War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0436 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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far as the right redoubt of the enemy's lines, past which a road from our extreme left ran to his rear.

At about 2 p. m., by direction of the general commanding, my regiment was placed in position on our extreme left with Benson's battery. Four regiments of infantry passed our position toward the enemy's right about 4 p. m., but owing to the lateness of the hour, want of knowledge of the road, or some other cause, turned too far to the right and lost the way, or at least did not get upon the enemy's flank.

On the morning of the 7th [6th] my regiment was early en route in pursuit of the retreating rebels. With two squadrons of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry and two of the Eighth Illinois I proceeded on the road to New Kent some 4 miles, recovering five pieces of artillery that the enemy abandoned in his hasty flight, and capturing 21 prisoners.

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


Colonel Third Pennsylvania Cavalry.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 9. Report of Major Laurence Williams,

Sixth U. S. Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS SIXTH CAVALRY, Camp in the Field, May 31, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report regarding the operations of the Sixth Cavalry at the battle of Williamsburg:

The Sixth Cavalry was a portion of the cavalry reserve, and formed a part of the advance guard under General Stoneman. We met the enemy on the 4th instant about 3 o'clock p. m. before his fortifications just in front of Williamsburg. Our pickets had been engaged for some time, and some pretty brisk firing on the part of the forts and Gibson's battery, when I was ordered to make a detour through the woods and take a battery on the enemy's extreme left flank. I accordingly proceeded with the Sixth Cavalry through the wood indicated, and after going about half a mile at a trot debouched upon an open but undulating ground in front of the enemy's line of fortifications. The ground was very heavy, and between the woods and the field works (pointed out by the sergeant who acted as my guide) there was a deep ravine, only passable by file. This ravine was about equidistant from the woods and the work. It was passed, and the regiment formed about 100 yards from the fortification. Lieutenant Madden, with a platoon, was sent to reconnoiter its gorge. This was during the time its occupants were engaged with Gibson's battery in front. Lieutenant Madden reported that the ditch and rampart would have to be surmounted before we could effect an entrance, and also that infantry was approaching on the rear side of a woods which skirted the back of the fort.

I saw three regiments advancing in line. Our position was very critical, equally exposed to the guns from the fort and the advancing infantry. I determined to retire. Four of the squadrons and a portion of the Fifth had already passed the ravine mentioned above when two squadrons of rebel cavalry rushed from the barracks in rear of the fort