At the Battle of Fair Oaks, (Henrico County Virginia) the Unions lines retreated in disarray and confusion. Entire regiments turned and ran from the poorly armed, but better organized Confederates. In an effort to stop the retreat General Edwin Sumner rode up to the New York fighting 69th and "In what was probably the only speech of his life" as his aid put it and bellowed "You Irishmen are our last hope.if you fail, we are lost.but I'll go my stars on you boys, I want to see how Irishmen fight, and when you run, by God, I'll run too!" "They responded with a hearty cheer,” wrote Captain Field of the US Artillery "the Irish moved into position with the air of men who were going to stay. A fresh crash (of cannon fire) showed when the struck at the enemy. For a few minutes the fire was deafening then it began to retire. The yells gave way to long continuous cheers, an aid galloped up to order a section of artillery to follow the advancing line of Irishmen the battle of Fair Oaks was won. It was an inspiriting opening of a heroic history and from that day on General Sumner swore by "his Irishmen"