War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0242 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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artillery announced that a conflict had recommenced near the first scene of battle. Hastily turning back, the party again arrived on the field just as the last shots were fired.

On the following day the army occupied the same position. The dead were buried; the wounded were cared for. The condition of the enemy's camp showed with what haste they had retreated.

A station of observation was opened on a prominent house near the field of battle, whence frequent reports were made to headquarters. Other minor stations were also established. The officers were called in from these stations at sunset. It was thought there might be a battle from these stations at sunset. It was thought there might be a battle on the following day, and an order was sent back to camp directing more officers to report the next morning. The party bivouacked on the field.

At daylight the next morning the chief signal officer was ordered by General Porter to send a party to General Emory, under whose command expeditions had been sent out during the night. The headquarters of General Emory were found at a church or school-house beyond Hanover. They were connected by a line of repeating stations with those of General Porter yet upon the battle-field.

The chief signal officer was also directed to extend a line as far toward the left on the Ashland road as was practicable. The headquarters of General Morell, commanding on the left, were connected by repeating stations with general headquarters, and when, a few hour after, the signal detachment ordered in the night arrived, this line was extended a mile and a half toward Ashland. A signal station was erected upon the roof of the mansion before mentioned.

About 9 a. m. a dense cloud of smoke was reported as visible from this station. It was some miles distant and in the direction take by one of our expeditions. Not long after a signal dispatch from General Emory announced that our troops had reached Ashland and the destruction of the railroad bridge. This was followed by other brief messages and reports. Orders went soon after to General Emory to call in his forces.

The object of the advance on Hanover (the destruction of the enemy's communications by railroad north) had been accomplished, and the army corps was about to rejoin the Army of the Potomac. The signal lines were ordered to be broken up. The last message-one of "All quiet"- came from the left. The party was concentrated and moved for their camp on the Chickahominy. At 1 o'clock all our troops were in motion on their return, and the headquarters of General Porter had left the field of battle.


The siege of Richmond may very properly date from the time at which headquarters camp was established at New Bridge. By the closing days of May the left wing of the Army of the Potomac had advanced along the railroad toward Richmond to beyond Fair Oaks. It was concealed in the dense woods, and held the swampy and uncomfortable ground on the south side of the Chickahominy. Its advanced pickets were just in view of great cleared fields and high grounds, which, if attained, would bring them almost within range of Richmond and in healthy encampments. The right of the army was stretched along the northern banks of the Chickahominy from Bottom's Bridge to beyond Mechanicsville. There were bridges at Bottom's Bridge, at the railroad crossing, at a point above the railroad-a corduroy structure, known as Sumner's