Today in History:

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


the Charles City road, where the enemy were reported to be crossing the swamp. After getting our guns into this position we shelled the woods vigorously for about half an hour, effectually checking the enemy at that point. I then received orders from you to move the battery to the left of our line to aid General Heintzelman. We immediately limbered up, moved off at a trot, and took a position, designated by you, in an open field, a short distance in rear of our infantry, which was then engaged and about 800 yards in front of the enemy's line. We then opened a rapid and well-directed fire with solid shot, firing about 20 rounds, when the enemy, finding it impossible to withstand the combined fire of our artillery and infantry, retired under cover of the woods. By this time our infantry had advanced so far to the front of our position that it was considered dangerous to fire any more at that time. We therefore ceased firing, but remained in position until about 2 o'clock a.m., on the 1st of July, when, pursuant to orders received, we withdrew from the field.

Our loss this day was as follows: Sergt. James L. Johnson and Private Patrick Swaine, both supposed to be mortally wounded, and have probably fallen into the hands of the enemy. I have also to report 3 horses killed. We fired during the day 130 rounds of shot, shell, and spherical case.

On the 1st of July, after withdrawing about 4 miles from the scene of the previous day's engagement, the battery was held in reserve until about 6 o'clock p.m., when it was ordered up to the assistance of General Couch's division, which was engaged with a superior force of the enemy. Our battery was posted in a small field near the head of a large and thickly-wounded ravine on the right of the division. It having been reported that the enemy occupied this ravine in force, with the intention of turning General Couch's right, we opened fire with spherical case-shot and shell, discharging each gun about twice every five minutes. In a short time an aide came to me from General Couch, and said that the general depended upon our battery to prevent the enemy from turning his right. From that time until we ceased firing we discharged our pieces as rapidly as possible. Not a shot was lost, by being fired too high or too low, and I have been told by officers, who were in a position to witness the result that the effect on the enemy was very destructive and finally compelled him to retire with great loss.

After keeping up a constant fire for about an hour and a half, having expended all of our ammunition, the enemy having retired, we were relieved by order of General Couch, and withdrew from the field without the loss of a man, although the rebel sharpshooters stationed in the neighboring trees kept up an incessant fire on the battery, killing 1 horse and wounding 4 others.

In both engagements the conduct of the non-commissioned officers and men was excellent, and my special thanks are due to Lieutenants Henderson and Bancroft and First Sergt. Robert James, who each commanded a section, for the efficient manner in which they performed their arduous and responsible duties.

In the engagement of July 1 we expended 670 rounds of shot, shell, and spherical case.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, Fourth Artillery, Commanding Battery K.

Captain G. A. DE RUSSY,

Fourth Arty., Chief of Artillery, Third Corps.