War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0523 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

cherished by a grateful people. The comparative smallness of the loss is a matter of congratulation, and is due in part to the holding back portions of the troops until the proper moment arrived for moving each successive reserve. The trees and undergrowth caused much of the canister that beat upon the woods like hail to fall harmless. Many shells passed over the command, bursting far in the rear. The infantry fire of the rebels was less destructive in consequence of its elevation. All were directed to prostrate themselves when possible on hearing the report of artillery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN J. PECK,

Brigadier-General.

Captain FRANCIS A. WALKER,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Couch's Division.

No. 42. Report of Colonel Thomas A. Rowley,

One hundred and second Pennsylvania Infantry.

HDQRS. OLD 13TH OR 102nd PENNSYLVANIA VOLS., Camp near Williamsburg, Va., May 8, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the old Thirteenth or One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers at the engagement on the 5th instant at this place, as follows:

The regiment, being in the advance of the brigade on the march, on arriving at the scene of action at 1.30 p.m. was formed in line of battle on left-had side of the road through a dense forest to the right of where General Hooker's division was engaged. After remaining in this position a short time, the sound of musketry apparently becoming closer, General Peck ordered that the regiment march by the right flank and take a position in front of the timber, where a cross-fire could be given the advancing columns of the enemy.

On approaching the opening three companies were thrown out as skirmishers on the extreme right. The skirmishers, taking position, opened fire on the enemy's left, who, upon receiving our fire, opened upon us a terrific fire of artillery from their earthworks and fired a very destructive missile from their rifle pits, which exploded when striking. The enemy then made a charge toward us, having a battery of field pieces and their left flank supported by horsemen, in addition to their earthworks bearing upon us. Our skirmishers now assembled on the battalion, when the regiment opened upon the advancing enemy, firing by file, which was kept up until they fell back apparently beyond effective range of our guns. At this time the other regiments of our brigade came into action and assisted in repulsing their repeated advances afterward made. We held our position, firing by volley whenever opportunity offered of preventing them advancing in line, and by file at the occupants of the rifle pits, or any who rendered themselves conspicuous in rallying or reconnoitering.

Our loss has been 3 killed and 37 wounded, one of whom has since died.* Several of those reported are but slightly wounded, and will be on duty in a few days.

---------------

*But see revised statement, p.450.

---------------