June 29, 1862
From the Official Records, Maj. Gen. McClellan on the action of the 53rd PVI at the “Battle of Allen’s Farm”-
“…General Sumner vacated his works at Fair Oaks on June 29 at daylight, and marched his command to Orchard Station, halting at Allen’s field, between Orchard and Savage Stations. The divisions of Richardson and Sedgwick were formed on the right of the railroad, facing toward Richmond, Richardson holding the right and Sedgwick joining the right of Heintzelman’s corps. The first line of Richardson’s division was held by General French, General Caldwell supporting in the second. A log building in front of Richardson’s division was held by Colonel Brooke with one regiment (Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers), with Hazzard’s battery on an elevated piece of ground, a little in rear of Coonel Brooke’s command.
“At 9:00 a.m. the enemy commenced a furious attack on the right of General Sedgwick, but were repulsed. The left of General Richardson was next attacked, the enemy attempting to carry the position of Colonel Brooke. Captain Hazzard’s battery, and Pettit’s battery, which afterward replaced it, were served with great effect, while the Fifty-third Pennsylvania kept up a steady fire on the advancing enemy, compelling them at last to retire in disorder. The enemy renewed the attack three times, but were as often repulsed…”
From the Official Records:
Report of Brig. Gen. Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army, commanding First Division, of engagement at Peach Orchard, or Allen’s Farm, battle of Savage Station, engagement at White Oak Swamp Bridge, and battles of Glendale, or Nelson’s Farm (Frazier’s Farm), and Malvern Hill.
HEADQUARTERS RICHARDSON’S DIVISION,
July 6, 1862.
Lieutenant KIP, Aide-de-Camp.
DEAR SIR: In compliance with order I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by my division in the several actions of Allen’s Farm, Savage Station, Nelson’s Farm, and Malverton: On Friday, June 27, while in the intrenchments erected by my division in front of the station at Fair Oaks, and late in the afternoon of that day, I received orders from General Sumner, commanding the corps, to detach two of my brigades to the assistance of General Porter, on the opposite side of the Chickahominy. I was directed to remain with the remaining one to defend the intrenchments. The brigades of Generals French and Meagher were accordingly detached, under command of the former officer, and I remained with the brigade of General Caldwell and the batteries of Captains Hazzard and Pettit to hold the line at Fair Oaks. The operations of the command of General French and the stand that he made against the enemy, who were already pursuing the routed columns of General Porter, are fully set forth in the accompanying report of the former.
His command returned to the division next morning, after performing the duty assigned to it. Saturday, June 28, I was ordered to get my division ready for a move, and accordingly the tents were struck, wagons packed and sent off to Savage Station, and late in the afternoon I was ordered to detach the brigade of General Meagher to that station, to report to Major-General McClellan for duty, which was done. The whole day and night were consumed in waiting orders to move. About daylight on Sunday, June 29, I left as a rear guard to the army with my two remaining brigades and my two batteries. On arriving at Allen’s farm, distant some 2 miles, I was directed by General Sumner to form line of battle facing toward Richmond, and my left flank in connection with the right of Sedgwick, both of us being on the right of the railroad. I formed the line with General French’s brigade in the front line and General Caldwell in second line. At the suggestion of General French I obtained permission of General Sumner to occupy a large house and some log buildings in front of my position as an advanced redoubt. This was done by Colonel Brooke with his regiment, the Fifty-third Pennsylvania. I also placed four pieces of Hazzard’s battery on an elevated piece of ground a little in rear of Colonel Brooke’s advance, and supported by two regiments. The two positions taken together I considered as a key to the whole position.
These arrangements had hardly been effected when the enemy made his appearance in our front in force, attacking the right of General Sedgwick’s and the left of my division with great vigor. Colonel Brooke was soon engaged with the enemy’s infantry and a battery of artillery which he now brought against us. The battery of Hazzard was now in full action. Only the limber-boxes had been retained by him (by my directions), and his caissons had been sent off to Savage Station. We soon brought them back, however, at a gallop before his supplies in the limbers had been exhausted. I also sent for Pettit’s Battery to come back from Savage Station, which it did about that time. The enemy in the mean time had made great efforts against the position of Colonel Brooke, but he bravely maintained himself, assisted by the battery, and was re-enforced also by a regiment of General Sedgwick’s division, the Seventy-first Pennsylvania. Soon after the return of that portion of the artillery which had been sent for the enemy fell back and disappeared in the wood.
compiled by Scott Kunkle & Joel Peterson, 1999