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Savage's Station - June 29, 1862

 

Battle of Savage's Station
June 29, 1862
Fourth of the Seven Days’ Battles

With the bitter taste of their defeat at Gaines' Mill still in their mouths, the main body of the Army of the Potomac began a general withdrawal toward the James River on June 29, 1862.  General John B. Magruder's Confederates pursued along the Richmond and York River railroad, and made contact with the Federal rearguard near Savage’s Station.  After a brief skirmish in the morning, Magruder found his 14,000 troops facing 26,000 Yankees from the Union Second and Sixth Corps.  With Stonewall Jackson's men stalled north of the Chickahominy, Magruder had no significant reinforcements with which to tip the balance in his favor.  Rather than risk an all-out assault, "Prince John" sent forward less than half of his force to hold the Yankees in check.   

Union Second Corps chief "Bull" Sumner, who had recently been deprived of reinforcements himself, was equally cautious and deployed only ten of his twenty-six regiments to meet the Rebel attack.  As the battle raged, a 32-pounder naval rifle mounted on a railway car lobbed massive shells at the Yankees near Savage's Station.  The show of Southern firepower was impressive, but was of little help to the outnumbered Confederates.  The two sides fought one another until darkness ended the battle in a stalemate.  In a bloody coda to the day's fighting, the Vermont Brigade made a charge to protect the Federal left flank, suffering 439 casualties, nearly half of them from the 5th Vermont.

After nightfall, the Army of the Potomac continued to withdraw across White Oak Swamp, abandoning supplies and more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital.

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