received, losing ground and being slowly driven in, when information was received that General Kearny's division was within ten minutes of us. The exciting cheers which were then given and the striking up of national airs by a band just in rear enabled the officers with one accord to urge on any and every man, without regard to company or regiment, into one heterogeneous and
well-formed line, which held our front till the arrival of General Kearny's division. I should have mentioned before that the Eleventh Massachusetts (Colonel Blaisdell) was about 2 o'clock withdrawn from the right and sent to the support of General Patterson on the left, but the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania (now commanded by Major Berry, Colonel Small having retired, being wounded early in the action) remained at or near its first position all day and all night. My other regiments, after the arrival of such re-enforcements as would admit of their being withdrawn to the rear, were encamped about 1 1/2 miles to the rear.
Thus ended a day most severe upon a body of men jaded by hard labor, want of sleep, and a long march at its commencement, and who had been under an unceasing fire and exposed to a driving
rain-storm for thirteen hours. The command, nevertheless, endured everything, and behaved handsomely during the whole engagement.
For special mention of many who made themselves conspicuous I would respectfully refer to the accompanying reports of the regimental commanders. I wish to say, however, that I was very much assisted during the whole day by Lieutenant Hibbert, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Hubbard, aide-de-camp, who were present with me when circumstances made it practicable and at other times carrying orders, during the whole battle. Fort the list of killed, wounded, and missing of my command I would also refer to previous reports.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
No. 9. Report of Colonel Robert Cowdin,
First Massachusetts Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY, First Brigadier, Hooker's Div., near Williamsburg, Va., May 7, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the engagement of my command on May 5, 1862:
We left the camp of previous night at 5 a.m., and proceeded to a point about 2 miles distant on the Williamsburg road, arriving in sight of the enemy at about 6 o'clock. My command consisted of 3 field, 1 staff, and 22 line officers, and 682 men. The regiment was by order drawn up in a lot officers fallen timber to the left of the road in front of the woods and facing the enemy's earthworks. Here we received orders to move forward as skirmishers. Here we received a heavy fire of artillery and musketry from the left in front. The regiment was then ordered forward by companies to front of our artillery as skirmishers to pick off the enemy's cannoneers, where they remained nearly five
*Embodied in return,p.450.