War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0395 Chapter XXIII. SIEGE OF YORKTOWN, VA.

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angle of the picket line to the south of the little creek I kept my regiment 30 or 40 paces in front of them, with skirmishers about the same distance in front of me.

As the work progressed from left to right-that is, from south to north-I moved along to keep pace, throwing out more skirmishers until the whole belt of woods and abatis were rendered clear. This was accomplished by 9.30 o'clock. The pioneers worked very industriously. I was then ordered to place the center of my right on the little creek, and to move forward with caution, while the pioneers cleared the ravine through which the creek runs. This I did. The little creek is deep. A man goes in it to his middle; its sides are steep; it is 6 feet wide. I moved forward in the manner indicated about 40 paces. The pioneers did their work behind me. The regiment was pretty close on the skirmishers, because at this point all the ground was covered with water and the skirmishers went slowly. Here we commenced to see through the thin forest the earthwork of the enemy, which I have drawn, facing the ravine. In front of the parapet are protections of some sort for riflemen-I think logs. The sharpshooters of the enemy at this point fired at the regiment, which I am afraid they saw too plainly. They killed a man. He was shot in the forehead with a small bullet. I did not return the fire. At their next discharge they wounded 2 men. I then allowed the regiment to break into groups and take cover on its line of battle. I also gave permission to fire. We could not see the enemy's riflemen, although we could easily distinguish their men on their parapet. Wherever there was a report I allowed four or five shots to be sent in; no more. The water at this point is of variable depth, increasing toward the large creek. I think it is the backwater of the creek dammed below.

The enemy was not skirmishing. All his shots were from unseen points-loop-holes through logs, perhaps. He fired with some persistence, and finally wounded another man and a lieutenant. I aimed low. The water splashed as far as I could see.

At about 11 o'clock I was ordered to retire my line within the picket line. The pioneers had already finished what they had to do along the ravine. In falling back, those companies which had been most under fire fell back the best, but they all did pretty well. I formed all but the three left companies, resting their right on the right support. The others were taken to the neighborhood of the left of our picket line, and from them skirmishers were thrown out, who connected on their left with the Sixth Maine skirmishers and on their right with our pickets, thus protecting the pioneers still working on the extreme left. Between 1 and 2 o'clock all the work being concluded, I came into camp.

The sketch I add will explain my idea of the position of the enemy at the point where I was fired on. Through the ravine in which runs the little creek there is a sweep for rifle shot and grape. The water dammed back covers the usual obstructions to be found in a forest- logs, roots, deep holes. My skirmishers went to this side of the big creek, but I attempted nothing more.

With regard to the conduct of the officers and men I have no fault to find.*

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Forty-third New York Volunteers.

Captain JOHN HANCOCK, A. A. G., First Brigade, Smith's Division.


*Nominal list of casualties shows 1 man killed and 1 officer and 3 men wounded.