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99 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


No. 36. Report of Colonel Harrison S. Fairchild, Eighty-ninth New York Infantry, of operations May 9.

HDQRS. EIGHTY-NINTH Regiment NEW YORK VOLS., In the Field, Va.,
May 11, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with your note dated this day, I respectfully forward the following statement:

Our brigade moved from the camp left in front. When arriving near the turnpike, by order of Colonel Alford, I deployed three companies as skirmishers and flankers. After crossing the pike, advancing toward the railroad, I was detached from the brigade and ordered to advance near the railroad,and deploy men as flankers, and, with the balance of my force, hold the position at all hazards. Shortly after I was ordered to take a new position by General Turner, and advance a half mile north, and deploy four companies as skirmishers, and to hold the position between the railroad and pike at all hazard. I took position (after advancing my skirmishers) near a farm-house with my reserve, had deployed and advanced the companies, forming a line from the railroad to the pike and 1 1/4 miles to the front, when I received an order to call in my force and join the brigade as soon as possible; the order was sent by Lieutenant Weaver, acting assistant adjutant-general to Colonel Alford. I immediately dispatched two messengers to the right and left of the line, and as on as the four companies had returned commenced the march, conducted by Lieutenant Weaver. When we reached the railroad, at the water-tank, General Terry's division was on the move, and one regiment was on the railroad. Not to interfere with his column I marched around the water-tank on the right of the road, and moved forward rapidly, hoping to pass his column, but the road was too narrow, and availing myself of an opening in the column I recrossed and took the bank and pushed on, hopin to pass at a gate one-half mile ahead. When I arrived at the gate, General Terry was on the opposite bank, and the head of his column had passed on the railroad. I halted in order to let them pass, when General Terry halted a company of engineers, and rode down tome, and said he was waiting for me, and he had opened his line to left me pass. I immediately crossed the railroad to the opposite bank, and kept the field until I was forced to take the railroad, on account of a deep ravine. Lieutenant Weaver conducted me to a point where our brigade was at a halt, and there left me. I had made a forced march of 3 miles with men who were exhausted with skirmish duty. As soon as I halted my regiment the brigade moved. The officers of my regiment came to me, and said they could not go on without rest, and 16 men fell on the field with sunstroke. I made details and had these men carried to the rear, and water brought, dispatched my adjutant for ambulances, and detailed men to take care of the sick. During this time some officer came to me and requested to know if I would move soon. I answered him I would move in a few minutes, but I did not wish to detain his column. He could pass me,and I would follow him, which I did until I came to the junction of the railroad and pike, [where] I took the field. I halted for a moment to let the column pass, and then joined the brigade on the hill on the pike, the other column going down the railroad. I am not aware of halting my regiment, except to allow other troops to pass without interfering with them. My aim was to keep out of the way. The only fault,