War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0386 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA., Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

given than that Major Holt was to report to the assistant adjutant-general of the Third Corps, and there would be an engineer officer, under whose directions he was to proceed and act. I immediately advised General Williams, and the tools were finally procured at the engineer depot General Woodbury's camp. I think this delay must have delayed their work at least four hours.

The detail ordered from Stockton's Michigan regiment to report to Captain Duane at 8 a.m. reported at that hour, and were ordered by Captain Duane to remain at the head of the ravine on the left of the parallel across the Peninsula and await his orders. They did not commence work until an hour and a half after their arrival. Five hundred men, under Lieutenant-Colonel Tileston, of the Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers, did not get to work until two hours after their proper time, owing, I think, to the lack of thorough understanding of the hour at which they were to report and the exact location of the work upon which they were to be engaged. Two hundred men of the Fourteenth New York, under Lieutenant-Colonel Skillen, ordered to work on the mortar battery (which was commenced yesterday),got to work upon the location originally selected for this battery, which was afterward changed to a location to the left and to the rear of the deserted huts.

Lieutenant-Colonel Skillen reported to me shortly after 8 o'clock as follows: That he had been at work since 6.30 o'clock; that there was no one there to direct him what to do, and that he was fearful of doing his work improperly. I immediately advised General Williams of the fact, asking him for the name of the engineer in charge. He replied, Lieutenant McAlester. Shortly afterward I saw Lieutenant McAlester, and learned from him that the location of the mortar battery had been changed by order of General Barnard, and that Lieutenant-Colonel Skillen's detail had been at work at the wrong place. They worked about three hours to no purpose.

The details at work upon the new battery commenced upon the Peninsula half way between Moore's house and the Dam were unable to push on the work during the night, owing to the want of fascines and wire, which had not been sent.

At 11.30 o'clock a.m. I received a full report from Lieutenant Perkins, whom I dispatched at the left of the line to supervise the posting of the guards and to look after the work in the trenches. He reported that there were 500 of the Sixty-third Pennsylvania and 500 of the Fifth Michigan there doing nothing. They had been trying all the morning to find where they were to work. There was no engineer there, and no one knew what work was to be done. Lieutenant Comstock was supposed to be the engineer in charge. Lieutenant Perkins directed them to remain there until they should receive orders from myself of the engineer in charge. The detail of 500 men from my brigade ordered to report at 6.30 p.m. were delayed a considerable length of time in getting their tools, by a journey first to the six-gun, then to the seventeen-gun battery. They did not finally get to work until between 10 and 11 o'clock. The cause is said to be the absence of Lieutenant McAlester, the engineer in charge. I am not informed sufficiently to state this as the positive cause.

The officers report the men as going out full of energy and spirit, determined to show what work they could accomplish, but before they got to work chilled, cold, muddy, and not much in the humor for it.

These comprise, with those in the report of Colonel Poe, the principal portion of the delays in the work upon the trenches during my tour of duty.