War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0308 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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most of Mulberry Island and reach their landings on the James River side.

James River from Newport News to a point about 4 miles above the mouth of the Warwick has an average breadth of nearly 5 miles, enabling the smaller vessels to keep out of the range of batteries on the Peninsula. At that point it is reduced to about 1 3/4 miles, and continues of this width some 2 miles. Above the light-house on Mulberry Point it widens out again. Would not possession of the island enable the commanding general to control in a considerable degree the James River in case the Navy fails to do the work?

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN J. PECK,

Brigadier-General.

General R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac.

[Indorsement.]

MAY 1, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded. I think more heavy artillery necessary to make much impression on Mulberry Island than General Peck specifies.

E. D. KEYES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.

Numbers 18. Report of Brigadier General Winfield S. Hancock,

U. S. Army, of reconnaissance toward Yorktown, April 5, with indorsements.

CAMP IN FRONT OF WARWICK COURT-HOUSE,

April 7, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor that in obedience to instructions from division headquarters I yesterday morning proceeded with the Fifth Wisconsin and Sixth Maine Regiments of Volunteers to make a reconnaissance from this point of the creek, forming the line of the enemy's defense, until I met our own troops coming from the direction of Yorktown. Lieutenant Merrill, of the Engineers, and Lieutenant Bowen, Topographical Engineer, were ordered to report to me.

We found the enemy in possession of the whole length of the stream, our skirmishers meeting the enemy's pickets at every point on this side of the river and driving them to it, and in several places across it. In each case field works of the enemy were developed, all, with one exception, having artillery in them. The stream is a succession of pools, formed by damming the river at different points, rendering it, its understood, unfordable, the enemy's pickets retiring by small bridges. The banks of the stream on the other side appear generally to be higher than on this side. In one case, however, at some chimneys in an open field, at about 400 yards distance, the ground is higher than their battery opposite, mounting one gun, but there are evidences of another work behind this, sheltered by the woods, and there are appearances of ranges being cut in the woods and two guns there. This is the point where Lieutenant Comstock met my column and made a reconnaissance, covered by one of my regiments, the Sixth Maine, under Colonel Burnham.