War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0018 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

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the more exposed and heaviest batteries was delayed by storms, preventing the landing of guns and ammunition.

It having been discovered that the enemy were receiving artillery stores at the wharf in Yorktown, on May 1 Battery No. 1 was opened with effect upon the wharf and town.

On the 22nd of April General Franklin, with his division from General McDowell's corps, had arrived and reported to me. The garrison of Gloucester Point had been re-enforced and the works strengthened; but as this division was too small to detach to the Severn and no more troops could be spared, I determined to act on Gloucester, by disembarking it on the north bank of the York River, under the protection of the gunboats. The troops were mainly kept on board ship while the necessary preparations were made for landing them and supporting then in case of necessity. For a full account of this labor I refer to the report of Lieutenant Colonel B. S.

Alexander, of the Engineer Corps, detailed for this expedition.

While the siege works were being rapidly completed, the roads on the left wing necessary for ammunition and advance were opened and chartered over the marshes, batteries were erected to silence the enemy's guns and drive him from his works at Wynn's and Lee's Mills, preparatory to the general attack. Active reconnaissances were continually going on and attempts in force made to drive the enemy from the banks.

The result of various reconnaissance, made under the immediate direction of General W. F. Smith, commanding Second Division, Fourth Corps, led to the belief that the weakest point of that part of the enemy's lines was opposite a field where it was ascertained that there was a dam covered by a battery known to contain at least one gun.

It was determined to push a strong reconnaissance on this point, to silence the enemy's fire, and ascertain the actual strength of the position. Being prepared to sustain the reconnoitering party by a real attack, if found expedient, General W. F. Smith was directed to undertake the operation on the 16th of April. He silenced the fire of the enemy's guns, discovered the existence of the other works previously concealed and unknown, and sent a strong party across the stream, which was finally forced to retire with some loss. Smith entrenched himself in a position immediately overlooking the dam and the enemy's works, so as to keep them under control and prevent the enemy from using the dam as a means of crossing the Warwick to annoy us.

Many times toward the end of the month the enemy attempted to drive in our pickets and take our rifle pits near Yorktown, but always without success.

As the siege progressed it was with great difficulty that the rifle pits on the right could be excavated and held, so little covering could be made against the not fire of the enemy's artillery and infantry. Their guns continued firing up to a late hour of the night of the 3rd of May.

Our batteries would have been ready to open on the morning of the 6th May at latest; but on the morning of the 4th it was discovered that the enemy had already been compelled to evacuate his position during the night, leaving behind him all his heavy guns, uninjured, and a large amount of ammunition and supplies. For the details of the labors of the siege I refer to the accompanying reports and journals of Brigadier General J. G. Barnard, chief engineer, charged with the selection, laying out, and completion of the approaches and batteries; of Brigadier General William F. Barry, chief of artillery, charged with arming and supplying with ammunition all the siege and field batteries; and of Brigadier General