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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1864 Report

Appendix F

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, SMITH'S DIVISION,
July 9, 1862.

SIR: I have respectfully to report the operations of the brigade from the 27th June until its arrival on the James River. On the 27th ultimo, at Golding's farm, the Fourth Vermont, Col. Stoughton, was in support of Hancock's brigade on the picket, and became very hotly engaged with the enemy across the open field which separated the two lines. The Second, Fifth, and Sixth Vermont were brought up in support of the movement, but did not become engaged. They were under a heavy fire in their approach to the line. On the 27th and 28th the camp of the brigade was subjected to a shelling from the enemy, to which there was no means of reply. That of the 28th was so destructive that a change of camp was made prior to the grand movement of changing the base of the army over to the James River.

On the 29th the brigade left its camp near Golding's farm, as part of the division, to make the change of base. After passing Savage Station en route for the White Oak the division was ordered to return to that point, on account of an attack being made by the enemy. The brigade was formed in this order: The Fifth Vermont, Lieut.-Col. Grant, in line on the right; the Sixth Vermont, Col. Lord, deployed to the left; the Second Vermont, Col. Whiting, in column of division in support of the Fifth; the Third Vermont, Lieut.-Col. Veazey, in column in support of the Sixth. In this manner the brigade entered the woods that bound the plain to the left and south of the station.

After advancing through a dense wood, preceded by two companies of the Second Vermont, under Major Walbridge, about 1 miles, we came upon the enemy, and a brisk fire of musketry was opened on both sides, and kept up until darkness seemed to terminate the action. The Fifth Vermont, Lieut.-Col. Grant, debouched from the woods into an open field, where they found a large regiment of the enemy posted, which they routed in gallant style. As soon as the firing commenced the Second and Third, that were in column, soon deployed, and got hotly engaged with the enemy, as well as the two regiments that were originally in line. The conduct of the troops in this action was generally very commendable. Of those that came under my own eye I take pleasure in mentioning the names of Col. Lord, Lieut.-Col. Grant, Lieut.-Col. Blunt, Lieut.-Col. Veazey, Lieut.-Col. Joyce, and Major Seavet, Major Tuttle, Major Stowell, of the Ninth Vermont, on duty with the Fifth, Capt. Johnson, and Lieut. Bliss, Second Vermont, as being exceedingly active in leading on the men and keeping up those disposed to straggle. I regret not to be able to mention many others that I saw on that occasion, but whose names were not known to me. I must trust to the discretion of the regimental commanders to see that full justice is done their respective commands by mentioning those worthy of mention.

After the engagement the brigade retired across the White Oak Swamp. While lying there on the 30th the enemy succeeded in posting a number of batteries on the opposite side of the swamp, that commanded the camp of the brigade so perfectly that it was impossible for the troops to remain in it a minute. The camp was moved in great haste to a safe point near at hand. No other incident worthy of mention attended this march to the present encampment.

It is with much satisfaction that I commend to favorable notice the officers of my personal staff, Capt. Theodore Read, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut.s Noyes and Parsons, aides-de-camp, who were very active and untiring in the performance of their appropriate duties throughout these trying days, and especially during the various shellings and the action at Savage Station.

I regret to say that circumstances made it necessary to leave many of the wounded in the action at Savage Station at that point. Surg. William P. Russell, Fifth Vermont, and Asst. Surg. William J. Sawin, Second Vermont, were detailed to remain there in charge and to administer such assistance as was in their power. It is due to these officers to say that their sense of humanity overcame their reluctance to this order, and that they entered on their duty with great cheerfulness.

Inclosed I herewith transmit the official reports of the respective regimental commanders.

Very respectfully,

W. T. H. BROOKS,
Brig. Gen., Commanding.

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