War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0462 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

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night to the immediate vicinity of the works in their front, and reported the enemy abandoning them. As soon as I knew this I pushed forward our skirmishers and occupied them. Soon after the commanding general arrived from beyond my right, and were rode forward into Williamsburg.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Commanding Army of the Potomac, Williamsburg, Va.

No. 5. Report of Lieutenant Miles D. McAlester,

U. S. Engineer Corps.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report and accompanying sketch of the positions occupied by the enemy (and those upon which were made our main or central attack and left demonstration in the battle of Williamsburg), being results of my reconnaissance of the 5th instant during the battle and the 5th instant after the evacuation by the enemy of his positions. The sketch is not laid down instrumentally, but can be relied on as sufficiently accurate for forming any conclusions regarding the dispositions of the battle:

At 7 a.m. on the 5th you communicated to me at Adams', on the Yorktown road, the general's order to report to General Hooker, who was then engaging the enemy on the Hampton road. I did so at 9 a.m., and he immediately sent me to reconnoiter the ground and enemy's redoubts to our left, these redoubts sending in upon him a hot artillery fire, while Fort Magruder, on the road immediately in front, had ceased artillery fire altogether. I proceeded as rapidly as the almost impassable abatis would permit to the ravine and salient of woods at A, passing several regiments of our troops struggling slowly through toward the front. The abatis or entanglement here was a most formidable obstacle to the passage of troops. Arrive at A, I saw Patterson's brigade disappearing through the woods as the deployed to the left. Presently a detachment of eight men off the Seventy-second New York Volunteers, under a sergeant, came up through the entanglement, and I immediately directed them to deploy forward to the advanced crest of the ravine, which crest was in the open space. I followed up, and there obtained a very good view of Redoubts 2, 3, and 4 (see sketch) and Fort Magruder. In the latter work I saw several regiments drawn up, apparently inactive, designed doubtless to prevent the carrying that fort (the enemy's central work) by storm and to furnish supports to right and left. Redoubts 2,3, and 4 were full of men, and 3 was firing rapidly upon our battery at B from two pieces, and it seemed to me the enemy had a field battery moving from to point in the open space between his works and delivering a fire upon various points of our advance, but I was unable to see it.

Up to this time scattering musketry fire only heard in the woods to the left. After observing at A for half an hour I saw the enemy's