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´╗┐Title: Notes of a staff officer of our First New Jersey Brigade on the Seven Day's Battle on the peninsula in 1862
Author: Grubb, E. Burd
Language: English
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                        Notes of a Staff Officer
                                 of our
                        First New Jersey Brigade
                                 on the
                       Seven Day's Battle on the
                           Peninsula in 1862

                             E. Burd Grubb
                Brevet Brigadier General U. S. Volunteers

                           MOORESTOWN, N. J.
                        MOORESTOWN PRINTING CO.

                The Seven Day's Battle on the Peninsula
                 as Seen by a Lieutenant on the Staff

Camille Baquet, Esq.,
    Historian of First New Jersey Brigade,
        Elizabeth, N. J.


In accordance with your request I give you herewith my recollections of
the Battle of Gaines' Mills. In order to give a minute description of
this battle, it may be well to describe where the New Jersey Brigade
started from to go into it, and how it came to be where it did start

The Brigade had been at the village of Mechanicsville about three and a
half miles from Richmond on the northern side of the Chickahominy during
the latter part of the month of May. It was moved up from Mechanicsville
about a mile and a half west up the Chickahominy near the Meadow Bridge,
but was not on picket at that bridge when Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry
attacked the picket of the United States Cavalry commanded by Captain
Royal and killed a number of his men and desperately wounded that
officer. Captain Royal was well known in Burlington, New Jersey, he
having married a sister of Admiral John Howell of that city.

The brigade was withdrawn soon after that and moved down the
Chickahominy taking the road on top of the northern ridge and stopping
near Dr. Gaines' house.

On the 31st of May the brigade was under orders to move at a moment's
notice and the Battle of Fair Oaks was in progress on the southern side
of the river. Part of it could be seen and a good deal of it heard.

On the morning of the first of June the brigade moved down across the
Chickahominy and out on the battle field of Fair Oaks. General Taylor
informed me that we had been held in reserve through the morning and
were considered the support of the second line. We were not engaged
because the fight was practically over before we reached the field, but
Captain George Wood, whose mother lived next to my father's house in
Burlington and who was captain in a Pennsylvania regiment, was carried
by and spoke to me while I was sitting on my horse with General Taylor
at the edge of the battle field. Captain Wood was shot through the leg.
The brigade was encamped on this battle field along the eastern side of
the road running to Richmond, having crossed on what was known as the
Grapevine Bridge, across the Chickahominy, and while there I visited the
Second Brigade, many of whom, particularly in the Fifth Regiment, came
from Burlington. George Burling, afterwards Gen. Burling, commanded a
regiment. They had had a very desperate fight and many of them had been
killed and wounded. They were camped directly on the spot where they had
fought, and for many reasons it was the most disagreeable camp I ever
saw, dead men and dead horses having been only covered with perhaps six
inches or a foot of earth and the stench and the flies exceeded anything
I ever saw before or since. We remained here until the morning of the
27th of June. All through the afternoon of the 26th up to nine o'clock
that night there had been a heavy battle raging at and around
Mechanicsville and the roar of the guns and the flashes of the shells
had been very continuous. Early in the morning of the 27th the brigade
was moved down with the rest of Slocum's division near the Grapevine
Bridge and over the small hill from which the north side of the
Chickahominy River could be very well seen.

It is my recollection that the tents which were of course shelter tents,
and the knap-sacks of all the brigade, were left in the camp when we
moved out that morning and the reason I think so is because I was in
charge of the detail which buried the knap-sacks of the entire Fourth
Regiment which were in their camp when we returned late on the night of
the 27th after the battle. These knap-sacks were buried on the morning
of the 28th of June, 1862, and while I have never been at the place
since, although I have visited the battle field of Gaines' Mills twice,
I have always thought that I could find this place. If the members of
the Fourth Regiment have not already done so, of this I do not know.

About eight o'clock in the morning General Taylor directed me to go over
the river and get some idea of the topography of the ground upon which
we would probably fight. After crossing the river, riding across, I went
to the westward, crossing a field or two, and came to a barn on the top
of which were some signal officers, one of whom I knew, he being from my
own regiment. He asked me to come up on top of the barn, and I climbed
up and from there about half a mile away through a small gap in the
woods, I watched a solid column of the enemy passing from left to right,
until I was sure that a very heavy body of infantry was making that
movement, I then went to the northwestward until I came to our line of
battle. The men were lying down along the edge of the pine woods and so
far as I saw, there was no rifle pit or attempt of any shelter of that
kind, I rode along for certainly the length of the entire division and
got a fair idea of the lay of the land, and I saw a place which has
considerable to do with my account of this battle. It was a swale or
shallow ravine possibly, where it came through the pine woods, about six
feet deep and one hundred feet wide. On the northwest side of it there
was a peach orchard and high grass and from the configuration of the
country, I judged that the swale was formed from the water wash through
that orchard towards the Chickahominy. There was no creek or rivulet
going through it, but there was quite a deep ditch running along in the
fields to the eastward perpendicular to the direction of the swale. Our
line of battle was not in the ditch but considerably to the westward of
it, say one hundred and fifty yards, I do not remember what troops were
there, but I think that at least some of them were Regulars. My reason
for thinking so is because I spoke to and saw regular officers whom I
knew. The line of battle was not extended across this swale when I saw
it in the morning, nor was it in the afternoon when I saw it again. I
extended my observations along the line of battle for probably a mile to
which this swale was nearly a central point. I made careful observations
because I could not tell where our brigade would go in. I made a pencil
sketch of the line as it appeared to me and returned to General Taylor
with as much information as I could give him together with the sketch.
The swale and ditch were marked upon the sketch as was also the barn
where the signal officers were, and the general direction and the
distance from the bridge head as near as I could give it. I do not know
why it occurred to me that the course of the brigade should be to the
left after we crossed the bridge, but it was so, and the reason I did
think so was because I saw immediately that that was the weakest part of
our line of battle.

About two o'clock in the afternoon we had not yet crossed the bridge. It
will be remembered that one of the names of this battle of Gaines'
Mills, is the "noiseless battle." A four o'clock in the afternoon there
were nearly sixty thousand men engaged, having a great number of
cannon, firing an immense number of cartridges, (of course at that time
loaded with black noisy powder) and it is a fact that persons within two
miles of that battle never heard a sound of it. Ordinarily the noise of
that battle would easily have been heard for fifty miles.

I remember afterwards that although the smoke of the guns and of the
musketry and the bursting of the shells in the air was distinctly
visible to all of us; yet there was exceedingly little or no noise where
we were until after we crossed the bridge, although we were within
three-quarters of a mile from where the battle was going on.

I think there are only one or two occasions in the history of the world
in which such peculiar conditions of the atmosphere existed at the time
of battle. About three o'clock one of General Slocum's aides came to
General Taylor with orders to cross the bridge at once, we moved down
and crossed, and were directed to move obliquely to the left and take
position in a large field which was a clover field, in echelon. The
battalions were closed in mass on the centre with intervals of one
hundred and twenty paces between the battalions. The Fourth Regiment was
the left rear echelon; the Third was the next; then the Second; then the
First. The field was a very large one and sloped both ways, first the
rise from the river to the top of it, then a slope towards the pine
woods which I have spoken of on the northern side. In forming the
echelon, all the brigade passed over the crest of the hill. As soon as
the brigade was in this position General Taylor ordered arms in place

In front of us and about five hundred yards away there was going on a
very severe battle, and many bullets came up from the woods and some
cannon balls and shells. In a few moments the General sent orders to the
brigade to lie down. Just as we came into position, a brigade which had
been fighting in the woods right in front of us and which contained
Duryea's Regiment of Zouaves of New York, fell back out of the woods not
in very much disorder, but breaking both to the right and left. Their
place was taken by Sykes' Brigade of the regular army which passed into
their place coming from the left and which went into position just about
the time that our men lay down on the hill. The regulars took up a fight
which commenced to rage again with great fury; their line pressed into
the woods and disappeared from our sight. The bullets commenced to come
out of the woods and come in where we were in a very disagreeable
manner, which I distinctly remember, as I sat on my horse with much
more apparent coolness than I really felt, alongside of the General who
certainly was very cool. In a few moments a very great many wounded men
began to come back from the woods, some being carried, some being
assisted, and some limping back themselves; and before very long an aide
of General Slocum's came to General Taylor and ordered him to put his
brigade in line of battle and advance. At this moment an incident
occurred of which I was personally cognizant and part of which I was an
eye witness to. I may digress here for a moment, and say that on the
crest of the hill of which I have spoken and which we passed, lying
between the Fourth and the Third Regiments, was a battery of seven
machine guns, the first that were ever tried in battle, I believe, and
the only ones I think at that time in any army of the world. They were
called the "Union Coffee Mill Guns" and consisted of a single rifle
barrel with an arrangement like a hopper at the butt of the barrel, into
which cartridges were put, and the turning of a crank did the rest. I
have also called to mind the fact that at the battle of Gaines' Mills
the first New Jersey Brigade used a cartridge in which the powder and
ball were enclosed together in some inflammable paper, it not being
necessary to bite the cartridge but merely to put it in the rifle and
ram down. I do not think they were ever used after the Peninsula
Campaign, but the brigade was furnished with from sixty to eighty of
these cartridges per man at the battle of Gaines' Mills, I think the
"Union Coffee Mill Guns" had this same kind of a cartridge, but I am not
sure of this.

Sergeant Dalzell of the Third New Jersey Regiment in the writhings of
this battle was for a time in charge of this battery and I think that
finally all the guns were lost. The reason that I speak about this
battery so particularly is because it was at a trial of these machine
guns some weeks previous at which I was present, by General Taylor's
orders, I met for the first time the two French officers now known as
the Comte de Paris, the Bourbon Pretender to the throne of France, and
his cousin the Duke de Chartres. These officers I subsequently met on
several occasions when I was sent with messages from General Taylor to
General McClellan while the brigade occupied the extreme right of the
army above Mechanicsville near the Meadow Bridge. I knew them by sight
and from introduction and they did not very much resemble each other.

Immediately after General Slocum's aide had given orders to General
Taylor to advance his brigade and before the brigade had gotten into
line of battle from the massed formation, an officer riding very fast
and coming down the line from the east rode up to General Taylor and
commenced speaking to him very rapidly in French (both of these officers
whom I have mentioned spoke English perfectly well). General Taylor
neither spoke nor understood French, and he turned to me and said: "Who
the devil is this, and what is he talking about?" I said to him: "This
is the Comte de Paris serving on General McClellan's staff, and he has
come to you by General Porter's orders under which you are to give him
one of our regiments." General Taylor said to me. "Do you know him?" I
said, "Yes, sir, I do." He said: "Very well, then give him the Fourth
Regiment and go and see where he puts it and come back and report."
These last few words saved me a trip to Libby Prison. We started up at
once after the Fourth Regiment where we arrived in a few jumps of our
horses. The French officer was a good deal excited. He was a young man
probably about twenty-five or six years of age. I do not think that he
said anything to me as we were riding, but I do remember that his horse
shied at a dead man who lay in our way and very nearly threw him over
his head. Arrived at the Fourth Regiment whose Colonel Simpson, a West
Point officer, was just beginning to form his line of battle. I
introduced him. Colonel Simpson spoke French very well and their
conversation was in French. I understood it and heard him tell Col.
Simpson just what I had told General Taylor and he said that if Col.
Simpson would get his regiment in columns of fours he would conduct him
where he wanted to go. The regiment was put into columns of fours and
went off to the left front with Col. Simpson, the French officer and
myself riding at the head of it, Col. Simpson on the left of us and the
French officer between us. We had not gone far before I saw that we were
approaching the swale that I have spoken of before, and soon we arrived
at it. To my great surprise there was no more line of battle there than
there was in the morning, although there was a very heavy battle going
on on the right on the eastern side of this swale. My recollection is
that there was not much going on on the left or western side, but I
cannot say that I remember distinctly about that. At the mouth of this
swale, apparently waiting for the Fourth Regiment, was the Eleventh
Pennsylvania Regiment also in columns and also apparently under the
orders of this French officer; for as soon as the Fourth came up both
regiments moved off together through this swale. The rest of this is
soon told. The last I saw of the French officer and Col. Simpson and
the right of that regiment was a swarm of grey coated soldiers with
their rifles in their hands within no more than thirty yards from us,
and with General Taylor's words in my ears to "Come back and report," I
lay flat down on my horse, put both spurs to him and did so. I rode up
the line until I came to some wounded soldiers of the Third Regiment,
and right here I saw Col. Tucker of the Second Regiment carried out of
the woods and put on a stretcher and then shot dead after he was on the
stretcher. I asked some of the Third men where General Taylor was, and
they said "With the Third Regiment," of which regiment he had been
colonel before he was promoted. I dismounted and tied my horse to a
little mulberry tree at the edge of the woods and to which tree General
Taylor's horse was also tied, and which tree is still alive, or was so
within the last four years, as I saw it. I then went up through the
woods about one hundred and fifty yards and came upon the line of battle
and soon found General Taylor parading up and down the line like a
wounded lion and in the midst of one of the most terrible battles I ever

As soon as I came close to him and he saw me he said: "Where is the
Fourth?" I said: "Gone to Richmond, sir." I shall never forget how the
old fellow's eyes glared, as with his sword in his hand, he turned to me
and said: "Young man, this is no place for levity." I said: "They are
captured, every man of them." He said: "My God, My God," and fairly
wrung his hands.

Now this is an incident of the capture of the Fourth Regiment as
witnessed and participated in by a staff officer. The identity of the
French officer who conducted the Fourth Regiment into the woods where it
was lost has been a subject of question ever since.

Colonel Simpson in his report of the battle and his capture mentions the
name of the Duke de Chartres as having been his conductor.

When I joined General Taylor he was near the left of the companies of
the Third Regiment; the smoke was so thick that it was impossible to see
twenty yards. The afternoon was very hot and the air close, and probably
the peculiar condition of the atmosphere of which I have spoken had
something to do with it, for I never saw smoke so thick in any battle as
it was at Gaines' Mills.

The firing of the enemy in our front was very constant, rapid, and
heavy, and while a good many of our men were being hit it appeared to me
that the bullets went high and the bark and the chips fell off the trees
over our heads. All of the men of the Third Regiment were lying down on
the ground loading and firing from that position and the same was true
of the First and Second Regiments who were on the right of the Third.
The first and only order that General Taylor gave me after I joined him
in the woods was given within two or three minutes after I came up to
him and after my report of the Fourth Regiment which I have detailed
above. He said: "Those men are not firing at anything. It is too thick
to see. Go to the regiments and give the order to cease firing and let
the smoke rise." I went along the line, gave the order to every officer
whom I saw--captains, lieutenants, and field officers. There were a
great many of the poor fellows dead and hurt, and my dear cousin,
Penrose Buckley, Captain of Company C, of the Third Regiment, with whom
I had enlisted in May, 1861, was lying on the ground among his men,
several of whom were dead and a number wounded, and he was pressing a
bloody handkerchief to his left hip as I passed along. I said to him:
"How is it with you, Penn?" and he said: "Not bad, Ned, only a buck shot
in my hip." That is the last I ever saw of him. He was shot through the
lungs a few minutes afterwards and lay on that spot four days in agony
and died there. Before this last mortal wound he had a hand to hand
encounter with two of the enemy, one of whom he killed, and the other
shot him through the lungs. This is the testimony of John Stewart,
Sergeant of Company C, who was lying on the ground beside him with his
right arm shot off at the wrist, and who is still living at this day.
After having communicated the order to fire I returned along the line
looking for General Taylor, as I reached about the centre of the Third
Regiment the smoke had risen from the ground as a curtain rolls up
slowly and there was no firing on the part of the enemy, our men
doubtless glad to be relieved from their cramped positions, arose from
the ground, some on their knees, and some standing erect peering through
the smoke.

As we know now that the enemy were in the sunken road which passed
through the woods parallel with the line of the brigade and where
undoubtedly our line of battle should have been formed in the morning.
This sunken road was deep enough to cover a man to his arm pits and
therefore only the head and shoulders of the enemy were above the level
of the ground, and the enemy was distant only about forty-five yards
when what I am speaking of occurred. I have paced the distance more than
once since on that spot and I believe this to be accurate.

Both General Taylor and I distinctly heard the clear order, "Aim," come
out of the smoke at the front, and instantly the order, "Fire." The
volley that fell upon the brigade was the most withering I ever saw
delivered, for the men were totally unprepared for it. Under that
volley, the New Jersey Brigade broke all to pieces I do not know whether
before this there was any break in the line of battle to the left of the
New Jersey Brigade. History is somewhat misty about this, but I do know
that the brigade fell back in great disorder upon receiving this volley.

General Taylor and several of the officers attempted to rally the men,
but this was impossible. The General said to me: "We must get in front
of them. Where's my horse?" It happened that I knew where his horse was
for I had tied my own beast to the same mulberry tree and he was no more
than fifty or sixty yards from where we were. James Morrow, of Company
C, Third Regiment, who is still living, helped me to find these horses,
and directly at the edge of the woods and right in the midst of the
retiring brigade Gen. Taylor ordered me to get in front of the men,
which would be to the rear, for he was coming back to rally them. We had
gone but a few steps when we came to a ditch which I have spoken of
previously and my horse, which was the black stallion so well known to
our brigade, cleared the ditch easily at one bound, Gen. Taylor's horse
balked just on the edge of it and Gen. Taylor very nearly went over his
head. Seeing that the horse would not leap, I dismounted, went through
the ditch and then led him up on the other side, upon which Gen. Taylor
put spurs to his horse and galloped off swinging his sword and calling
to his men to rally.

One of the curious incidents of my life happened just here. My horse was
very much excited by the noise and confusion, and just as I put one foot
in the stirrup he swung around so that I had great difficulty in getting
the other leg up, finally I did so and was just starting to rejoin Gen.
Taylor when a very tall and handsome young man came to me, and put his
hand on the pommel of my saddle, he had in his other hand a National
Regimental color. The lower part of his face and his chest was covered
with blood. He said to me: "I am hit so hard that I don't think I can go
any further, so I turn this over to you." I took the colors, put my
horse to full run, went through the crowd of retreating men and found
Gen. Taylor, who was forming a line about a quarter of a mile in the
rear of where we had been fighting, and found a small patch of the
Second Regiment, which was the nucleus around which that Regiment was
rallying, and gave the colors to them.

The curious part of this matter is that I do not remember that I ever
had occasion to mention this incident in public until the year 1888,
when I was Department Commander of the G. A. R. in New Jersey, and at a
Camp Fire in Freehold in the Opera House before a very large audience
and an attentive one, I related it. Upon stating just as I have now, and
saying that I turned those colors over finally to the rallying regiment,
a tall, white-haired man with a long, drooping white moustache rising
from the centre of the audience said: "That is exactly true, I am the
man, and here is the wound," and drawing aside his moustache he showed
that his lips had been almost entirely cut off which was the wound of
which I have spoken and he was the color bearer of our Second Regiment,
who had turned the colors over to me at the Battle of Gaines' Mills. An
account of this curious incident was published in the Freehold papers
the following day.

As the brigade retreated from the woods we saw a melancholy sight of our
guns of the artillery of our division being captured, and we also had a
glimpse of the rushing to and fro of a small body of cavalry which is
known to be Rush's Lancers, Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry. Twenty-one of
those guns were lost right there, and I wish to say that our brigade was
not at any time placed in support of these guns directly.

The last I saw of the Union Coffee Mills guns they were in a mass
together in a little rise of the ground about two hundred yards back of
our line and this was when we were retreating. I have always understood
here that Sergeant Dalzell, who was the color bearer of the Third
Regiment, was with these guns at that time.

After returning the colors to a group of the Second Regiment which was
the nucleus of the new line and which line was forming very rapidly, for
the men were not running away in a panic at all, and after Gen. Taylor
got in front of them and called them to rally, they did rally and at
once. It was then getting quite dusk and on the right of our brigade
there came up a brigade from the direction of the Chickahominy and this
I found to be Gen. Meagher's Irish Brigade. This brigade went into
position of the right of our line, and I want to say that our line was
formed before that brigade came up, and of this I am positive.

While our line was forming, men came in from the front and took
position, regardless of what regiment they belonged and in that line
there were a great many men of other regiments besides the Jersey
Regiments. Gen. Taylor told me to go to the left and help anybody form
the line down to the river, and this I did. Assisting several general
officers whose names I did not know, and about dark there was quite a
good line formed. The left of which extended almost to the river if not
quite there. There were a few pieces of artillery in this line on the
left and some few cavalry. The enemy came out of the woods immediately
after the brigade retreated through the woods, a very solid, good
formation, but after taking the guns which I have spoken of, for some
extraordinary reason they did not come on any farther, and why I have
never been able to ascertain from any account of this battle that I have
ever read. There was no military reason that any one can see why a
charge by the enemy along the line, or at any part of it, after Gen.
Porter's line of battle was broken should not have been entirely and
absolutely successful.

There is no question that our brigade and others would have fought on
that last line, but I think that it would have been a forlorn hope. The
battle was totally lost and every man knew it.

The enemy did not advance, and after dark the troops commenced to retire
across the bridges in our rear. These bridges were small, frail things
not much wider than four men could march abreast.

In the rear of the entire left of the new line of which I spoke, there
was only one of them. The orders to withdraw our brigade came to General
Taylor about quarter of nine o'clock. The enemy had been firing slowly
with artillery and undoubtedly endeavoring to strike the bridges and
many of their shot came close to the bridge heads, but I do not think
that any of them struck the bridge itself.

Just at nine o'clock as the Third Regiment was going over the bridge and
the General and myself were riding with it, just before we came to the
bridge head Lieutenant Howell of Company I, of the Third Regiment, who
was one of my dearest personal friends, came out of the ranks and shook
hands with me saying how glad he was that we were both alive. He walked
a few paces and turned there to say something else to me or to some of
his company, and a round shot that was fired by the enemy's gun struck
him full in the breast and literally tore him to pieces.

The brigade crossed the bridge and returned to its camp which they left
in the morning not far from the Fair Oaks battlefield which it reached
about ten o'clock that night. This was one of the most sorrowful nights
that I ever remember. We had lost a great battle, which every man and
officer knew should never have been fought in that way, and at that
place, and every one of us lost dear friends and companions and what was
worse their mangled bodies were at the tender mercy of the enemy. Only a
few wounded men escaped and what few we did get away were taken to the
field hospital at Savage Station and fell into the hands of the enemy
there. This battle was a stupendous military error from beginning to
end. History shows now and our military leaders should have known then,
that, after the battle of Mechanicsville, the day before, in which the
enemy suffered severe repulse, the right wing of our army should have
been withdrawn that night to the south of the Chickahominy River, and
under no circumstances should have been allowed to wait, in that false
position in which they met the fierce assault of the forty thousand
fresh troops of Stonewall Jackson, who was then coming through the
valley, and was known to be coming, and who struck us hard in the place
where we were without entrenchments and without support, on the
afternoon of the 27th of June. Any one who reads history cannot fail to
see that General McClellan's fatal mistake in his Chickahominy campaign
was that he did not advance with his whole force on Richmond after he
had practically won the battle of Fair Oaks.

The next morning the sorrowful duty of burying the knap-sacks of the
Fourth Regiment to which I have alluded, was performed, and I was
detailed to see that this was done, and I did so and I think I can find
the place, although I have never tried to. The next day the brigade
moved to Savage Station and after a short halt moved on towards White
Oak Swamp. During this halt at Savage Station many of us visited the
field hospitals in which were the wounded whom we had been able to bring
from the Gaines' Mills fight, and many wounded men who had been in that
battle were in tents scattered around the ground of the station house,
and here I paid a last farewell to many a dear friend, among them
Lieutenant Wm. Evans of Company B of the Third Regiment, one of the most
devoted friends of my life, who was shot through the upper part of the
left lung and died within twenty-four hours after we left him. I pushed
into his jacket as I said good-bye, all the money I had, not more than
six or seven dollars except one silver ten cent piece, and this also I
parted with near Malvern Hill as I shall relate.

When the brigade reached the first bridge from the White Oak Swamp it
was halted and General Taylor was told by an aid of General Slocum's
that we were to be the rear division of the army, and that he must keep
himself in touch with Division Headquarters wherever they were. This
order caused me to ride a great many miles, for I had two horses and
they were both kept pretty busy. As we reached the bridge head, of
course it was a very small bridge, there was a very heavy cannonade
apparently across our front about half a mile away. I was sent to see
what it was and found that the enemy had opened a battery or several
batteries on a pack of our wagons which had in some way become exposed
to them. The hill country was covered thickly with trees and underbrush.
There were very few clearings and scarcely any high ground, and it was
very difficult to see what was going on. I could see, however, that
there was a great panic among the teamsters and that the wagons were
being deserted, and the wagoners riding off on the mules and horses of
the teams. Presently our line of skirmishers appeared facing the
southwest and at that time the head of our column was facing the east,
so the position was very much mixed. The skirmishers advanced towards
the Rebel batteries very rapidly, and while I was looking on the
batteries withdrew. I went back and reported to General Taylor and drew
a diagram of what I had seen and gave it to him, and told him I was
utterly unable to understand the positions, but that these were facts.
An aid of General Slocum's came up with orders to cross the bridge and
turn sharply to the right which would cause us to march about due south.
This we did for probably a mile or more and then came to a fairly good
bridge across White Oak Creek and this the brigade crossed. After
crossing, the creek here ran through a ravine the sides of which were
quite precipitous, the road down to the bridge on one side and up on the
other being very steep. An aid of General Slocum's told General Taylor
that our brigade was now the rear of the army, that there was a piece of
our artillery on the north side of the creek, that he expected General
Taylor to look after it when the pickets and skirmishers were withdrawn.
After awhile, probably half an hour, some of the pickets commenced to
come across the bridge, and having nothing to do I thought I would go
across the bridge and see where that piece of artillery was. I found it
on top of the hill about five hundred yards from the bridge in good
position commanding the road. The officer in charge was a lieutenant of
Williston's battery whom I knew very well. He asked me if I had any
orders for him, when I said no, he said he would like to have an order.

So after a little while I went back to the brigade. The pickets and
skirmishers were coming across the bridge and after a while a few of our
cavalry came across and after that the pioneers commenced to destroy the
bridge by hewing through the timbers. We were lying down and resting on
the top of the hill on the south side of the ravine when I saw the
pioneers commence to cut the bridge to pieces. I said to General Taylor:
"Why that gun is over on the other side." He said, "How do you know it
is?" I said: "Why I saw it half an hour ago." He used a very strong
expression, pulling his moustache and told me to tell our lieutenant to
"get out of that as quick as the Lord would let him." So I ran down and
stopped the men from cutting the bridge, ran up the other side and told
the officer of the gun what the general had said. They were all ready
and sitting on their horses but had had no order to move. The enemy's
skirmishers who were coming on had fired several shots at them, and I
must say that I never saw a gun go down a hill more rapidly than that
did. To make a long story short they got the gun over all right, and the
enemy's skirmishers shot at our pioneers while they were cutting the
bridge. This was a curious, but as it turned out, a very fortunate
occurrence, for history shows that these were Stonewall Jackson's men,
and that Jackson with a heavy force was behind them. They reported that
this bridge was held strongly with artillery and infantry, and this
report made such an impression upon Jackson that he did not attempt to
force the passage of the creek at that place. Why he did not cross the
creek at a ford about a mile further up of which he should have known,
historians on both sides have never discovered; but that Jackson's delay
on that occasion, at that spot and his counter march gave McClellan the
opportunity to withdraw his armies successfully to Malvern Hill, is the
opinion of all authorities whom I have read upon the subject.

This was about two o'clock in the afternoon, it must be remembered that
this was when the days were long and also very hot. In half an hour we
received orders to march and move south along the White Oak road towards
Charles City crossroads. After marching about two miles we were halted
and the men were directed to rest along the east side of the road which
was well wooded on the east side, and on the west side were several
quite large clearings. I am sure that General Taylor was not informed
that we were occupying the line of battle, and I am sure that General
Torbert, who was then colonel of the First Regiment, did not know this
until several years after, but it is a fact that we were a part of the
line and an exceedingly important part. While we were lying down along
the edge of the road an aid of General Slocum's rode by and told General
Taylor that General Slocum's headquarters were in the field on the left
or east side of the road about five hundred yards ahead of us, and that
was all he said to him, for I heard it, and he then rode away. In about
fifteen minutes the enemy opened with about sixty pieces of artillery,
firing across the road in front of us and gradually increasing the
rapidity of the firing until it was the most tremendous cannonade I had
ever heard. No enemy was visible to us anywhere, the smoke of those guns
came over the edge of the woods probably eight hundred yards from the
road, and a few hundred yards further along the right of the brigade.
None of those shells came across where we were. While the cannonade was
at its height, and of course such a cannonade as this is always the
precursor of a charge of a line of battle, General Taylor said that he
must have some orders from General Slocum's headquarters as he did not
know what was wanted of him, so he said: "Grubb, ride to General
Slocum's headquarters and ask him what he wants me to do." I had then
one of the most terrible experiences that I ever had under artillery
fire, and what is more, I had two of them, for I rode down that road
across that line of firing, and I think I came nearer being killed by
the flying pieces of fence rails and pieces of trees than by the shells.
I found the oak tree, but I did not find General Slocum, and I came back
to General Taylor, really very much bewildered by the terrible fire, and
told him that General Slocum was not where he said. He merely said: "Go
back and find him." And I had to do what I should have done, of course,
at first. It must be remembered that I was only a little over nineteen
years of age. I finally did find General Slocum more than half a mile
from where I was told he would be, and a very heavy infantry fight going
on in front of him. I told him what General Taylor had said. He did not
even look at me but simply said: "When I want him I will let him know."
Which I had the pleasure of repeating to General Taylor word for word.
The last time I came down the road the cannonade had almost died out,
and the infantry fighting about opposite to where I had seen General
Slocum was very severe. The corps engaged, it turned out, was the Third
Corps and the division on its left which was of course next to our right
because we were right in front in column and had been marching south
when we halted, was General Phil. Kearney's division and commanded by
General Phil. Kearney in person. Now it will be seen that our brigade
being in column of four right in front under the old tactics to have
formed a line of battle the order would have been given front, and all
the men would have turned to the left which would have brought their
backs to the enemy, as the enemy was on our right or west side. To have
formed the line of battle we would have had to have faced by the rear
rank, and while that did not make much difference in merely forming the
line, only so far as the file closers were concerned, any subsequent
manoeuvers from that formation would become exceedingly complicated; and
I doubt whether any of the regiments of the First Brigade at that time
could have successfully performed those manoeuvers. These were some of
the difficulties which the Upton's tactics subsequently adopted, aimed
to obviate and did so.

General Kearney was the idol and hero of our brigade from the time we
first saw him. He and all his staff were well known to every man and
officer of us; and when Captain Moore of Kearney's staff came riding
down the road waving his hat and calling out that General Kearney had
lost a battery, and wanted the Jersey Brigade to help him get it back,
it seemed to me that the whole brigade heard him because I am sure that
no orders were given to do that which occurred, and I had barely time to
scramble on my horse and join in the rushing throng. General Taylor
called to me as I passed him: "Keep ahead of them and keep them from
going too far. The enemy's line is in the woods right in front of our
guns." Captain Moore, who was talking to him, had probably told him
this. The guns that had been captured were not more than three hundred
yards from us, a little advanced to the west of the road. I had noticed
that they were not gone when I passed along on my ride to General
Slocum's but the melee was so confused that I have not and never had a
very clear idea of it. When I got to where the guns were the road was
somewhat sunken and as the bank was so steep that I could not ride my
horse up, I jumped off and scrambled up. There were a good many men
among the guns before I got there, and the guns were being re-captured.
But I do know that when I passed near a gun, a sergeant of the First
Regiment, whose name was either Hollins or Hollister, had a Rebel
prisoner by the neck. The man, though captured, had not surrendered, and
as I passed him in carrying out the order which I had, to stop the men
from going beyond the guns, he thrust at our sergeant with his bayonet,
missed him, and gave me a prod, the scar of which I carry to this day.
Though it did not disable me then or now, as it was on the inside of the
thigh. I passed the order to halt to several of the officers of our
brigade. It is my impression that there were lots of Kearney's men from
his own division who were there almost instantly; but I do not think
they were there when we first came up.

I expected that we would receive a withering volley from the woods which
were only across a small field in which the General had told me the
enemy would be. For some blessed reason that volley never came; and in a
few minutes our men were recalled to the road and continued our march,
and towards night fall we went into line of battle along the side of the
road not more than twenty yards from the road side. On the west side our
skirmishers were thrown out perhaps fifty yards more and we engaged with
the Rebel skirmishers until dark. There was a good deal of artillery
firing along the roads which intersected the road on which we were
marching; but most of the shots went through the tree tops and only a
few of our men were injured. The line we were holding and which we held
there from dark until twelve o'clock that night was the gap in the line
into which the enemy had charged and captured Major General McCall and a
large part of his division.

About nine o'clock that night I, having been constantly engaged under
General Taylor's orders, in passing along our skirmisher line and
getting reports from the officers, came up to where the General was in a
fence corner, and found him utterly exhausted. Neither he nor I had had
any nourishment, except a cup of coffee for breakfast, since the night
before and that coffee had been given to us by some of the men of our
headquarters. The wagon with all our rations was with the train and we
did not see it for thirty-six hours afterwards.

I said to him: "General, the brigade is very much mixed up and ought to
be straightened out." He said: "Very well, sir, go straighten it out."
And so I went, but I had not gone more than twenty steps before I came
to the conclusion that that was too much of a contract for a young man
of my age, so I went to Colonel Torbert of the First Regiment and stated
the case, just what the General had said, and that I believed that
General Taylor was entirely exhausted, and that the job was too big for
me. He said: "Never mind, sonny, I will fix it up for you." So we went
together and Colonel Torbert arranged the brigade that night. Some of
the companies of the Second were mixed up with the Third, and some of
the Third were mixed up with the First until we straightened them out.
The men were lying down, some of them asleep, all of them cross, and it
was no easy job to shift them around, but we finally got it done about
eleven o'clock. I got back to my old colored man, James Huggs, who had a
blanket for me in the same fence corner where the General was, and I had
about two hours' sound sleep. A little before one o'clock an aid of
General Slocum's gave us marching orders. We found an entire brigade in
the road ready to take our places, and passing through them to the road
we continued our march in column going somewhere, we did not know where,
but headed, we all knew, towards the James River on the way from
Richmond. This last fact was heartbreaking to the men, for from the
moment that we landed at West Point in May our faces had been towards
the Rebel Capitol. Although the battle of Gaines' Mills had been lost
just the day after we were much nearer Richmond than we were now and it
was only the night of the battle of Charles City crossroads that our men
realized that we were retreating. We marched until about seven o'clock
in the morning and then the brigade was given about three hours' rest
along the road. The General and I had some coffee which the men of the
Provost Guard gave us and I went down into my old Company C, of the
Third Regiment, and got from Richard Poole, a private in that company,
who was a painter in Burlington, three hard tack, and after he had given
them to me, just one-half of all he had, I searched in my pocket and
found the silver ten cent piece, that was the last thing I had. Richard
refused to accept this in exchange for the hard tack, but I finally
pressed it upon him as a souvenir, and he showed it to me many times
afterwards. About twelve o'clock the brigade was assembled and marched
along the road towards Malvern Hill which we did not then know by that
name or any other name, but it was a high and commanding position and we
saw a great many of our batteries already in position upon it, and very
readily came to the conclusion that our army was going to make a stand
there. I think the Jersey Brigade was at that time in the rear guard,
and the reason I think so is because after our brigade passed through
the pickets which were at the edge of the hill nothing came behind us
but some cavalry, and I have a good reason to remember that. Within
about a half a mile of the hill on the left hand side of the road was a
fine farm and near the fence were two fine cherry trees full of
cherries. As we passed along, the General and myself being in the rear
of the brigade, he said: "I would like to have some of those very much."
So I immediately said: "I will get you some." I got over the fence and
climbed up a tree dropping my sword and belt in the clover at the foot
of the tree as I went up, I broke off a good many branches and proceeded
to fill myself as quickly as possible. A scouting party of some of our
cavalry came by going toward the hill and an officer told the General
that there were some Rebel scouts not very far behind him, upon which
the General recalled me from the tree, and we proceeded to rejoin the
brigade which had gone up Malvern Hill. When the brigade was halted and
arranged upon the line which had been assigned to us near the top of the
hill, I instantly noticed that I had not my sword and belt and
remembered that they were in the grass at the foot of the cherry tree a
half a mile outside of our lines. I asked the General for permission to
go back and get them and he proceeded to read me a lecture on
carelessness. Saying, among other things, which I distinctly remember
and always have, that "A soldier should lose his head rather than his
sword." So I went back to the picket line and very fortunately for me I
happened to know the captain very well who commanded a cavalry troop
that was on picket on that spot, that is to say, near the base of the
hill. He said to me that he had not seen any Rebel scouts for half an
hour and that he would send two of his men with me to get the sword
which he did, and we all got back safely without seeing anybody, and the
cavalry also got a lot of cherries. I mention this incident so
particularly, because it has a very particular bearing upon a very
extraordinary occurrence that happened that night. There was an immense
park of our wagons not very far from the hill the night before the
battle of Malvern Hill, and while the brigade was on the hill in line of
battle and sleeping behind the breast works which they had made of logs
and earth, a very flimsy sort of breast works, but which by reason of
the admirable position on the hill would have been very effective if
assaulted, General Taylor received an order informing him that the wagon
trains of the army would be burnt that night, and he, accompanied by
some others and my old servant, James Huggs, went down into the wagon
park and took out a small quantity of their personal belongings, among
other things a small hand bag of mine containing some underclothing, my
mother's letters, and a few other things of that kind. I did not go with
them as I was asleep at the root of a tree, and when the order came the
General told my man he did not wish to disturb me. I saw the printed
order the next morning. It was in the same form and apparently the same
type as that which we received from the headquarters of the Army of the
Potomac. General Taylor returned to where he had placed his headquarters
under a great white pine tree, and my old servant, James Huggs, sat at
the camp fire, for, although it had been a hot day, the nights were cool
and the fire was lighted. Huggs says that about eleven o'clock while the
General was walking up and down between the tree and the fire, the
orderly on duty came up to the General and said that a messenger from
General McClellan's headquarters wanted to see him outside of the rifle
pit, and Huggs says that the General walked straight down that way, he,
of course, not going with him. The next morning at grey day light, I
awoke with the most intense gnawing hunger that I had ever experienced
in my life. I had had nothing to eat but three hard tack, two cups of
coffee, and some cherries for two days, and I had ridden probably fifty
miles in those two days. I had, moreover, been in a pretty severe fight
and had an ugly wound in my leg which hurt me every instant I sat in the
saddle. As soon as I sat up and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes I saw
within about twenty-five yards of me a small pig rooting along on the
ground, I also saw right close to me a rifle of the orderly's leaning
against the tree, it being the custom then for an orderly merely to have
the ram rod in his hand while he was on duty. I knew there was a
positive order against the discharge of any firearm without permission,
but I was very hungry and there was the pig, so I took deliberate and
careful aim, and killed that pig dead. Simultaneously with the crack of
the rifle came the voice of General Taylor: "If you had missed him, sir,
I would have put you under arrest." He was standing on the other side of
the tree and had not lain down all night. The pig was cooked and eaten
at once. The battle of Malvern Hill which took place that day was a
magnificent pageant for those of our brigade who could see it. The
coming down of a great mass of the enemy on the open plain to their
utter destruction by the awful artillery fire. It was indeed a cruel and
bloody sight, but after it was all over, many of us felt that we were
avenged for what had happened at Gaines' Mills.

Those of us who can remember can even see today in our mind's eye,
knapsack, hats, and even bodies of men thrown up in the air by the
explosions of our shells in the serried masses of the enemy. Our brigade
was not engaged at all, some men were hit by spent shots and bits of
shells, but I think our casualties were twenty-eight in all. During the
day on more than one occasion my attention was called to the fact that
General Taylor was not wearing his own sword, but the sword that he was
wearing belonged to his son, Captain Taylor, who had been partially
disabled in the battle of Gaines' Mills. I noticed this because the two
swords were not alike at all, and moreover, because I had been the
object of a lesson on carelessness the previous afternoon, but of course
I did not say anything.

The morning after the battle of Malvern Hill our brigade marched into a
great wheat field at Brandon, near Harrison's Landing, and went into
camp in the mud. As soon as the wagons were up and our tents were
pitched, General Taylor directed me to mount my horse and accompany him.
We went straight down to the James River and up along the river bank
until we came to Berkley Mansion, which was General McClellan's
headquarters. We had an orderly with us and both dismounted and left our
horses with the orderly. I accompanied the General into the house and
upstairs to the second floor. There were a number of wounded men in the
house lying on the floors, and the house was crowded with officers of
all grades. General Taylor went into a room on the second floor which I
afterwards found was General McClellan's private headquarters and in a
few minutes came out and said to me. "I shall be here for some time, you
may make yourself comfortable, and when I want you I will call you." So
I went out of the house, for it was indeed a grewsome place. It was
raining hard, and after telling the orderly to spread an oil cloth
blanket, which I had, over my horse, I looked around for a place to make
myself comfortable, and found a chicken coop with some bright dry straw
on the floor (there were no chickens in it) so I lay down and went to
sleep. In about an hour an orderly called me. The General was standing
on the porch, mounting our horses we rode off towards camp, I riding, of
course, a horse's length behind the General. After going about two or
three hundred yards, he checked his horse and said: "Ride up along side
of me." Which I did. He then said: "Did you notice that I did not have
my sword when I went to General McClellan's headquarters?" I said: "I
did, sir, I noticed that you had neither sword nor belt." He said: "You
see I have got them now." I said: "I do, sir." He said: "Well, I got
them at General McClellan's headquarters." He said: "Last night while
you were asleep an orderly told me that a messenger from General
McClellan wanted to see me outside the rifle pit, I went there and two
men on gray horses met me, one of whom was dismounted. This man
presented a pistol at my head and instantly demanded my sword. Believing
that I was captured and a prisoner there was nothing else for me to do
but give him my sword which I did. Upon taking it he immediately mounted
his horse and rode off."

That is all that General Taylor ever told me on the subject, and it is
all I know about it. (I may add that General McClellan's body guard
always rode gray horses). The fact is that this occurred, on my word as
a gentleman and a soldier, exactly as I have stated it.

As the brigade was marching in to the great wheat field at Berkley where
the army was then commencing to encamp, suddenly and without any idea
that the enemy was in the vicinity, several shells came in and exploded
among the wagon trains which were in the road along side of which our
men were marching. My recollection is that not more than a dozen shells
came. A regiment of Zouaves, which I think were the 55th of New York,
went back in double-quick, and I understood captured two guns which the
enemy had run up close to our encampment without any supports whatever.
The official records will show the circumstances of this. I remember
that one of the shells exploded within a few feet of General Taylor's

Some incidents of interest occurred during our encampment at Malvern
Hill. It was hot and uncomfortable and sorrowful, for there were many
deaths and bands playing the Dead March were continually heard through
the day. Deaths from sickness and many wounded.

One night, a few nights after we encamped, we were roused at midnight by
a very lively cannonade from the opposite side of the river. Our camp
was about a quarter of a mile back from the river, the long roll was
beaten throughout the army and the brigade turned out and stood in line.
I do not think there were any casualties in the brigade though there
were some in our division from its shells. One man I remember as Dr.
Oakley asked me to go and see a man in the field hospital who had his
entire stomach carried away by shells and lived four days afterwards.
This wound is reported among the curiosities of the war. I saw the man
twice and strange to say, he appeared to be suffering no pain except
through hunger.

A few days after our arrival at the Camp, President Lincoln came down
and reviewed the army. I presume by reason of the small space in which
it was necessary to hold it each brigade was drawn up on the northern
side of its own camp in double columns, closed en masse, and the field
officers were dismounted. My clothing, all except the one suit which I
had during the seven days' battle, had been lost and it happened that
the only coat I had was a short jacket coming to the waist, and the only
trousers I had were those which I had worn since the 27th of June. My
saddle had been hit twice with pieces of shell, once while I was in it
and once when I was not. It was not torn much but the screws were all
loosened in it and one of them had worked up and from day to day had
torn my trousers to such an extent that I can only say they were not fit
to appear in review; so upon seeing my condition General Taylor excused
me from going in the review and I sat in the door of my tent next to
General Taylor's and within a few feet of it. President Lincoln rode a
large bay horse and was dressed in a black frock coat and a high silk
hat and rode at the head of the cavalcade with General McClellan and
his staff of probably a hundred officers immediately behind him. They
passed down from east to west along the front of the army, the President
taking off his hat as he passed the colors of each brigade. When they
arrived in front of our brigade they halted and General Taylor and the
President came up to General Taylor's tent, no others were with them.
The President dismounted and my servant, James Huggs, who is still
living, brought camp stools and they sat down under the fly of General
Taylor's tent; it seems that the President wanted a drink of water, the
day being very hot. James Huggs went to the spring a few yards away and
got some water and the President drank heartily of it; as he got up to
go away he saw me standing in the position of a soldier facing him at my
tent door and he said to General Taylor: "I suppose this is one of your
staff, I hope that he has not been wounded?" General Taylor called me to
them and told him that I was Captain Grubb on his staff, and told one or
two very pleasant things about me to the President which caused my
cheeks to tingle and then taking me by the shoulder, he said: "He would
have been in the review but his clothes were not good enough to allow
him." President Lincoln put his hand on my shoulder, I shall never
forget the kind expression of his magnificent eyes, as he looked me in
the face and said: "My son, I think your country can afford to give you
a new pair of breeches." As these were the only words that President
Lincoln ever said to me they impressed themselves very deeply on my
mind. I have never forgotten them and never shall.

The rest of our stay at Harrison's Landing is filled with unpleasant
memories for me. I had contracted typhoid fever although I did not know
it and tried to fight it off, and did so until the morning the brigade
marched from Harrison's Landing when in the wind and dust of that
morning I mounted my brown stallion with great difficulty, fell over the
other side of him into the dust and the next thing I remember was
awaking up in New York Harbor in the hospital ship some ten days
afterwards with two Sisters of Mercy taking care of me and my old
servant, James Huggs, standing at the foot of the bed. He had hired a
colored man whom he found and helped him carry me down to the water's
edge and succeeded in getting me on board the hospital ship "Spaulding"
in a little dug out canoe, for the anchor of that ship had been raised
and she was the last hospital ship to leave filled with sick and

I did not know that the brigade had been most dreadfully cut up and
General Taylor killed at the Bull Run Bridge until after I had been sent
from the hospital ship to my father's house in Burlington, where I found
a letter from Colonel Torbert commanding the brigade and asking me to
serve on his staff. I joined the brigade just before the Crampton's Pass
battle (and my account of that which I delivered at a reunion of the
brigade at my place, Edgewater Park, printed at their request I herewith

We saw the battle of Antietam and were under a terrible artillery fire
but we were in the reserve and I am sure that I need only say that it
was the opinion of every man and officer in our brigade that if the
Sixth Corps had been thrown forward that afternoon over the Burnside
bridge after Burnside crossed it and placed across the right flank of
the Confederate army, which were all there lying in the wheat field
opposite us, the result of that battle would have been far different
from what it was.

After Antietam we marched to Bakersville and encamped there and were
there joined by the Twenty-third New Jersey Regiment, into which I was
promoted as Major a few days before the battle of Fredericksburg. (And I
would suggest that as the history of that regiment which, of course, is
part of the history of the brigade, has been carefully collected and
printed by the Regimental Association of the Twenty-third Regiment, and
that regiment was in that brigade until the expiration of its term of
service in June, 1863, and in battle with the brigade in the battles of
Fredericksburg and Salem Church, that that printed history be received
as part of the history of the brigade.)

                                                  E. BURD GRUBB.


            The Episode of the Surgeon of the Third Regiment

The surgeon of the 3rd New Jersey Regiment was appointed by Governor
Olden about ten days after the regiment arrived in Camp Olden. His name
was Lorenzo Louis Cox, he was a man about twenty-five years of age. He
had a fine appearance, well educated and an excellent surgeon. He was a
grandson of Mr. Redmond Cox of Philadelphia, a member of a well known
family. Redmond Cox was an intimate friend of my father, but my father
had nothing whatever to do with the appointment of Dr. Cox, and did not
know of it until after it was made.

After the battle of Bull Run, and during the early autumn the Third
Regiment was engaged in erecting Fort Worth, one of the defences of
Washington, about a mile west of Alexandria Seminary. Probably the
uncovering of so much fresh earth which had to be done in erecting the
Fort, which was quite a large one, caused an outbreak of malarial fever,
most of it ordinary chills and fever. The sick call was sounded at
half-past six every morning and a very large proportion of the regiment
filed up to Dr. Cox's tent and received a drink of whiskey and some
quinine pills. Those of the Third Regiment who read this will probably
remember two very ridiculous occurences in this connection. Dr. Cox had
an Irishman who was a private in one of the companies and he was his
assistant. The Doctor had a barrel of whiskey in his tent from which he
served the rations every morning; he noticed that this whiskey became
exhausted more rapidly than in his opinion it should, he therefore
poured into the whiskey barrel a very large quantity of quinine, and the
consequence was that the next morning his man Patrick was so drunk that
he had to be taken down to the creek to be soused to bring him to, and
he could not hear for two or three days.

The other occurrence was that one morning on guard mount the Adjutant,
whose name was Fairliegh, (an Englishman and the youngest son of Lord
Fairliegh), appeared on his horse, which was a light bay and which had
been striped with white paint on the ribs during the night and every
hair on his tail shaved off. It transpired at the regimental
court-martial that Dr. Cox's Patrick was very largely responsible for
the damage to the Adjutant's horse. During the months of August and
September and also during the whole winter of 1861-1862 the First New
Jersey Brigade picketed in front of their lines, and during August and
September these pickets were not very far from and in front of
Alexandria, not more than three miles at the utmost. The enemy's pickets
were very close to ours and a number of skirmishes along the Little
River turn pike and the corn fields adjacent thereto occurred. Gradually
our picket lines were advanced until, about the latter part of
September, we took in Mrs. Fitzhugh's plantation and picketed almost up
to Annandale. Dr. Cox and his assistant were out along the picket lines
almost every afternoon. Many of the men would be ailing and there was an
occasional gun-shot wound that would have to be looked after. Dr. Cox
rode a very handsome cream-colored mule, and Patrick had an army horse,
Patrick carried the knap-sack of medical stores and surgical instruments
strapped on his back. One afternoon Dr. Cox, who had visited Mrs.
Fitzhugh's plantation several times, and it was at that time a little
outside of our picket lines, started to go there again, when he was
pounced upon by six of the Louden scouts, Confederate Cavalry, and,
although he tried to make his mule run away from them he could not do so
and was captured, Patrick jumped off his horse and ran into the woods
and succeeded in getting back into our lines with his medical knap-sack.
He reported Dr. Cox killed as there had been several pistol shots fired,
Cox was not armed. On the evening of the next day, Dr. Cox returned to
the camp of the Third Regiment and reported the facts about as I have
related them here to Colonel Taylor, and also to all of the officers of
the regiment who were his friends and who were interested in the
occurrence. He told us that he had been taken to Mannassas Junction and
had been for some time in the tent of General Joseph E. Johnson, the
commander of the Rebel Army that then faced us. Everybody was glad of
his release which was of course because of his being a non-combattant.
He resumed his duties and I do not remember that the incident was spoken
of again in the regiment until the following very curious occurrence
took place.

When the army advanced on Mannassas Junction in March, 1862, the Third
New Jersey Regiment was in the extreme front. The skirmishers of that
regiment captured a train of cars loaded with provisions, and were also
the first in the Rebel encampment at Mannassas. Some of the members of
the regiment entered General Joseph E. Johnson's tent, which had been
evacuated so suddenly that a number of his papers and his military sash
were left which these men obtained. They naturally examined the papers
and were surprised to find a report taken down by a member of General
Johnson's staff of the conversation had with Dr. Cox of the Third New
Jersey Volunteers. This report stated that Dr. Cox had given General
Johnson all the information regarding the troops at and around
Alexandria that he desired and that he Cox had particularly stated the
number of men which General Montgomery commanded at Alexandria.
Fortunately for Cox, the aid stated this number at 10,000, which was
what Cox did say, and which was twice as many as Montgomery had. These
papers were forwarded to Washington, whether through the headquarters of
the regiment or not, I do not know, but a few days after that a squad of
the United States Cavalry came to the Third Regiment and the officer in
command arrested Dr. Cox and took him to Washington where he was
immediately incarcerated in the old Capitol Prison. He remained there
for a very considerable time, my impression is for several months. I
wrote to my father in regard to this and he went to Washington and had
an interview with Edward M. Stanton who was then Secretary of War, Mr.
Stanton had been my father's counsel before the war in Lancaster and was
an intimate friend of his. He had great trouble to get Mr. Stanton to
take the matter up at all, but when he finally did, Cox was found to be
innocent, but foolish. He returned to the regiment but only for a few
days. The men, and a number of the officers would not receive him, and
he resigned and took a position as surgeon of one of the Pacific Mail
Steamers in which position he contracted the chagres fever and died. The
occurrence was a very sad one. Cox was entirely innocent. He was a
perfectly loyal and true man. He was one of the very best surgeons in
the army at that time and almost certainly would have had a brilliant
career. His military life was cut short, and probably his actual life
also from having talked too much. He told me himself, that, in the
interview in General Johnson's tent he had purposely given him all the
false information that he could think of, and that he had purposely
stated Montgomery's troops to be twice their actual strength.

The correspondence in regard to this will be found in the official
record, see general index, page 211, Lewis L. Cox 13845.

I have read the correspondence, but the volume in which it is, I do not
now find in my collection.

                                                  E. BURD GRUBB.

I was First Lieutenant of Co. D, 3d N. J. Vols., and Aide de Camp on the
staff of Brig. General George W. Taylor, First New Jersey Brigade,
during this campaign.

                                                  E. BURD GRUBB.


Transcriber's Notes:

Small caps have been replaced with ALL CAPS text.

On the title page, "Moorestown Ppinting" was replaced with "Moorestown

On page 11, On page 11, a Frenchman was referred to as "Duke de
Charteres" but on page 9 he was referred to as "Duke de Chartres". Other
sources show that the Duke of Chartres was at the battle, so the
reference on page 11 was changed to "Duke de Chartres".

On page 13, a period was added after "happened just here".

On page 14, a period was added after "at that time".

On page 18, "creek at a fort" was replaced with "creek at a ford".

On page 21, "Very vell" was replaced with "Very well".

On page 23, "containng" was replaced with "containing".

On page 31, "chargres fever" was replaced with "chagres fever".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Notes of a staff officer of our First New Jersey Brigade on the Seven Day's Battle on the peninsula in 1862" ***

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