Report of Lieut. Col. Frank S. Fiske, Second New Hampshire Infantry
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 401
HDQRS. SECOND REGIMENT N.H. VOLUNTEERS,
Camp Sullivan, near Washington, July 27, 1861
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers during the march and battle on the 21st instant. I give the time of our different movements as nearly as possible:
The regiment left its camp near Centreville at 2 o’clock a.m., and immediately took its place in the column of the Second Brigade, under Colonel Burnside. We continued in the column of the brigade until near the field of battle. On arriving at the battle-field (10.30) we were ordered up to support the Rhode Island Battery. Before arriving at the place indicated we were ordered on to the crest of a hill, in a field considerably to the right, exposed to the fire of the enemy’s batteries. We here fired upon some battalions said to be Georgia troops, who retired to the shelter of the woods opposite. After they retired the regiment was withdrawn under the shelter of the brow of the hill. We were then ordered to the left to support the Rhode Island Battery. The men took their position and fired several volleys. Colonel Marston was wounded here and carried to the rear (11.30 a.m.).
We were moved from here to a position on the left and in advance of the Rhode-Island Battery, where we fired a few shots at the retreating enemy. After remaining here an hour, more or less, we were ordered to report ourselves to Colonel Heintzelman (1 o’clock p.m.). The regiment moved to a position near his column, and I sent the sergeant-major there several times to report the regiment ready to render any succor or support they were able to afford. The sergeant-major was unable to meet with Colonel Heintzelman or his staff. After remaining in our position some time I received an order (2.30 p.m.) to advance to a position indicated, which was to the left and a quarter of a mile in advance of the troops engaged in that part of the field. The enemy were screened from our sight. As the men were exposed to fire from a battery and from musketry, I ordered them to lie down, and fire whenever any of the enemy were exposed.
After a short time we were ordered to withdraw. The men retired leisurely and in perfectly good order, halting once under the shelter of some woods. On our way to join our brigade we were ordered by an officer of dragoons, whose regiment was in advance in the retreat, to make haste, or we should be cut off by the enemy’s cavalry. Our column was formed again in the brigade, but before the formation was complete the retreat began, and continued, with a short rest at our former camp, near Centreville, to Washington.
The men obeyed orders with coolness and precision during the whole day. They took every position they were ordered to, and never wavered or retired until ordered to do so, and were among the last, if not the last, to leave the field. Their retreat on the whole route to their camp was unattended by tumult or any disorder further than leaving their ranks. Their conduct throughout the day inspires me with entire confidence in their courage and steadiness, and I hope will meet your commendation.
FRANK S. FISKE,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Second. N.H. Volunteers