War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0501 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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No. 30.

Report of Colonel J. H. Hobart Ward, Thirty-eighth New York Infantry.


In accordance with instructions from division headquarters I have the honor to report that on the 5th instant, after a long and dreary march over horrid roads and under a drenching rain, at or about 5 p.m., under the direction of Brigadier-General Birney, my regiment formed in open order in the wood fronting the enemy's works in the vicinity of Williamsburg, with directions to advance to the opening on the field, but not to fire unless they could hit. The line was accordingly formed and advanced to the edge of the woods, when, under a heavy fire, it was deemed necessary to silence it if practicable. I advanced seven companies of my command over the fallen timber with the intention of dislodging the enemy.

As nearly all the subsequent movements were performed under the direction of General Kearny, it would probably be unnecessary to particularize. Suffice it to say, under the most galling fire I ever saw the men sustained themselves nobly, being repulsed and returning the charge three times. The same occurred with the three companies under Lieutenant-Colonel Strong.

The following is a list of officers killed and wounded. Killed-Captain C. S. Dewitt and Lieutenant William Sharp. Wounded-Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Strong, Capts. G. M. Dennett, A. Funk, and S. C. Dwyer, Lieuts. Robert S. Watson, Edward Miller, and Walter Scott.

The above nine officers are more than one-third of the officers of the regiment.

The number of enlisted men [killed and wounded] is 61 and the missing 10.

Lieutenant-Colonel Strong certainly deserves mention for his gallantry.

It would be unjust to mention any one line officer before another when all behaved so well.

This regiment lost 128 men at Bull Run on July 21 last.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Colonel Thirty-eighth Regiment [New York Volunteers].

Captain W. E. STURGIS,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS.38TH REGIMENT NEW YORK STATE VOLS., Camp Winfield Scott, Va., May 11, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 5th instant this regiment left camp, about 3 miles from Yorktown [en route to Williamsburg], at 9 a.m., in the midst of a severe storm, which had commenced about dark the evening previous. The retreat of the enemy from Yorktown with their artillery and wagon train, together with the heavy rain, had rendered the roads almost impassable. In some instances the men would sink above the knee, the men at this time being encumbered with heavy knapsacks, three days' provisions in the haversacks, and 40 rounds of ball cartridges. Before leaving camp and while on the march the artillery in front could be distinctly heard, which had