War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0541 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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discovered the next day, together with those in the hospitals, in the rear of the woods and in Williamsburg.

The enemy's assault was of the most determined character. No troops could have made a more desperate or resolute charge. The Fifth North Carolina was annihilated. Nearly all of its superior officers were left dead or wounded on the field. The Twenty-fourth Virginia suffered greatly in superior officers and men. The battle-flag of one of the enemy's regiments was captured by the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, and sent by me as a trophy to General Smith. For 600 yards in front of our line the whole field was strewn with the enemy's dead and wounded. Shortly after the action was decided General Smith came on the field, and announced that he was bringing up strong re-enforcements. The Third Regiment Vermont Volunteers, of General Brooks' brigade, soon after arrived. I posted them on the right and rear. General Naglee's brigade followed, and afterward the Forty-ninth and Seventy-seventh New York Regiments, of General Davidson's brigade, all of which I posted, by order of General Smith, to meet any contingencies. Captain Ayres, with his and Mott's artillery, arrived later.

The troops under my command behaved with a spirit and steadiness unsurpassed by veterans, so much so, that they murmured when ordered to fall back from the first position. Having had to detach so many at various points as I advanced, and also to protect my flanks, my battalions numbered but about 1,600 men when I engaged the enemy. By the evidence of an officer who noted the time the action continued twenty-three minutes from the time of the enemy's appearance until his repulse. When it commenced, the contest in front of Fort Magruder appeared to have ended. I learned from the prisoners captured that we had been attacked by two brigades of infantry, of six regiments, numbering about 5,000 men, and some cavalry. The enemy's advance was commanded by Brigadier-General Early, who was wounded during the action.

Our troops at night bivouacked in the rain on the ground they had so handsomely won, lying down on the battle-field, which was saturated by long-continued rains. It is also but just to mention that since daylight the morning of the 4th instant the troops had had no regular rations, owing to our sudden and prompt movement, and that they did not have any until late in the day of the 6th instant, the baggage wagons and supply trains having been forced off the road to allow the passage of the troops and artillery to the front.

The wounded of the enemy received the greatest care and attention from our men wherever they were found. On the night of the cation they were placed in the redoubt, and my only regret is that, owing to circumstances, they were obliged to bivouac with us.

I feel free to mention as especially deserving the highest commendations the following named officers: Colonel R. F. Taylor, Thirty-third New York Volunteers; Colonel Amasa Cobb, Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, who commanded the regiment which suffered so severely; Colonel E. C. Mason, Seventh Maine Volunteers; Colonel William H. Irwin, Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Colonel Hiram Burnham, Sixth Maine Volunteers; Lieutenant Colonel C.. H. Chandler, Sixth Maine Volunteers, who commanded in the redoubt during the action; Captain Charles C. Wheeler, Battery E, First New York Artillery; First Lieutenant Andrew Cowan, commanding First New York Battery.

Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing was as follows: Commissioned officers, 5 wounded, 1 missing; non-commissioned officers, 4