Today in History:

97 Series I Volume XI-II Serial 13 - Peninsular Campaign Part II


General Hooker being worn-out by continued service in throwing up works and constant watchfulness, the commanding general allowed me to retain General Palmer's brigade to cover our front on the Williamsburg road.

During the night there were several stampedes, but I observed that most of the firing came from our troops. There were also indications that the enemy were collecting and moving troops and artillery. This was supposed to indicate a purpose on their part to attack us in the morning. I thought it rather a preparation on their part to meet an advance from us, as a very small advance farther in this direction would turn their works at Old Tavern. To be prepared for any contingency I was on the ground at daylight. An hour after there was heavy firing again, but almost entirely from our side. Last evening it was reported to me by the signal officers that the enemy were moving and placing artillery in position. As soon as the fog lifted sufficiently it was observed that the rebel troops and camps had been withdrawn out of sight back into the woods, beyond the range of our artillery. Only their pickets were to be seen. The sounds taken for the moving of artillery the evening before being the wagons employed in removing the rebel camps, we were now left in undisturbed possession of the ground we had gained the day before.

I cannot close this report without again calling attention to the gallantry and good judgment displayed by General Hooker. All the arrangements of his division were made by him and under his special superintendence. Than him there is not a braver man in this army of one ore worthy of promotion. I also would call attention to General Robinson. The attack on his line was one of the severest of the day, and he handsomely sustained himself. The Twentieth Indiana, of his brigade, distinguished itself and bore the burn of the attack, well supported by the Sixty-third Pennsylvania, Colonel Hays. I also desire to call attention to the special mention made in General Hooker's report of Brigadier-General Sickles and Grover and the commanders of regiments.

General Kearny, with the officers and men of his division, conducted themselves with their usual gallantry. It is impossible to mention all who are deserving, but I inclose the reports I have received.

The officers of my staff were with me, and active in the performance of their duties.

This was apparently only an affair of pickets, but there were engaged on our side both the divisions of my corps, a brigade of General Couch's division, General Keye's corps, and a portion of General Richardson's division, General Sumner's corps. The ground was exceedingly difficult, and every inch of it was most gallantly contested by a large force of the enemy, and our heavy loss shows with what energy. It put us in a position that with fresh troops the next day I had no doubt we could have turned the enemy's position that with fresh troops the next day I had no doubt we could have turned the enemy's position at Old Tavern. The men of my corps were worn-out by continued watchfulness for near a month, and an encampment, with bad water, in an unwholesome swamp, on the old battle-field, with the half-buried dead men and horses poisoning the air. They had already accomplished all that could be expected from men.