Numbers 51. Report of Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee,
U. S. Army, of reconnaissance toward Lee's Mill, April 29.
CAMP WINFIELD SCOTT, VA., NEAR LEE'S MILL,
First Brigade, Casey's Division, April 30, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I was directed yesterday at 3 p.m. by General Silas Casey to carry out certain instructions of General Keyes and make an immediate close examination of the works in front of Lee's Mill, adding that I should move my entire brigade for the purpose. The Fifty-second Pennsylvania were, with the exception of one company, on fatigue duty. The One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania and Fifty-sixth New York by the Yorktown and Lee's Mill road, and the Eleventh Maine and One hundredth New York by the central road, were marched from their several encampments, and arrived in the position assigned to them in rear of the point of woods about the same time. The right and left companies of the Eleventh Maine were deployed and advanced as skirmishers, supported by the right and left companies of the One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania; the right and left companies of the Fifty-sixth and One hundredth New York in rear and supporting them. The balance of the Eleventh Maine Regiment, Colonel Caldwell, advanced some 200 yards after all of the former had moved forward 600 yards into the woods, leaving the balance of the Fifty-sixth New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Jourdan; One hundredth New York, Colonel Brown, and the One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania, Colonel W. W. H. Davis, deployed in echelon as reserves.
The skirmishers had no sooner entered the wood than they met the pickets of the enemy, but without hesitation drove them at an even pace before them and so continued receiving the discharge of their reserves, who also retired, and were driven rapidly beyond the woods and into their works. The pursuit was continued to the edge of the woods, but 150 yards in front of the batteries, where all remained until the reconnaissance was made, and which developed the following information: That the batteries were not abandoned, as had been reported, but that active preparations were going on to strengthen the different works; that there is a creek immediately in front of them; that the batteries are erected on abrupt, prominent, rugged points 40 feet above the creek, the ground rising rapidly from it; that the large timber has been cut between the batteries and the creek and lies in the most irregular confusion, making, immediately under the guns of the batteries and the rifle pits of the enemy, a very formidable obstacles. The late hour the order was received made it 5.30 p.m. before the proper preparations could be completed, and it was within a quarter of an hour of sunset before the woods were cleared and an approach could be made to a point where any observation could be properly taken, and which was within 200 yards of the guns of the enemy.
Attached you will find a rough topographical sketch.*
I am most happy to refer to the gallant conduct of all the troops employed, who, although inexperienced, marched boldly to their task without the least hesitation.
*Omitted as unimportant.