War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0473 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG,VA.

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At about 8 o'clock a.m. I received information that the enemy were about to attempt to turn our left flank, and also that he had two light batteries and heavy forces of infantry in front of our left. The remaining portion of the First Massachusetts was then extended as skirmishers from our advanced position on our left in a line parallel with the road, the left resting in the heavy timber, and advanced slowly over the fallen timber forward the left and forwarded. The Eleventh Massachusetts (Colonel Blaisdell) and subsequently the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania (Colonel Small) were deployed in the same manner upon the right, with a view, by direction of the general commanding the division, of making a connection with General Sumner' forces, who were supposed to be within supporting distance to the right. In these positions, with my whole forces closely engaged and pressing forward, the fight was severe and unceasing, and our position without support until about 11 o'clock, when General Patterson's brigade made a timely arrival to meet a heavy force which was moving upon us through the timber on our left, evidently with a view to turn our flank and cut off communication with the rear.

Soon after the arrival of this re-enforcement I received a report from the First Massachusetts Regiment that the most of the regiment was out of ammunition, and by direction of the general commanding the division I ordered a man to the rear to procure more, and receiving a fresh regiment (the Seventy-second New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Moses) as a relief, I withdrew the First Massachusetts from the extreme left and placed it along the front as a connection between the Seventy-second New York, which now took the advance position, supporting the right of General Patterson's position and the road, a position which was not at this time heavily pressed. For some hours now our whole position had been under a hot fire a field battery placed behind a front of timber far to the left, and much of our loss had been caused by this fire, and soon after the arrival of the Seventy-second New York I received information that General Hooker desired me either to silence or take the battery above referred to, whereupon I went forward and communicated with Lieutenant-Colonel Moses, who pushed his command from the front and flank, and was unable to advance farther without being entirely cut off from support or retreat unless General Patterson's brigade should dislodge the heavy force in his front.

As there was an open plain in the rear of the battery and its position was covered by a point of timber occupied by the rebels I considered any effective action at this time against it as impossible, and therefore returned to the position of my own brigade. I had hardly returned when I perceived that the rebels were gradually bearing down our forces on the left, and soon afterward, notwithstanding the gallant support of the Seventieth New York (Colonel Dwight), were overpowered and forced to retire. In so doing they were closely followed up by the enemy until he had obtained in rear of the left of that regiment. I then withdrew that regiment entirely from that position to support our retreating forces at the point of the woods, and just in time to unmask the position of the enemy and expose him to a most severe fire of canister from a part of a field battery thrown forward for the purpose of checking the rebel advance; and I think, from my own observation, this battery contributed more toward sustaining our position than anything else that could have been brought to bear in that part of the field.

It was now about 5 o'clock p.m., and we were, notwithstanding