In closing this report, I wish to bear my testimony to the gallant and soldierlike conduct of Colonel Townsend, who was indefatigable in encouraging his men and leading them in the hottest scenes for the action. I also desire to acknowledge the valuable service rendered by the lamented Major Winthrop and Captain Haggerty, of your staff, in carrying orders to posts of exposure and danger. Colonel Carr, in covering the retreat, showed himself a good soldier, ready and willing to do his duty. In the death of Lieutenant Greble, of U. S. Army, who bravely fell at his gun, I recognize the loss of an able and gallant officer, whose conduct in the battle is deserving of all praise, and whose memory should be repudiated by a grateful country.
EBENZER W. PIERCE,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General, Commanding Department of Virginia.
Numbers 3. Report of Colonel frederick Townsend, Third New York Infantry.
HDQRS. THIRD REGIMENT N. Y. VOLUNTEERS,
June 12, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of Brigadier-General Pierce, that on the evening of Sunday, June 9, I received orders from him to have my command in readiness, with one day's rations, to move that night, to form part of a column composed of two regiments from Newport News and Colonel Duryea's and my own, intended to make a reconnaissance in force towards Yorktown. In obedience to these orders, with the concerted sing of a white badge upon our left arms, at midnight I marched my regiment to hampton, where the general met the command and accompanied it.
On approaching a defile through a thick wood, about five or six miles from Hampton, a we'd and well-sustained fire for canister and small-arms was opened upon the regiment while it was marching in a narrow road upon the flank, in route step, and wholly unsuspicious of an enemy, inasmuch as we were ordered to re-enforce Colonel Dureya, who had preceded us by some two hours, and who had been ordered to throw out as he marched and advance guard two and a half miles from his regiment and a sustaining force half way between the advance and the regiment, therefore, had Colonel Duryea been obliged to retreat upon us before we reached his locality, we should have heard instant firing or some of his regiment would have been seen retreating. The force which fired upon us was subsequently ascertained to be only the regiment of Colonel Bendix, though a portion of the Vermont and Fourth Massachusetts regiments were with it, having come down with two 6-pounder field pieces from Newport News to join the column. These regiments took u a masked position in the woods at the commencement of the defile. The result of the fire upon us was, two mortally wounded (one since dead), three dangerously, and four officers and twelve privates slightly, making a total of twenty-one.
At the commencement of the fire the general, Captain Chamberlain, his aide-de-camp, and two mountain howitzers, were about two hundred and fifty paces in advance of the regiment. The fire was opened upon them first by a discharge from small-arms, and immediately followed