Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Where the forest had been standing nearer than gruder about seven hundred yards. No sooner this distance the trees had been felled, in order had it emerged from the forest, on the way to its that the occupants of the redoubts might have position, than four guns from Fort Magruder timely notice of the approach of an enemy, and opened on it, and after it was still further up the early strike him with artillery. The trees had road, they received the fire from two additional been felled in this manner on both sides of the guns from a redoubt on the left. However, road on which we had advanced for a breadth of it was pushed on, and before it was brought into almost half a mile, and the same was the case on motion, two officers and two privates had been the Yorktown road. Between the edge of the shot down, and before a single piece of the batfelled timber and the fort was a belt of clear, tery had been discharged, its cannoniers had arable land, six or seven hundred yards in width. been driven from it despite the skill and activity This was dotted all over with rifle-pits.

of my sharp-shooters in picking off the rebel gunIn connection with the redoubts themselves, I ners. Volunteers were now called for by my may be permitted to state, that I found them gallant Chief of Artillery, Major Wainwright, to standing near the eastern and southern verge of man the battery now in position, when the offia slightly elevated plain, the slopes of which were cers and cannoniers of Osborne's battery sprang furrowed with widening ravines, with an almost forward, and in the time I am writing, had those boundless, gently undulating plain, reaching pieces well at work. Bramhall's battery was across the peninsula, and extending to the north now brought into action under that excellent offiand west as far as the eye can reach. The land- cer, on the right of Webber's, and before nine scape is highly picturesque and not a little o'clock every gun in Fort Magruder was silenced, heightened by the large trees and venerable and all the troops in sight on the plain dispersed. spires of Williamsburgh, two miles distant. Between the sharp-shooters and the two batteries

Fort Magruder appears to be the largest of the the enemy's guns in this fort were not heard redoubts-its crest measuring nearly half a mile, from again until late in the afternoon. with substantial parapets, ditches, magazines, etc. One of the regiments in Brig.-Gen. Patterson's This was located to command the Yorktown and brigade — the Fifth New-Jersey was charged Hampton roads, and the redoubts in its vicinity with the especial care of these batteries, and was to command the ravines, which the guns of Fort posted a little to the rear of them. The remainMagruder could not sweep.

ing regiments of Patterson's brigade, under their Being in pursuit of a retreating army, I deemed intrepid commander, were sent into the left of the it my duty to lose no time in making the disposi- road from where they were standing, in anticipation of my forces to attack, regardless of their tion of an attack from that quarter. number and position, except to accomplish the Heavy forest trees cover this ground and conresult with the least possible sacrifice of life. By ceal from the view the enemy's earthworks, about so doing, my division, if it did not capture the a mile distant. The forest itself has a depth of army before me, would at least hold them in about three fourths of that distance. It was order that some others might.

through this that Patterson led the Sixth, Besides, I knew of the presence of more than Seventh, and Eighth New - Jersey regiments. thirty thousand troops not two miles distant from Bodies of the enemy's infantry were seen drifting me, and that within twelve miles (four hours' in that direction, and the increased musketry fire march) was the bulk of the army of the Potomac. proved that many others were flocking thither, My own position was tenable for double that whom we could not see. length of time against three times my number. Prior to this movement, Brig.-Gen. Emory had

At half-past seven o'clock, Brig.-Gen. Grover reached my position with a light battery and a was directed to commence the attack, by sending body of cavalry, which were promptly placed at the First Massachusetts regiment as skirmishers my disposal by that experienced and gifted sol. into the felled timber on the left of the road on dier ; but, as I had no duty on which I could which they were standing - the Second New- employ those arms of service, and as I was conHampshire regiment to the right—both with di- fined for room in the exercise of my own comrections to skirmish up to the edge of the felled mand, I requested that he would despatch a party timber, and there, under cover, to turn their at- to reconnoitre and observe the movements of the tention to the occupants of the rifle-pits, and the rebels to the rear of my left. This was executed enemy's sharp-shooters and gunners in Fort Ma- to my satisfaction. gruder.

It was now reported to me that the skirmishers The Eleventh Massachusetts regiment, and the to the right had reached the Yorktown road, where Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, were then directed word was sent to Col. Blaisdell to proceed with to form on the right of the Second New. Hamp- the Eleventh Massachusetts and Twenty-sixth shire, and to advance as skirmishers until they Pennsylvania regiments cautiously down that had reached the Yorktown road, and when that road, to destroy any rebel force he might find, was gained to have word sent to me.

and break down any barrier the enemy might Under my Chief of Artillery, Webber's battery have thrown up to check the advance of our was thrown forward in advance of the fallen tim- forces in that direction, and when this was exber, and brought into action in a cleared field on ecuted to report the fact to the nior officer with the right of the road, and distant from Fort Ma-l the troops there, and on his return to send me word of the result of his mission. This was done, where they could look after the front and left at and word was sent to me through Adjt. Currier, the same time. The orders to the Twenty-sixth of the Eleventh regiment.

Pennsylvania regiinent did not reach it, and it reUp to this moment there had been a brisk mained on the right. musketry fire kept up on every part of the field, At this juncture word was received from Col. but its swelling volumes in the direction of Pat- Taylor that the regiments of his command longest terson satisfied me from the beginning of the engaged were falling short of ammunition, and engagement that the enemy had accumulated a when he was informed that the supply-train was heavy force in his front. Grover had already an- not yet up, a portion of his command presented ticipated it, and had moved the main portion of an obstinate front to the advance of the enemy, the First Massachusetts regiment to receive it

, with no other cartridges than were gathered from while first, the Seventy-second New-York regi- the boxes of the fallen. ment, of Taylor's brigade, and soon after the Again the enemy were reënforced by the arSeventieth New-York regiment, of the same bri- rival of Longstreet's division. His troops had gade, were ordered to strengthen Patterson. passed through Williamsburgh, on their retreat

Col. Averill, of the Third Pennsylvania cavalry, froin Yorktown, and were recalled to strengthen had, with great kindness and gallantry, tendered the rebel forces before Williamsburgh. No sooner me his services, while Lieut. McAllister, of the had they joined, than it was known that they engineers, volunteered to make a reconnoissance were again moving to drive in our left; after a of such of the enemy's works as were hidden from violent and protracted struggle they were again view, preparatory to carrying them by assault, repulsed with great loss. should a suitable opportunity present itself for Simultaneous with the movement, an attempt that object. For this service I am under many was made to drive in our front, and seize the bat. obligations to that accomplished officer.

teries, by the troops from Fort Magruder, aided From the earliest moment of the attack, it was by reēnforcements from the redoubts on the left. an object of deep solicitude to establish a connec- The withdrawal of the supports invited this attion with the troops in my immediate neighbor- tack, and it was at this time that four of our guns hood on the Yorktown road, and as that had been were captured. They could have been saved, but accomplished, and as I saw no signs of their ad-only at the risk of losing the day. Whatever of rance, at twenty minutes past eleven A.m. I ad- dishonor, if any, is attached to their loss belongs dressed the subjoined note to the Assistant Ad- to the Brigadier-General commanding the divijutant-General, Third corps, under the impression sion, and not to his chief of artillery, or to the that his Chief was still there. It was as follows: officers and men serving with the batteries — for “I have had a hard contest all the morning, but do truer men never stepped upon the field of battle.

la not despair of success. My men are hard at work, While this was going on in front, Capt. Smith, but a good deal exhausted. It is reported to me by a skilful disposition of his battery, held comthat my communication with you by the York- piete command of the road, which subsequently, town road is clear of the enemy. Batteries, cav. by a few well-directed shots, was turned to good alry, and infantry can take post by the side of account. mine to whip the enemy.'

This found General The foregoing furnishes a faithful narrative of Heintzelman absent, but it was returned opened, the disposition of my command throughout this and on the envelope endorsed, “Opened and read,"eventful day. by the senior officer on that field. A cavalry man Between four and five o'clock, Gen. Kearney, took over the note, and returned with it, by the with all his characteristic gallantry, arrived on Yorktown road, after an absence of twenty min- the ground at the head of his division, and after utes.

having secured their positions, my division was To return, it was now aster one o'clock, and withdrawn from the contest, and held as a rethe battle had swollen into one of gigantic pro- serve until dark, when the battle ended, after a portions. The left had been reēnforced with the prolonged and severe conflict against three times Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth New-York regi- my number, directed by the most accomplished ments—the only remaining ones of my reserve- General of the rebel army, Major-Gen. J. E. Johnunder Col. Taylor, and all were engaged; yet its ston, assisted by Gens. Longstreet, Pryor, Gohlfortunes would ebb and flow despite the most de son and Pickett, with commands selected from termined courage and valor of my devoted officers the best troops in their army. and men. Three times the enemy approached The list of killed and wounded attests the chawithin eighty yards of the road which was the racter of the contest. The killed of the enemy centre of my operations, and as often were they must have been double my own; of the wounded thrown back with violence and slaughter. Every we cannot estimate. Eight hundred were left in time his advance was made with fresh troops, and hospitals at Williamsburgh, and others were diseach succeeding one seemed to be in greater force tributed among the private houses in the city, and determination.

while all the available tenements in the vicinity The Eleventh Massachusetts and the Twenty of the field of battle are filled with them. Three sixth Pennsylvania regiments were ordered to the hundred prisoners were taken. left-the support of the batteries and the Second I have omitted to mention the arrival, early ir. New-Hampshire regiment were withdrawn from the afternoon, of Brig.-Gen. Heintzelman, comtheir advanced position in front, to take post manding the Third army corps, with his staff,

and to express my very grateful acknowledgment church my route was to the left, the direct road for the encouragement inspired by his presence, to Williamsburgh. At half-past one P.M., within and for the aid and support he gave me by his three and a half miles of the battle-field, I halted counsel and conduct.

my column to rest for the first time, and to get As soon as darkness concealed their move- the lengthened files in hand before committing ments, the rebels retreated in a state of utter de- them to action. Capt. Moses, of the General's moralization, leaving behind artillery, wagons, staff

, with great energy assisted me in this effort. etc., etc.

Almost immediately, however, on orders from History will not be believed when it is told Gen. Heintzelman, our knapsacks were piled," that the noble officers and men of my division and the head of the column resumed its march, were permitted to carry on this unequal struggle taking the double-quick wherever the mud-holes from morning until night, unaided, in the presence left a footing. Arrived at one mile from the enof more than thirty thousand of their comrades gagement, you, in person, brought me an order with arms in their hands. Nevertheless, it is for detaching three regiments, one from Berry's, true.

the leading brigade, and two from Birney's, the If we failed to capture the rebel army on the second to support Emory's horse to the left of the plains of Williamsburgh, it surely will not be position. ascribed to the want of conduct and courage in Approaching near the field, word was brought my command.

by an aid-de-camp that Hooker's cartridges were The field was marked by an unusual number expended, and with increased rapidity we enof instances of conspicuous courage and daring, tered under fire. Having quickly consulted with which I shall seek an early opportunity to bring Gen. Hooker and received Gen. Heintzelman's to the notice of the Commander of the Third orders as to the point of onset, I at once deployed corps.

Berry's brigade to the left of the Williamsburgh At this time I can speak but in general terms road, and Birney's on the right of it

, taking of the regiments and batteries engaged in the bat- to cover the movement and to support the retle of Williamsburgh. Their list of the killed and maining battery that had ceased to fire, two comwounded from among their numbers will forever panies of Poe's regiment. As our troops came determine the extent of their participation in this into action the remnants of the brave men of hard-fought and dearly-contested field. Their Hooker's division were passed, and our regiments constancy and courage are deserving all praise. promptly commenced an unremitting, well-diMy profound and grateful acknowledgments are rected fire. However, from the lengthening of tendered to them.

the files the gap occasioned by the withdrawal I am under great obligations to the officers of from the column of three regiments and the simy staff for eminent services, and especially to lence of this battery, I soon was left no alternaCapt. Joseph Dickinson, my Assistant Adjutant- tive than to lead forward to the charge the two General, and to my Aids-de-Camp, Lieutenants companies of the Second Michigan volunteers to Wm. H. Lawrence and Joseph Abbot, who were beat back the enemy's skirmishers, now crowdwith me throughout the day.

ing on our pieces. This duty was performed by The loss of my division on this field was: officers and men with superior intrepidity, and Commissioned officers killed, ....

enabled Maj. Wainwright, of Hooker's division, 21

to collect his artillerists and reopen fire from serCommissioned officers wounded,

65 Enlisted men killed, ...

eral pieces. A new support was then collected 317

from the Fifth New-Jersey, who, terribly decimaEnlisted men wounded,

837 ted previously, again came forward with alacrity. Enlisted men missing,

335

The affair was now fully and successfully engaged

along our whole line, and the regiments kept Total,....

1575

steadily gaining ground. But the heavy strewn Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

timber of the abattis defied all direct approach. Joseph HOOKER,

Introducing, therefore, fresh marksmen from Poe's Brigadier-General Commanding Division. regiment, I ordered Col. Hobart Ward, of the

Thirty-eighth New-York volunteers (Scott LifeGENERAL KEARNEY'S OFFICIAL REPORT.

Guard) to charge down the road and take the rifleHEINTZELMAN's CORPS, May 6, 1562.

,}

pits on the centre of the abattis by their flank.

This duty Col. Ward performed with great galCAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, on lantry, his martial demeanor imparting all confi. receiving orders on the fifth instant, at nine A.M., dence in the attack. Still the move, though nearthe division took up its line of march, and short- ly successful, did not quite prevail; but with ly after came upon the crowded columns before bravery every point thus gained was perfectly

At half-past ten A.M., an order was received sustained. The left wing of Col. Riley's regifrom Gen. Sumner to pass all others and to pro- ment, the Fortieth New-York volunteers, (Moceed to the support of Gen. Hooker, already en- zart,) was next sent for and the Colonel being gaged. With difficulty and much loss of time, valiantly engaged in front came up brilliantly my division at length made its way through the conducted by Capt. Mindil, chief of Gen. Birney's masses of troops and trains that encumbered the staff. These charged up to the open space and deep, single, muddy defile, until at the brick silenced some light artillery, and gaining the eno my's rear caused him to relinquish his cover. HEADQUARTERS THIRD DICASHON BERX877 May 10, 1962!s, } The victory was ours.

us.

CAMPBERRY, . About this period, Gen. Jameson brought up

To His Excellency, Gov. A. G. Curtin, of Pa.: the rear brigade, and the detailed regiments hav. Sir: As the commanding officer of this diviing previously reported, in the midst of a severe sion, of which three regiments, the Fifty-seventh, fire, a second line was established and two col-Sixty-third, and the One Hundred and Fifth Penn umns of regiments made disposable for further sylvania volunteers form a portion, I cannot removes. But darkness, with the still drizzling frain from calling to your notice the important rain, now closed, and the regiments bivouacked part performed by them in the battle of Williams. on the field they had won. The reconnoissance burgh, on the fifth instant, and if not themselves during the night, and the early patrols of the the sufferers in loss, they contributed, by steady morning, revealed the enemy retiring, and Gen. and imposing attitude, to the success of those Heintzelman in person ordered into the enemy's more immediately engaged, and would have works (which our pickets of the One Hundred formed a means of subduing all opposition should and Fifth Pennsylvania regiment, under Lieut. the enemy have resisted on the following day. Gilbert, were entering with Gen. Jameson) the A picket of one hundred and twelve men of the Fourth Maine regiment to erect thereon its stand-One Hundred and Fifth, under Lieut. Gilbert, ard and take possession in full force. I have to were the first to enter the enemy's works, followmark out for the high commendation of the Gen- ed by the Fourth Maine, of Gen. Birney's brigade. eral-in-Chief Gens. Jameson, Birney, and Berry,

Col. A. A. McKnight, One Hundred and Fifth whose soldierly judgment was alone equalled by Pennsylvania, Col. Alexander Hays, Sixty-third, their distinguished courage. I refer you to their and C. T. Campbell, Fifty-seventh, are in my first reports to do justice to the names of the gallant brigade, commanded by Gen. Jameson. In conofficers and men under their immediate command. clusion, your Excellency, it is not by her noble Having confined myself to the centre, principally regiments Pennsylvania was distinguished in the the key of the position, I report as having conspicuously distinguished themselves, imparting tice, and to that of the people of the State, that victory all around, Cols. Poe, Second Michigan the second brigade of my division was commandvolunteers, and Hobart Ward, Thirty-eighth ed by a Pennsylvanian, Gen. Birney. This offiNew-York volunteers. Never in

any
action was

cer displayed coolness and courage, and brought the influence of the staff more perceptible. All into the field the talents which distinguished him were most efficient and defiant of danger. I among his fellow-citizens. He has proved himespecially notice Capt. Smith, Assistant Adjutant- self a good colonel-his brigade is the model of General of Gen. Berry, and predict for him a ca- good discipline. His genius of command was reer of usefulness and glory. My own staff were equally conspicuous on this day. truly my means of vision in this battle in the I have the honor to be, sir, your ob't serv't, woods. I have to deplore the loss of my chief of

P. KEARNEY, staff, Capt. Wilson, who was killed while putting

Brigadier-General Third Division, Third Corps. in execution my desire for a general onset at the

GENERAL BIRNEY'S REPORT. period of the last charge, falling within the ene

HEADQUARTERS BIRNEY'S BRIGADA, KEARNEY'S DIVISION, my's lines. Also, of Lieut. Barnard, late of

CAMP NEAR WILLIAMSBURGH, VA., May 6, 1862.

;} West-Point, at the end of the engagement, after Sir: I have the honor to report that after a having previously lost a horse. Capt. W. V. Stur- wearisome march of six hours on yesterday, gis, my aid, was brave, active, and judicious. through deep mud and a drenching rain, my briLieut

. Moore, another of my aids, renewed on gade being heavily burdened with knapsacks, havthe field his previous distinction gained abroad. ersacks, and shelter-tents, I received an order My volunteer aid, Mr. Watts Depuyster, bore from Gen. Kearney to relieve the troops under himself handsomely in this his first action. I my command from all encumbrances and move have the honor to append the list of killed and forward to the scene of action, some three miles wounded, which, though not impairing our future distant, as rapidly as possible. Leaving under efliciency, was a severe loss for the few engaged. guard all encumbrances, the brigade, although Our batteries were on the field but not required, jaded and wearied, moved forward as rapidly as Maj. Wainwright, of Hooker's division, having the roads would permit

. On nearing the front, by much personal effort resumed the fire of sev. by order of Gen. Heintzelman, through Captain eral pieces; but Capt. Thompson, U.S.A., chief McKeever, I detached the Third and fourth of my division of artillery, in the midst of a Maine regiments, and proceeded with the Thirtyheavy fire, gave me the benefit of his experi- eighth and Fortieth New-York regiments to the ence.

front. When I reached the front, under Gen. I have the honor to be your ob't serv't, Kearney's orders, I deployed the Thirty-eighth

P. KEARNEY, and right wing of the Fortieth New-York regiBrigadier-General Third Division, Third Corps. ments to the right of the road, and relieved, opCaptain C. McKEEVER,

portunely, fragments of regiments that had been Assistant-Adjutant General, Heintzelman's Corps.

in the fight. They marched steadily to the front,

and drove the enemy, after a furious contest, The following is the report of Gen. Kearney from the woods. They fell back over fallen timto Gov. Curtin:

ber, and opened a destructive fire from rifle-pits. VOL. V.--Doc. 2

LETTER FROM GENERAL KEARNEY.

a

They were supported by their batteries, which poured a well-aimed and destructive fire into our

HEADQC , } ranks. The Thirty-eighth and right wing of the

CAMP BERRY, BARHAMSVILLE, May 10, 1862. Fortieth New-York behaved nobly, and main- To His Excellency Gov. Morgan : tained their position. During the contest, the Sır : It is with great satisfaction that I have Thirty-eighth New-York regiment, under Colonel the honor of bringing to your notice the distinWard, were ordered to charge down the main guished conduct of officers and regiments of the road in advance of the Michigan regiments, and, State of New York, comprised in my division, piercing the enemy's centre, to carry the rifle-pits and as particularly illustrated in the late severe by the flank, and the left wing of Col. Riley's re- but victorious engagement

of the fifth instant in giment (Fortieth New - York) were ordered in front of Williamsburgh. These were the Thirtylike manner to follow the Thirty-eighth New- seventh, Col. Hayman; the Thirty-eighth, Col. York, to take the enemy in the rear. I sent with J. H. Hobart Ward, and Fortieth, Colonel Riley. this wing Capt. Mindel, of my staff, and under New-York will ever hold her place as Empire Gen. Kearney's presence he led them to the dan. State as long as she has such sons to represent gerous position assigned them. Capt. Gesner, of her. the left wing, and Capt. Mindel behaved well un- If, Your Excellency, I do not particularize inder the terrible fire that greeted them, and led dividual officers, it is that I could not, where all the brave officers and men under them gallantly was zeal, distinguish one without injustice to the and worthily. Night coming on, put an end to other. The Colonels are of the same opinion as the pursuit, and, amidst the darkness and rain, myself. Colonels of two of them stop before the we waited the morning. During the night the difficulty of a selection ; another, Col. Hayman, Third and Fourth Maine regiments, that had been, includes his entire list. previous to the contest, detached by order of

The services of these regiments were most Gen. Heintzelman, reported to me for duty in necessary. Each of the three bore the full brunt front, and by order of Gen. Kearney I moved of the battle. The Thirty-seventh, Col. Hayman, them to the front, to relieve the Thirty-eighth constituted our extreme left, part of Gen. Berry's and Fortieth New-York regiments. I pushed brigade. The Thirty-eighth and Fortieth Regithem on to the enemy's works, found them de- ments served on the right flank. During the acserted, and troops to the left of us in possession. tion, the Thirty-eighth, Col. Ward, and a wing My brigade has lost several gallant officers and of the Fortieth regiment, were marshaled for the many brave men in this contest. Annexed you desperate work of piercing the enemy's left cenwill find a list of killed, wounded, and missing.

tre and carrying the rifle-pits in the nearly imWhere so much gallantry was displayed it is passable abattis--a desperate undertaking. But difficult to select the most deserving of notice. I knew their reputation, and I was sure of their To Col. Ward, Capts. Mindel and Gesner fell the success.

Col. Hobart Ward lost nine officers out good fortune to lead the most important charges, of the nineteen that went into action. Two of and they were well supported by the gallant of them were prisoners, and were rescued. cers and men under them. Col. Riley maintained

Your Excellency, I particularly name to you well his position, and executed the orders with these Colonels, as most meritorious and gallant coolness and efficiency. The loss of the rebels in officers, and trust that their State will ever be front of my regiments was terrible; those that mindful of them as her proud representatives. remained on the ground, some forty, were de

Your Excellency, in making you this, my first cently buried. The Thirty-eighth New-York re official communication, I am happy to embrace giment, or “Scott Life-Guard," preserved well the the occasion to assure you how sensible I have high reputation it gained for gallantry at Bull ever been of your having recommended me origiRun, and although in that engagement and in this nally as one of the Generals within your nominait has lost fifteen officers and one third of its tion. members, it is still ready to devote the balance to

I enclose the list of killed and wounded of these support our flag. I ask that Congress will, by three New-York regiments. special resolution, authorize this regiment to place

Most respectfully, upon its flag, “Bull Run” and “Williamsburgh,'

Your obedient servant, and the Fortieth New-York or Mozart regiment,

P. KEARNEY,

Brig.-Gen. Commanding Third Division “Williamsburgh.” I trust that the General com

Heintzelman's Corps. manding division, seeing how well two of my regiments carried out his orders, will never hesitate to rely on my brigade.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION PEINTZELXAN'S CORPS, Lieut.-Col. Strong, Thirty-eighth New-York re

CAMP BERRY, BARHAMSVILLE, VA., May 10. giment, deserves special mention for his gallant To His Excellency, Israel Washburn, Jr., Gooconduct. His wound, although disabling him, I ernor of Maine : am happy to report is not mortal, and he will be Sır: As Commanding General of this division, soon returned to his regiment.

of which two of the Generals commanding briI am yours truly, D. B. BIRNEY, gades, (Gen. Jameson and Gen. Berry,) as well

Brigadier General. as two regiments, the Third Maine, Col. Staples, Lieut. W. G. STURGIS,

and the Fourth, Col. Walker, form a part, I take A, A. General, Kearney's Division,

this opportunity of calling to your notice their

COMPLIMENT TO THE MAINE TROOPS.

« ZurückWeiter »