War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0545 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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brigade of infantry, some of which were on the road moving forward, all of which I reported to you.

About 5 o'clock p.m. the enemy were discovered marching in force from the wood in front of our skirmishers from the right. You immediately ordered me back to General Smith again for re-enforcements, none of which had arrived up to that time, who told me to say to you that a division of infantry and two regiments of cavalry had been ordered up by General McClellan, and also that you must hold your position. When I returned the action was just ending and the enemy repulsed.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

Brigadier General W. S. HANCOCK,

Commanding First Brigade, Smith's Division.


GENERAL: I desire to state for your assistance a few facts I know concerning the affair of the 5th instant. I went, by direction of Brigadier-General Smith, on a scout with Captain Stewart, of the Engineers, if there was a road by which the left flank of the enemy might be turned. In accordance with those instructions I arrived with Captain Stewart in the open space opposite the works on this side of the dam. It was then exactly 10 o'clock. I immediately returned, thinking the work was unoccupied, and reported to General Smith, and afterward, by his direction, to Brigadier-General Sumner. After a short delay I was ordered to go with a command under you to show you the work in question. I concluded we arrived before it about 11.45, and after you had made your dispositions, which it is unnecessary for me here to repeat, I proceeded with the Fifth Wisconsin and Sixth Maine up to the work, and, according to your instructions, I posted the Fifth Wisconsin on the right and the Sixth Maine on the left [after taking the fort in question], facing toward another fort in line of battle. Your subsequent dispositions I need not necessarily speak of. I know you sent repeated messages earnestly asking for support, and that you received in reply only positive instructions to fall back and only occupy the fort first taken, abandoning the one in front of it.

At 4.20 I sent by your directions a dispatch to General Smith, a copy of which I inclose, and about 5 o'clock you were going to carry ut your instructions and take up a position for the night, keeping possession of the fort above the dam, when the enemy attack with great force, attempting to turn your right flank. A few minutes afterward I went by your directions for re-enforcements, feeling that the moment was most critical, and that if the enemy were strongly supported you might not be able to maintain your ground on this side of the dam, and, in fact, that you might be cut to pieces.

I met the Third Vermont on the road, about 1 1/2 miles to the rear of your then position, and directed Colonel Hyde, in command, to double his regiment up to you. I proceeded as fast as I could to headquarters, and saw General Smith, who informed me that General McClellan had arrived and had ordered a whole division to support you.