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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 218 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

road steps were taken to shorten up the train by moving in several columns. Reports frequently came in of the movements of the enemy in various quarters, and on reception of one of these General Smith formed line of battle for some half hour to co-operate with me.

About 12 o'clock m. Colonel Averell passed by with his fine command, bringing up everything from the direction of Turkey Creek in excellent order and time. As every command, ambulance, wagon, and straggler had gone by the rear guard, I directed General Wessells to draw in his pickets and detachments, and move on and take up a new position in rear of General Naglee. About 5 o'clock p. m. it was evident that, owing to the terrible condition of the roads, the whole country being flooded with water, which had poured down upon the clay soil uninterruptedly since early in the morning, the train could not reach its destination that night, and without protection would fall in the hands of the enemy, rapidly advancing. I placed Wessells' brigade in position on the other side of Kimmager's [or Kimminger's?] Creek, with Miller's battery and seven small companies of cavalry. The brigade of Naglee, he being unwell, was placed in supporting distance this side of the creek. Soon after the enemy opened with artillery upon the train, for the purpose of creating confusion and stampeding the animals. Two additional regiments were sent to re-enforce General Wessells. Judicious dispositions were made by him, and every step taken to keep the train of wagons moving through the night across the creek.

At daylight on the 3rd the crossings of the stream were well nigh impassable, the rain having continued through the night. The drivers and animals were exhausted by want of food and great exertion, and the prospect for the passage of the balance of the train exceedingly dubious. New roads were cut through the woods, teams were doubled, and fresh ones sent for. The enemy's pickets were around us and his advance column not far distant, doubtless held in check by the fire of the gunboats. The work proceeded slowly but surely through the day, and at 7 o'clock p. m. on the 3rd I had the proud satisfaction of reporting, for the information of the headquarters Army of the Potomac, that the last vehicle had passed the creek. The opinion is ventured that the history of military operations affords no instance where a train of like magnitude and value was moved so great a distance in the presence of the enemy, and in the face of so many material obstacles, with so trifling a loss.

So soon as the train was fairly out of the way I brought the rear guard to this side, where I established my line of battle along the crest of the creek, my left resting on the James River. On the 4th I called the attention of the general-in-chief to the advantages of this line, and after an examination he was pleased to adopt it. The timber on the opposite side has been slashed down to the James; also in the ravine and up to the crest of the creek on one side, which is lined with rifle pits and batteries. Numerous roads have been cut, giving free communication between the reserves and the front and between the different portions of the front.

General Ferry, with the Thirty-ninth Illinois, Thirteenth Indiana, Sixty-second and Sixty-seventh Ohio Regiments, was assigned to my division on the 6th instant. The record of these troops in the Shenandoah Valley is highly creditable, and gives promise of brilliant conduct when an opportunity offers.

General Naglee was intrusted with a highly responsible and trying command at Bottom's Bridge and the railroad, which he discharged with zeal and fidelity. His troops at Dispatch Station were brought over at the right time. His batteries and sharpshooters inflicted some


Page 218 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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