War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0475 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG,VA.

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hours, doing much service as to effectually silence the four guns of the enemy on our front. Here we lay under a severe cross-fire from a battery of the enemy placed in a redoubt at our left and front. During this time we were exposed to and annoyed by the enemy's sharpshooters in rifle pits on our front. At this time our ammunition was nearly expended, and we sent to the rear for a supply. We were soon relieved by the Seventy-second New York Volunteers, Second brigade, Hooker's division, and ordered back to our old position, where we were ordered to remain as a reserve. In a short time was were again ordered forward, partially without ammunition, to support the Seventy-second New York Volunteers, as well as the Third Brigade, which was now engaging the enemy in the woods on our left, the Eleventh Massachusetts being in line some 30 paces in our rear. Between 2 and 3 p.m. the Third Brigade and Seventy-second New York Volunteers fell back, being heavily pressed by the enemy, who had received large re-enforcements. We were now ordered to fall back to the road, the Eleventh Massachusetts receiving the same order from one of the brigade staff officers (acting assistant adjutant-general). In falling back we received a very heavy fire from the enemy, losing a number of men. We were then ordered by the general to form on the south on and facing the road, and prepared to resist cavalry, which was expected down the road. Other troops now rushed through our ranks from our rear. We were then ordered to the other side of the road, being still under a very heavy fire, and shortly after re-enforcements under General Kearny arrived. We were then ordered to cross the road again on the left of a brigade of Kearny's division, and advanced 800 yards into the woods. Meanwhile, the enemy being repulsed and fresh troops arriving, we were ordered back near the road, and there remained until by order of the brigadier-general commanding we encamped in woods half a mile back at 8 p.m.

During the entire day the rain fell almost in torrents. In my opinion the officers and men of my command acted with the utmost coolness and courage, exposed as they were nearly a whole day to a galling fire of artillery and infantry on our front and left. I submit a report of the casualties.*

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT COWDIN,

Colonel, Commanding First Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

Lieutenant JOSEPH HIBBERT, JR.,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

No. 10. Report of Colonel William Blaisdell,

Eleventh Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. ELEVENTH Regiment MASSACHUSETTS VOLS., First Brigadier, Hooker's Div., Camp near Williamsburg, Va.

SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by this regiment in the engagement before Williamsburg on the 5th instant:

I arrived with the regiment in front of the enemy at fifteen minutes before five in the morning, and was ordered by General Grover to advance

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*Embodied in return,p.450.

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