P. S.-Information received subsequent to the sending in of my report has enabled me to do more ample justice to others and to correct some statements as to the order of events for which the sub-reports did not furnish conclusive data. The corrections here made will prevent, it is believed, the necessity of explanations in the future.
I am, sir, &c.,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PENINSULA, Lee's Farm, Va., May 3, 1862.
GENERAL: Deeming it of vital importance to hold Yorktown, on York River, and Mulberry Island, on James River, and to keep the enemy in check by an intervening line until the authorities might take such steps as should be deemed necessary to meet a serious advance of the enemy on the Peninsula, I felt compelled to dispose my forces in such a manner as to accomplish these objects with the least risk possible under the circumstances of great hazard which surrounded the little army I commanded.
I had prepared as my real line of defense positions in advance at Harwood's [Howard's] and Young's Mills. Both flanks of this line were defended by boggy and difficult streams and swamps. In addition, the left flank was defended by elaborate fortifications at Ship Point, connected by a broken line of redoubts crossing the heads of the various ravines emptying into York River and Wormley's Creek, and terminating at Fort Grafton, nearly in front of Yorktown. The right flank was defended by the fortifications at the mouth of Warwick River and at Mulberry Island Point, and the redoubts extending from the Warwick to James River. Intervening between the two mills was a wooded country about 2 miles in extent. This wooded line, forming the center, needed the defense of infantry in a sufficient force to prevent any attempt on the part of the enemy to break through it. In my opinion, this advanced line, with its flank defenses, might have been held by 20,000 troops. With 25,000 I do not believe it could have been broken by any force the enemy could have brought against it. Its two flanks were protected by the Virginia and the works on one side and the fortifications at Yorktown and Gloucester Point on the other.
Finding my forces too weak to attempt the defense of this line, I was compelled to prepare to receive the enemy on a second line, on Warwick River. This line was incomplete in its preparations, owing to the fact that 1,000 negro laborers, whom I had engaged in fortifying, were taken from me and discharged by superior orders inn December last, and a delay of nine weeks consequently occurred before I could reorganize the laborers for the engineers. Keeping, then, only small bodies of troops at Harwood's and Young's Mills and at Ship Point, I distributed my remaining forces along the Warwick line, embracing a front from Yorktown to Minor's farm of 12 miles, and from the latter place to Mulberry Island Point of 1 1/2 miles. I was compelled to place at Gloucester Point, Yorktown, and Mulberry Island fixed garrisons, amounting to 6,000 men, my whole force being 11,000; so that it will be seen that the balance of the line, embracing a length of 13 miles, was defended by about 5,000 men.
After two reconnaissances in great force from Fort Monroe and Newport News, the enemy, on April 3, advanced and took possession of Harwood's Mill. He advanced in two heavy columns-one along the old York road and the other along the Warwick road, and on April