War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0513 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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me to General Hancock by the staff officer [Captain John Hancock, assistant adjutant-general] is reported by that officer, as well as other messages relating to re-enforcements which I promised to urge forward, in one of the documents which accompany General Hancock's reports.

Recognizing the vital importance of the position gained I returned with the utmost speed to General Sumner's headquarters, and requested him to send a regiment of cavalry immediately to General Hancock's assistance, and stated that other re-enforcements ought to be sent as quickly as they could be obtained. I believe the cavalry was not sent, but for what reason I do not know. Frequent applications were afterward made by General Smith and others for support for Hancock, but except that one of the two batteries sent followed about an hour after the other no re-enforcements reached him till after several hours from the time that he occupied the first fort nor until after he had repulsed the enemy. General Smith omits to state in his report that when he came to me to ask for re-enforcements for General Hancock I urged compliance with his request, but that General Sumner stated that he had no troops to spare for that purpose.

General Hancock continued to advance and took another fort, and from this position he inflicted injury upon the enemy to the extent of some 500 men in killed, wounded, and prisoners. His brigade was composed of the Fifth Wisconsin, Colonel Cobb; Sixth Maine, Colonel Burnham; Seventh Maine, Colonel Mason; Thirty-third New York, Colonel Taylor, and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Irwin, assisted by Wheeler's and Kennedy's batteries. General Hancock maneuvered his men with consummate skill, and his own gallantry, as well as that of his troops, was conspicuous in a very high degree. His report is herewith inclosed and is very full and minute. Brigadier-General Brooks' brigade, of Smith's division, having bivouacked near the enemy, occupied a portion of the front during the action, and was in support of Mott's battery, which was placed in a position to enfilade a field battery sent by the enemy to harass General Hancock's position. In the afternoon Brooks was ordered by General Sumner to re-enforce Hancock, but after proceeding nearly a mile the order was countermanded, and he returned. Brigadier-General Davidson, of Smith's Division, being absent, sick, his brigade was attached during the day to the brigades of Hancock and Brooks.

At about 1 o'clock p.m. General Peck, of Couch's division, having passed Casey, arrived at headquarters, and by direction of General Sumner was thrown into the woods, forward and to the left, toward the point where the battle was raging with the utmost fury against Hooker's division, of Heintzelman's corps. I accompanied General Peck's brigade until after it entered the woods; but the important directions which General Peck in his reported says I gave him [and which my morning's reconnaissance and the noise of battle on our left enabled me to give] had much less to do with the admirable dispositions afterward made by him than his own coolness and good judgment. During an hour and a half Peck's brigade, composed of the Fifty-fifth [Colonel De Trobriand] and Sixty-second [Colonel Riker] New York Volunteers, and the Ninety-third [Colonel McCarter], Ninety-eighth [Colonel Ballier] and One hundred and second [Colonel Rowley] Pennsylvania Volunteers, continued to stand its ground alone against the furious onslaught of the enemy, inflicting great loss upon the rebels, and suffering comparatively little itself, owing to General Peck's admirable disposition of his forces. Toward night he was re-enforced by the Seventh Massachusetts,