Monday, June 30, 1862
Private Oliver Stanton Bates had just experienced a grueling seventy-two hours of service with Company A of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment. On Saturday, June 28, he joined his comrades in Company A during a long day and evening of intense manual labor in pushing ammunition-laden railroad cars three miles to Savage Station. On Sunday, June 29, undoubtedly exhausted from the previous day’s exertion, he was immediately put to work in the destruction of the ammunition stores at Savage Station depot. In the afternoon, he fell into formation with his regiment, prepared for battle at Savage Station. At 10:00 P.M. he was ordered into the woods near Savage Station for picket duty and spent a grueling five hours stumbling through the darkness, hoping to avoid gunfire or capture before rejoining his regiment at 3:00 A.M. near White Oak Swamp Bridge. This morning he endured a grueling retreat through intense heat and smoke to White Oak Swamp Bridge before returning to Glendale in the afternoon to take part in a hellish battle. By the grace of God he endured the trials and challenges of the previous seventy-two hours without injury, and he was undoubtedly grateful and relieved that his life was spared during these tests of faith, endurance, and courage.1
1Compiled service record, Oliver S. Bates, Pvt., Co. A, 20th Massachusetts Infantry; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Henry Tremlett, "Letters," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 2, p. 169-72, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts. George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 110-132. Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 137-52.