much later in the day, when field and in the hospital. The Medical Director our batteries had had their full effect, all which, of my division, Dr. George S. Kemble, is specialyou will recollect, were strongly urged by me ly entitled to commendation for his good arrangeupon Gen. Benham, the evening of the confer- ments and activity. ence, the result might have been very different. I herewith submit the reports of brigade and
From the best information I can get, I am sat- regimental commanders, and of commanders of isfied the force of the enemy on the Peninsula, at special arms. I call special attention to the menSecessionville and in the immediate defence of his tion therein of gallant conduct on the part of works, was five regiments, or about three thou- both officers and men. Where so much intrepid. sand effective men. It was the headquarters of ity and devotion were exhibited, I cannot do his advanced forces on James Island, and was in more than refer to the sub-reports, with the excommand of a general officer.
pression of my judgment that every case noted is The casualties in the action of the sixteenth well deserved. were as follows:
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your most obedient,
Isaac I. STEVENS,
COLONEL FENTON'S OFFICIAL REPORT.
JAMES ISLAND, June 17, 1862.
eral Second Division :
Sir: I have to report for the information of the Brigadier-General commanding Second Division, the part taken by this brigade in the attack of yesterday on the enemy's batteries.
Agreeably to orders the brigade was in readiness to move at one o'clock A.M., sixteenth, and at two o'clock in line, moved to the two houses.
After specific orders were received from Brig..
Gen. Stevens, who advanced with us, and at the Eighth Michigan,..
8 93 2 80 113 135 18172 185 Seventh Connecticut,..
head of the line, the brigade was put in motion Twenty-eighth Mass... 0 8 2 40 1 4 0 6 0 6 3 64 67 by the right flank in perfect quiet and silence, Totals,... 3 26 12 1971 327 1 20 1.44 20 314 334
Lieut. Lyon, Aid to Gen. Stevens, in advance
with guide. First, two companies, C, Capt. Ely, SECOND BRIGADE, COLONEL DAX, LEASURE,
and H, Capt. Doyle, of the Eighth Michigan volForty-sixth New-York,/ 11 51 215) 0 0 0 1 091 31 30 88
unteers, for the advance skirmishers and attackSeventy-ninth N. Y... 1 8 6 51 017 0 9 0 19 6 109 110 ing party; second, the remaining companies of One Hundredth Pa.,.. 1 8 2 30 0 1 0 0 0 6 3 45 48 the Eighth Michigan, under command of Lieut.. Totals, 321) 9 96 0,18 0 10 0 34 12 179|191
Col. Graves; third, Seventh Connecticut volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Hawley, followed by a section
of the Connecticut battery ; fourth, TwentyCompany I, Third Rhode Island volunteers, eighth Massachusetts volunteers, Lieut.-Colonel Captain C. G. Strahan, one killed.
Moore. On passing the house beyond the marsh,
31 0 1 0 8 4 78 82