War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0505 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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As soon as these hurried arrangements were completed [and no time was to be lost, as all our artillery was in jeopardy] I ordered the troops on the left to advance and charge. They nobly responded and charged with much enthusiasm, driving the enemy entirely out of the timber and into and partly through the fallen timber, causing him to leave a large number of his killed and wounded, on the ground. The enemy was strongly posted in an old rifle pit, and caused the previous [General Hooker's] troops much annoyance in the forenoon. In the rifle pit in front of the Fifth Michigan 63 of the enemy's dead were found, the majority of whom were shot through the head. The Fifth Michigan held possession of the rifle pit until the close of the action, and remained in them till morning. The Thirty-seventh New York, still farther to the left, were continually engaged. The enemy made frequent attempts to turn our left at this point and were as often repulsed, and always gallant and quickly. The Second Michigan operated mostly under the immediate eye of the general, and I saw only those on the left side of the road. They behaved gallantly and prudently, always making sure of their aim when firing. Those companies held as reserves were ordered into action by the general, and most nobly did they acquit themselves.

I take great pleasure in noticing the gallant conduct of Colonel Terry, of the Fifth Michigan. He was injured in the early part of the engagement by a spent ball, but continued in the battle to the end and conducted his men gallantly. Colonel Hayman, Thirty-seventh New York, led his men in fine style, always being where most needed, and by his cool, quiet manner assured his officers and men around him. Colonel Poe, Second Michigan, brought up his men gallantly, not unnecessarily exposing any of his command, but when the time came all were brought into action in a soldierly manner. We captured some 20 prisoners, who informed us they were from different regiments-numbering, 1,600 men, and were posted in front of our left. It was this number that some 800 of our men charged and forced to return at the point of the bayonet.

I am pleased to make favorable mention of the conduct of Lieutenant Colonel S. E. Beach, wounded in the thigh; Major J. D. Fairbanks, who had his horse shot under him, and Lieutenant C. H. Hutchins, acting adjutant, all of the Michigan Fifth, and am glad to learn from Colonel Poe, Second Michigan, that all his officers bore themselves throughout in a soldierly and brave manner.

Colonel Hayman, Thirty-seventh New York, reports the conduct of all his officers worthy of commendation, particularly those of the six left companies, commanded by Captains Maguire, Clark, De Lacy, O'Beirne, Diegnan, and First Lieutenant Hays; also deems worthy of special notice First Sergt. Lawrense Murphy, Company K, and Sergt. Martin Conboy, Company B; also to favorable consideration Corp. Patrick Kiggan, Company C; Corpl. James Boyle, Company C; Private Charles O'Brien, Company C, and Private Henry Brady, Company F.

I would also call your attention to the conduct of my aides, Lieutenants Sturgis and Ladue, both of whom by their coolness and bravery were able to render me important service during the day; and I wish Captain Smith, Fourth Maine Volunteers, who was continually under fire during the engagement, and rendered me great aid in leading and directing the troops. His conduct was, indeed, most gallant and noble. The casualties of the day have been many, comprising some of the