War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0406 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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5 appeared simultaneously along the whole front of our line from Minor's farm to Yorktown. I have no accurate data upon which to base an exact statement of his force, but from various sources of information I was satisfied that I had before me the enemy's Army of the Potomac, under the command of General McClellan, with the exception of the two corps d'armee of Banks and McDowell, respectively, forming an aggregate number of certainly not less than 100,000, since ascertained to have been 120,000. On every portion of my lines he attacked us with a furious cannonading and musketry, which was responded to with effect by our batteries and troops of the line. His skirmishers were also well thrown forward on this and the succeeding day and energetically felt our whole line, but were everywhere repulsed by the steadiness of our troops. Thus, with 5,000 men, exclusive of the garrisons, we stopped and held in check over 100,000 of the enemy. Every preparation was made in anticipation of another attack by the enemy; the men slept in the trenches and under arms, but to my utter surprise he permitted day after day to elapse without an assault. In a few days the object of his delay was apparent. In every direction; in front of our lines; through the intervening woods, and along the open fields, earthworks began to appear.

Through the energetic action of the Government re-enforcements began to pour in, and each hour the Army of the Peninsula grew stronger and stronger, until all anxiety passed from my mind as to the result of an attack upon us.

The enemy's skirmishers closely pressing us in front of Yorktown, Brigadier-General Early ordered a sortie to be made from the redoubts, for the purpose of dislodging him from Palmentary's peach orchard. This was effected in the most gallant manner by the Second Florida (Colonel Geo. T. Ward) and Second Mississippi Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel John G. Taylor), all under the command of Colonel Ward. The quick and reckless charge of our men, by throwing the enemy into a hasty flight, enabled us to effect, with little loss, an enterprise of great hazard against a superior force, supported by artillery, when the least wavering or hesitation on our part would have been attended with great loss. The Warwick line, upon which we rested, may be briefly described as follows:

Warwick River rises very near York River and about a mile and a half to the right of Yorktown. Yorktown and Redoubts Nos. 4 and 5, united by long curtains and flanked by rifle pits form the left of the line until, at the commencement of the military road, it reaches Warwick River, here a sluggish and boggy stream, 20 or 30 yards wide, and running through a dense wood fringed by swamps. Along this river are five dams-one at Wynn's Mill, one at Lee's Mill, and three constructed by myself. The effect of these dams is to back up the water along the course of the river, so that for nearly three-fourths of its distance its passage is impracticable for either artillery or infantry. Each of these dams is protected by artillery and extensive earthworks for infantry.

After eleven days of examination the enemy seems very properly to have arrived at the conclusion that Dam Numbers 1, the center of our line, was the weakest point in it, and hence, on April 16, he made what seems to have been a serious effort to break through at that point.

Early on that morning he opened at that dam a most furious attack of artillery, filling the woods with shells, while his sharpshooters pressed forward close to our lines. From 9 a. m. to 12 m. six pieces were kept in constant fire against us, and by 3 p. m. nearly three bat-