War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0385 Chapter XXIII. SIEGE OF YORKTOWN, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

chief of engineers. From General Barnard's adjutant, Lieutenant Hall, of the artillery, I received an idea of the location of the works in progress, but no instructions from any source. I directed the field officers commanding the outposts from Battery 7 to the York River to report to me. I caused to be read to them all the portions of the confidential circular of April 23 relating to their duties.

I issued the following orders to the field officers of divisions in charge of working details in the trenches:

You will please keep a record of the work under your charge, as follows:

1st. The detail at work; number of men; regimental officers in charge; work upon which they are engaged, and manner of performing, their duty.

2nd. Engineer officer detailed; his name; hour of arrival and departure; directions received from him.

3rd. Hours at which details commence work and cease; hour of their arrival at the ground and departure.

4th. Condition of the work when each detail commenced work; progress and amount completed each four hours afterward.

5th. Any general remarks as to the progress and condition of the work necessary, or of interest to the general commanding the army or the general of the trenches.

The reports under the 4th heading will be in the shape of a memorandum, and will be sent to me at headquarters at the mill-dam every four hours-8,12 and 4 a.m. and p.m. The engineer officer in charge will certify to the amount of work completed, as mentioned on the memorandum.

The information required under article 5 will be sent as often as may by deemed necessary or important by you. The failure of any detail to report for duty at the hour ordered or the absence of any officer, delaying the work, will be immediately reported.

In no case were any reports received or the order in any way complied with, except by Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent, commanding details working in trenches from your division.

The officers who failed entirely to comply with these orders were Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, One hundred and fifth [sixty-third] Pennsylvania Volunteers, from Hamilton's division; Major Holt, Seventieth New York Volunteers, from Hooker's division.

The officers in command of the details for outpost duty, with the details, are as follows: From Porter's division, Colonel McQuade, Fourteenth New York Volunteers;detail 600 men from Fourth Michigan Regiment and 400 men from the Sixty-second Pennsylvania Regiment. From General Hamilton's division, Colonel O. M. Poe, Second Michigan Volunteers; detail two regiments, unknown. From General Hooker's division, Colonel Cowdin, First Massachusetts Regiment; detail First Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers. I inclose the report of each of these officers.*

Your attention is directed to the report of Colonel Poe, concerning working parties having been sent to the trenches not in charge of field officers, in direct violation of General McClellan's orders.

At noon I discovered 500 men from Hooker's division (250 from Sixth New Jersey, and 250 from Seventh New Jersey) were at work at the redoubt near Battery Numbers 5 without a field officer in charge, also in violation of the orders. I reported the same to Captain McKeever, and asked him to direct that a field officer be placed in charge of the work. Upon my arrival on the ground at 8 o'clock I found Major Holt, who stated that he was ordered to report with 1,000 men; that he had no tools and that he had made ineffectual attempts at the headquarters of General Heintzelman and General Porter and other places to secure tools. I reply to an inquiry at General Hooker's concerning instructions given for the detail, it was stated that no other instructions were

---------------

*Not found.

---------------

25 R R-VOL XI