pieces so that they could be rapidly limbered up, continued the fire with canister until the enemy was within 20 yards of the fence inclosing the house in the yard of which the battery was placed, when we retired, and by General Hancock's order took a position on the left of the earthwork, on the ridge, again opening with canister and firing until, from the nature of the ground, the enemy could not be reached, when I ordered the battery into the road in rear of the earthwork, and soon afterward, by General Hancock's order, placed two guns on the right of the earthwork and fired at the enemy retreating through the edge of the woods.
After dark, by order of General Smith, I placed another gun in position on the right of the earthwork. Our loss is 1 killed.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. C. WHEELER,
Captain, Commanding E Battery, First N. Y. Artillery.
Captain JOHN HANCOCK,
A. A. G. to General Hancock, Commanding 1st Brigadier, Smith's Div.
No. 48. Reports of Lieutenant Andrew Cowan,
First New York Battery.
CAMP IN THE FIELD, May 8, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on the morning of Monday, May 5, in accordance with the orders of Captain R. B. Ayres, commanding artillery Smith's division, I reported to General Hancock with my battery, and by the general's order followed the second regiment of his command. I first came into battery on a ridge about 600 yards in front of the first rebel work. Soon after it was occupied by our troops I moved forward and came into battery on the right of the second work, and, by order of General Hancock, opened fire upon the fort some 1,200 yards to our front and left. After throwing twenty shells and case I moved forward, and by direction of Major Currie posted two of my pieces on the right and four on the left of the road, about 350 yards from the fort on our left and 500 from that on our right, and immediately opened fire on both of these works.
The enemy brought two or three pieces to bear upon us from the woods on our left of their barracks, and they evidently had excellent range of my position. Many of their shells, however, failed to explode. I directed the fire of two pieces upon the artillery and three upon the works and large bodies of infantry moving from the woods and barracks to the forts.
At about this time Captain C. C. Wheeler, commanding Battery E, First New York Artillery, came into battery on my right between the buildings. I had lost one man [Private Edmund K. Terry], killed by a 6-pound shot while manfully performing his duty as No. 1 at the piece; also Lucius A. Goodyear slightly injured, a 12-pound shell [spent] striking him on the shoulder and side. I have to mention Private William A. Sears, of my battery, who, upon the No. 1 being killed, stepped over his body, and taking his sponge, performed the duty of No. 1 during the remainder of the action.
I experienced much difficulty from the extreme softness of the ground, the trails and wheels at each recoil of the piece sinking in the mud.