Union Flag Carrier U. S. CIVIL WAR
Confederate Flag Carrier


(PAGE 3 OF 5)

Source: O.R.-- Series I--Volume XI/2 (With Editing - Ed)



Early on the 29th Longstreet and A. P. Hill were ordered to recross the Chickahominy at New Bridge, and move by the Darbytown to the Long Bridge road. Maj. R. K. Meade and Lieut. S. R. Johnston, the Engineers, attached to General Longstreet's division, who had been sent to reconnoiter, found, about sunrise, the work on the upper extremity of the enemy's line of intrenchments abandoned. Generals Huger and Magruder were immediately ordered in pursuit, the former by the Charles City road, so as to take the Federal Army in flank, and the latter by the Williamsburg road, to attack its rear. Jackson was directed to cross at Grapevine Bridge and move down the south side of the Chickahominy. Magruder and Huger found the whole line of works deserted and large quantities of military stores of every description abandoned or destroyed.

The former reached the vicinity of Savage Station about noon, where he came upon the rear guard of the retreating army. Being informed that the enemy was advancing, he halted and sent for re-enforcements. Two brigades of Huger's division were ordered to his support, but subsequently withdrawn, it being apparent that the force in Magruder's front was covering the retreat of the main body. Jackson's route led to the flank and rear of Savage Station, but he was delayed by the necessity of reconstructing Grapevine Bridge.

Late in the afternoon Magruder attacked the enemy with one of his divisions and two regiments of another. A severe action ensued and continued about two hours, when it was terminated by night. The troops displayed great, gallantry and inflicted heavy loss upon the enemy; but, owing to the lateness of the hour and the small force employed, the result was not decisive, and the enemy continued his retreat under cover of darkness, leaving several hundred prisoners, with his dead and wounded, in our hands. At Savage Station were found about 2,500 men in hospital and a large amount of property. Stores of much value had been destroyed, including the necessary medical supplies for the sick and wounded. But the time gained enabled the retreating column to cross White Oak Swamp without interruption and destroy the bridge.


Jackson reached Savage Station early on the 30th. He was directed to pursue the enemy on the road he had taken and Magruder to follow Longstreet by the Darbytown road. As Jackson advanced he captured such numbers of prisoners and collected so many arms that two regiments had to be detached for their security. His progress was arrested at White Oak Swamp. The enemy occupied the opposite side and obstinately resisted the reconstruction of the bridge.

Longstreet and A. P. Hill, continuing their advance on the 30th, soon came upon the enemy strongly posted across the Long Bridge road, about 1 mile from its intersection with the Charles City road. Huger's route led to the right of this position, Jackson's to the rear, and the arrival of their commands was awaited to begin the attack.

On the 29th General Holmes had crossed from the south side of James River with part of his division.

On the 30th, re-enforced by General Wise with a detachment of his brigade, he moved down the river road and came upon the line of the retreating army near Malvern Hill. Perceiving indications of confusion, General Holmes was ordered to open upon the column with artillery. He soon discovered that a number of batteries, advantageously posted, supported by an infantry force superior to his own and assisted by the fire of the gunboats in the James River, guarded this part of the line.

Magruder, who had reached the Darbytown road, was ordered to re-enforce Holmes, but being at a greater distance than had been supposed, he did not reach the position of the latter in time for an attack.

Huger reported that his progress was obstructed, but about 4 p.m. firing was heard in the direction of the Charles City road, which was supposed to indicate his approach. Longstreet immediately opened with one of his batteries to give notice of his presence. This brought on the engagement, but Huger not coming up, and Jackson having been unable to force the passage of White Oak Swamp, Longstreet and Hill were without the expected support. The superiority of numbers and advantage of position were on the side of the enemy.

The battle raged furiously until 9 p.m. By that time the enemy had been driven with great slaughter from every position but one, which he maintained until he was enabled to withdraw under cover of darkness. At the close of the struggle nearly the entire field remained in our possession, covered with the enemy's dead and wounded. Many prisoners, including a general of division, were captured, and several batteries, with some thousands of small-arms, taken. Could the other commands have co-operated in the action the result would have proved most disastrous to the enemy.

After the engagement Magruder was recalled to relieve the troops of Longstreet and Hill. His men, much fatigued by their long, hot march, arrived during the night.



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