War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0309 Chapter XXIII. SIEGE OF YORKTOWN, VA.

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This creek here is about 1,200 yards distant from the Yorktown road. The Fourteenth Alabama was stationed there, and according to the statement of four soldiers of that regiment, taken by the

Sixth Maine Volunteers, it numbered 1,070 men when it left Richmond, a few days ago. During the afternoon other movements of troops were observed marching down the stream behind the works, while this regiment was holding the crest of the creek. The dam there, by the statement of the colonel, is from 15 to 20 rods in length and about 12 feet broad. It is believed that yesterday that point could have been easily taken. The colonel of the regiment sent me a message by his major, asking permission to take it, which, however, I did not receive, being at the time with the other regiment, overlooking the two lower works. I merely mention this to show his idea of the practicability of it at that time, for I imagine the difficulty would have been in crossing the creek and in maintaining possession after we had taken it, for we had no artillery on intrenching tools with us. Major Harris, who took the message, with an escort of two men, meeting a scouting party of seven of the enemy, was prevented from communicating. He, however, by a ruse (commanding a deployment of men) and the fire of the two men, killing one of the enemy, causing them to fall back, escaped.

The circumstances were entirely changed afterwards, for the movement of several regiments of troops beyond the forts was observed by our line of skirmishers, who, notwithstanding, held the crest for about three hours, and until withdrawn to return. The next work below that appeared to be a rifle pit, and showed no guns. Our skirmishers, of the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, Captain Bean, drove the enemy from this crest down the bank, across the bridge there, and into their works. This appears to be flanked by the work in rear of the one-gun battery. Below this three other works were seen, each mounting artillery, each containing several guns. We drove the enemy to the crest of the high ground overlooking the flat in front of these forts. From the one (of those two) highest up the stream the enemy threw a number of shells at our skirmishers. It appears to have a direct control of the next one or two lower down the stream. We had a fair view of the lower work from this crest at about not more than 1,000 paces, and probably not so far. This crest commands it, and looks down upon the mill and road directly under it.

Troops are stationed at the mill, for at each time of driving their skirmishers in bugle-calls sounded the alarm, and the movement of a piece of light artillery was heard. It appeared to us to be moved toward us, in order to prevent our skirmishers from descending the crest or debouching on the road. At another point lower down, at 1,100 yards' distance, we had a fair, unobstructed view of the fourth work in the order mentioned, from ground that commanded it, and with a level plain between us and the stream. Our skirmishers, who had lain there twenty-four hours, reported that the parapets of that work had been raised about 3 feet. There is an encampment of troops in the woods on one flank and one in the rear of it. Several colors could be seen in the woods. For a detailed explanation as to the armament, position of the forts, and their relative positions, I beg leave to refer you to the reports of the engineers, who made their reports direct to the headquarters of the army corps. I herewith of the army corps. I herewith inclose a return of the casualties.

Our soldiers behaved with spirit. I may mention here the names of

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