War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0559 Chapter XXIII. BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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necessary that some infantry should be forward forthwith. This I immediately intended to do. Major Whittlesey's cavalry had already passed. The advance of four companies of infantry had marched up, and to my surprise the remaining troops did not arrive. Starting back to ascertain the cause, one of my aides informed me that General W. F. Smith had assumed the authority of counter-marching the orders of General Keyes, and had halted my column without advising me of it. About an hour and a half afterward I learned that General Sumner had arrived upon the ground and ordered my column to halt where it was; that he had preferred the troops of General Smith, and was advancing by another road.

After following for an hour I finally overtook General Sumner, who, after disapproving of the orders of General Keyes, with much hesitation finally directed me to follow in the column immediately in rear of General Smith. Placing the regiments of the brigade that had been so unceremoniously halted in motion, with the purpose places in column, I hastened by another road to the place on the York and Williamsburg road where now I had the extreme satisfaction of learning that Brigadier-General Heintzelman, of the Third Army Corps, had passed, and had ordered that my brigades should halt and allow his division to pass in front of them. All of these extraordinary interruptions being reported to General Casey, he ordered that we should at once encamp.

At 8 a.m. on Monday, the 5th, all of the First Brigade had arrived at a point midway between the Brick Church at the Half-way House and the line of the enemy, not more than a mile and a half from the latter, and there remained five and a half hours, and until by verbal orders General Sumner ordered the brigade to a position in the woods in front of his headquarters. Returning to execute this order, I informed General Casey of it, and he produced a written order from General Sumner, directing the division to support General Hooker. This required it to move in the opposite direction. After a march of two hours, the artillery half of the time up to their axles in the mud, the cavalry horses plunging, and the men in mud to their ankles, we arrived immediately in the rear of General Hooker at 3.30 p.m., the very moment he was driven back by the enemy. We were preparing to support him, when another order came for all to counter-march and return in haste. I ordered the front battalion to do so, and returning to counter-march my rear battalions, found they had been halted by General Keyes 2 1/2 miles in my rear. Not waiting for the former, I at once proceeded with the latter, and arrived at the headquarters of Generals Sumner, Keyes, and Heintzelman at 4.30 p.m., General Keyes accompanying me from the point where he had halted the four battalions. General Keyes and myself arriving in advance of my column, I requested of him to know immediately something of the position the brigade would occupy, and went with him for that purpose, and was shown a position about 500 yards in front of the headquarters of the three generals above named, and ordered to deploy the brigade and hold it in reserve.

Returning to the head of my column that had come up I met General McClellan, who had just arrived upon the ground. Learning the critical state of affairs-that our left had been turned and Hooker driven back; of the exposed and critical position of General Hancock, who had turned the left of the enemy at 1 p.m., and who, notwithstanding that during four hours he had constantly sent for re-enforcements and had received none; that by his last dispatch he was already