battery on the Peninsula, the excavations completed for the magazine, a ditch dug to drain the battery and the magazine, and the men were working leisurely in the absence of the fascines and wire to carry on the battery. The work had progressed well on the mortar battery near the ravine in the left and rear of the secession huts. At 8 a.m. General Birney, general of the trenches of the day, had not arrived. Presuming that he had selected some other portion of the line for his headquarters, I returned,to camp. Two regiments of the enemy were seen about dusk to break camp, pack knapsacks, and move to their left from near the front of Battery Numbers 7. toward Yorktown.
This report has been delayed by the non-arrival of the reports of the field officers in charge of details and the late arrival of the reports of commandants of outposts. I must apologize for the incoherent manner in which the report is made up. I have sent it in as it is, feeling it to be my positive duty to make a full report of everything as speedily as possible, without regard to the manner so long as the matter was all in.
I hope you will return it to me if in your judgment anything in it is ill-advised or improper.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.
Brigadier-General, General of the Trenches, April 27, 1862
Brigadier General FITZ JOHN PORTER,
Numbers 46. Report of Brigadier General David B. Birney,
U. S. Army as General of the Trenches, April 28
HEADQUARTERS BIRNEY'S BRIGADE.
Hamilton's Division, Camp Winfield Scott, April 29, 1862
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I entered on my tour of duty as general of the trenches at 8 o'clock a.m. April 28, 1862. The field officers, excepting Porter's division, were ignorant of the order requiring them to report to the general of the trenches and much of the day was expended in getting into communication with them. The work on the parallels progressed fairly, although there is great slackness on the part of officers in keeping the men at work. One-half of the detail well officered and men urged to labor would accomplish double the present progress. The new oblique parallel was pushed through vigorously by the detail from General Sykes' brigade. A great deal of work was accomplished. The second relief of working party from Porter's division on the parallel on right did not report, and work ceased with first relief. Rifle pits to control the chimney were sunk as instructed, as well as the darkness and fog would enable us to judge of the ground. I would recommend the sinking of small rifle pits with sand-bag protection in front of several points on our line.
The enemy fired some 30 rifle shots at our advanced sentinels, to which my pickets, according to my instructions, did not reply. The cannonading on their part directed to our right was incessant-chiefly small shell, with an occasional solid shot and several mortar discharges. The only injury to our guard or working parties was a severe flesh-wound in the thigh from a shell received by a sergeant in the fatigue detail from General Sykes' brigade.