Saturday, June 28, 1862
Confederate General John Magruder ordered a brigade led by General Robert Toombs on a reconnaissance south of the Chickahominy River to determine the strength and position of the Union Army. General Toombs had conducted a similar reconnaissance the previous day at Garnett's Farm, turning the reconnaissance into a repulsed attack on General William "Baldy" Smith's Sixth Corps. This day's reconnaissance occurred near the farm of Simon Golding, and again became an attack on General Smith's Sixth Corps. Once again the Union forces handily repulsed the Confederate attack.
Union General George McClellan was convinced that he was being attacked from all sides, and became more desperate to remove the Army of the Potomac to Harrison's Landing on the James River.
At 10:00 A.M a detail from the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment was digging trenches in preparation for the final attack on Richmond. They received abrupt orders to return to camp immediately. A short time later Major Paul Revere and Captain Henry Tremlett were ordered to select and assist four companies of the Twentieth, about one-hundred and fifty men, to push railroad cars loaded with ammunition three miles to Savage Station. Revere, Tremlett, and their men arrived exhausted at Savage Station shortly after midnight. As they arrived at Savage Station Brigadier General Napoleon Dana, commander of the Third Brigade of General John Sedgwick's division of General Bull Sumner's Second Corps, received orders to strike tents and prepare to march. General Dana immediately conveyed the orders to all of his regiments, including the Twentieth Massachusetts.1
1George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 110-11. Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 138-39.