were driven back to their original position. Every effort they made was repulsed, and at dark we still held our original position. The enemy occupy a strongly intrenched position with some field guns. It is so situated that we have to bring forward our field guns within short range to oppose their guns within their intrenchments. Thus situated we have been able to make but little use of our artillery.
I am unable to give even an approximate estimate of our loss, but it is quite large. It cannot, I think, be less than 500 killed and wounded. General Hooker's division has suffered so severely that it will not be very reliable for to-morrow. I will try and hold the position, but it is necessary that I be strongly re-enforced.* I have applied to General Sumner for aid, which I hope to get before day to-morrow.
We have various reports as to the force of the enemy. I inclose a note I received from Colonel Averell, and also a statement he has made from statements received from prisoners. I think, however, that they intend here to make a determined stand. General Jos. E. Johnston the prisoners report in command of the troops in our front. I think if of the utmost importance that I should be strongly re-enforced at the earliest moment. General Emory, with his cavalry, a battery of horse artillery, and three regiments of infantry in the afternoon made an effort to turn the enemy's right flank, but the ground was found impracticable. We h ave taken 30 or more prisoners. I hope General Porter's division will be pressed forward immediately to re-enforce me.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. P. HEINZELMAN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Corps.
Colonel R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Camp Winfield Scott.
Our men are out of provisions to-night, and the roads are almost impracticable.
S. P. H.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
SIR: I have taken several prisoners in feeling about the enemy's right. Have ascertained by careful examination the following facts, viz: Longstreet commands on the enemy's right, with Hill, Withers, Wilcox, and Hunton. He left Williamsburg with his division, consisting of three brigades, this morning at 9 o'clock. They were stampeded there last night and spiked some of their guns. Joe Johnston is command. They do not think of retreating from this position, so they say. They left Yorktown because they thought a good run was better than a bad stand. They have all the latest newspaper news, and confirm the taking of New Orleans, &c. They say Burnside has left North Carolina.
WM. M. AVERELL,
They report a strong force at Williamsburg.
WM. W. A.