War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0435 Chapter XXIII. SKIRMISHES NEAR WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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tioned. After proceeding half a mile Major Barker, of the McClellan Dragoons, was met with a squadron and some prisoners which he had taken. He informed us that the enemy were forming in front cavalry, infantry, and artillery. He was put in front of the column by General Emory's order, then followed a squadron of my regiment, a section of Benson's battery, then four squadrons cavalry, then the rest of the battery and the remainder of the cavalry. After proceeding a few yards, and before the column was entirely in motion, the head of the column was attacked impetuously by the enemy. Major Barker's squadron was thrown in disorder to the rear past my squadron, which drew out to the right of road in order to form, and upon the section of Benson's battery in front. Captain Benson opened with canister when the enemy had arrived within 30 yards. My leading squadron formed and dismounted to fight on the right, and another squadron of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry moved rapidly through the thicket to the left, and threw its skirmishers forward. The enemy disappeared with a loss of 4 men and 2 horses killed. He was subsequently driven from another position which he assumed, a mile in rear of the first, and we bivouacked for the night in the rain, which began to fall about 8 p. m.

General Hooker, with a brigade, passed us early in the morning, and soon after General Emory's command, increased by General Patterson's brigade, was en route. The sound of heavy firing was shortly after heard in front, and a message was received from General Hooker stating that he desired us to hurry forward and re-enforce him. The roads were almost impassable, but the command found itself in range of the enemy's guns about 9 a. m. Leaving my regiment under cover, I proceeded to the front, where I discovered General Hooker in position, with one battery in front of the enemy's works, one brigade of infantry being scattered about in the fallen timber to the right, left, and rear of the battery. General Grover's brigade had just arrived on the field, followed by Patterson's. General Hooker a few minutes after my arrival discovered a brigade of the enemy advancing beyond his extreme left, and did me the honor to intrust me with placing Grover's brigade in position to meet their attack. Upon my suggestion General Grover, with the greatest promptitude, moved his brigade by the left flank until he had cleared the fallen timber and the toward the front, his right resting upon the great abatis. A few moments more and the steadiness of his fire, which begot a reluctance on the part of the enemy to advance any farther, showed that the right man was in the right place.

General Hooker's immediate left was secure, but what with the enemy and the elements, the want of rest and food, his division had yet a terrible task to perform, but alone, unaided, for several hours he maintained a vigorous attack. Though his weakened lines sometimes wavered, still through the mud and rain his shivering troops faced the desperate foe. During the day my regiment was engaged in pushing close reconnaissances up to the enemy's right, in order to give timely warning of any attempt of his to turn our extreme left. In these operations some 40 or 50 prisoners were taken. From these we learned that General Longstreet commanded the Confederate forces opposed to us, from 30,000 to 50,000 strong; that among his subordinate generals were Magruder, Wilcox, McLaws, Hill, Stuart, and Pickett; that they intended to beat us before our re-enforcements could come up, and that re-enforcements arrived to them as late as 5 p. m. They had not the slightest intention, so far as any prisoner knew, of retreating from their position. One company of Third Pennsylvania Cavalry penetrated as