War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0258 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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woods near the shore," &c., were reported to the gunners in a few minutes after their broadsides were opened. The gunboats continued their fire for some time after the land batteries had ceased, and until the enemy's columns, repulsed and scattered, were out of range and hidden from view.

With the first lull of the firing came inquiries by signals from General McClellan as to the progress of the battle still raging with other parts of the army. The reply from General Porter brought the commanding general quickly on shore and on the field, which reached after night-fall. Messages went to and from between the field and the gunboats until after dark, when the vessels moved down the river. At the beginning of the action the signal flag stationed and working on a house on Malvern Hill, directly in front of the enemy's batteries, seemed to attract their attention, and several shots, some of them passing very close, were thrown at it. No injury was done, however, and the working was not suspended. The number of messages crowded on this station from all parts of the army was too great to admit that all of them should be sent.

During this action other stations were established communicating from the position of General Porter, after he came upon the field, to where our advanced batteries (under General Griffin, stationed a mile distant, on the Quarter road) were firing on the enemy. Some messages in reference to this firing were thence communicated to General Porter. These field stations were withdrawn at dark. A detail of officers and men was posted at the Malvern Hill station, to be on the alert throughout the night in the case of an emergency, and an officer was sent to one of the gunboats, by the order of General McClellan, to open communication thence that night if it was practicable. The vessel had moved so far down the river that the signals were not visible. The stations at Haxall's, communicating with the fleet near there, were retained. Mention had been made of the names of officers in my preliminary report. The headquarters camp was this night at Haxall's Station. The next day was fought the principal battle of Malvern Hill.


The preparations for this battle commenced at daylight. The officers who had been placed on board the fleet the preceding day had remained throughout the night. Other officers were now sent to the vessels which it was expected would take part in the action. The stations on Malvern Hill and at Haxall's remained as they had before been posted. Orders were sent to Lieutenant Fisher, acting signal officer (who, arriving from White Oak Swamp, reported for duty this morning), to establish stations on the right and left of our lines (which the whole army had formed in the night), near Malvern Hill, and as far in front as was practicable. The central station was to be near the station communicating with the Navy, which was also near the position occupied by General Porter on the crest of Malvern Hill. In obedience to this order Lieutenant Camp, acting signal officer, was posted on the house at General Heintzelman's headquarters, communicating with Lieutenant McCreary, acting signal officer, stationed near General Porter; Lieutenants Gloskosky and Ellis, acting signal officers near the headquarters of General Couch, on the left, communicating with Lieutenant Wiggins, acting signal officer at the central station; Lieutenants Birney and Yates, acting signal officers on station to communicate with the