War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0546 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

I put General Naglee's brigade on the road, and as soon as he allowed me galloped back, to find that you had utterly routed the enemy.

I have the honor to be, general, your most obedient servant,

L. D. H. CURRIE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Brigadier-General HANCOCK,

Commanding First Brigade, Smith's Division.

[Inclosure.]

MAY 5-4.20 p.m.

I shall allow a reasonable time to get an answer to my previous messages to General Sumner before falling back to the fort with the creek in my rear. General Sumner has ordered me to fall back to my first position, which I believe to be the fort first occupied; if not, please correct me.

WINF'D S. HANCOCK,

Brigadier-General.

General SMITH.

CAMP NO.11, May 8, 1862.

GENERAL: The following is a statement of the more important orders and messages transmitted and delivered by me, as your acting aide-de-camp, during the day of the battle of Williamsburg, on the 5th instant:

At about 3.15 p.m., by your direction, I returned from the field to General Sumner, and stated to him your occupation of two of the enemy's evacuated forts and of the enemy's appearance in the third, of the firing between the skirmishers of each side and of the artillery, and of your desire for re-enforcements. General Sumner instructed me to say that re-enforcements could not be sent, and that you were to fall back to your original position.

An official letter, dated May 5, 4.20 p.m., and directed to Brigadier General William F. Smith, commanding division, was then placed in my hands by you to be delivered to him, with verbal instructions to hand the letter to General Sumner in case I could not readily find General Smith. Going back as quickly as possible, and meeting General Smith within 40 rods of Mason's house, General Sumner's headquarters, I delivered the letter to him, who, after reading it, sent me back to you with a verbal message instructing me to say that in regard to falling back or occupying the position you then held you could exercise your discretion, and act without reference to re-enforcements.

In coming back to you with this message I met, at about half the distance, Captain Currie, the adjutant-general of General Smith's division, riding at a furious rate. He halted only long enough to ask me if my horse was fresh and able to go fast, and stating that General Hancock had suddenly been attacked by a large force; that he was severely suffering, and that besides the enemy in his front five or six regiments of the enemy were threatening his left flank. Redoubling the energies of my own horse by a vigorous use of the spur, I reached you just in season to see the last of the retreating rebels. After delivering my message you directed me to return to General Smith with the welcome intelligence that the enemy had been repulsed, that you had possession of the field, and that the enemy's dead were lying thickly