yielding the advantages he had so gallantly held all day, with the certainly if unsustained the victory that had been within our grasp since 1 p.m. was about to be turned into an inglorious defeat, and that Hancock's command if not immediately sustained would be cut off or be cut to pieces-he immediately ordered the First Brigade of General Casey's division to proceed with the utmost dispatch and sustain General Hancock.
The announcement of General McClellan's order was received in a manner that indicated but too plainly to his friends and our enemies the infinite satisfaction that his presence had immediately caused. The brigade started off amidst the pelting rain, with the mud to their ankles, at a double-quick step, and made the distance through bog and mire and water in less than an hour. The arrived upon the ground held against great odds by General Hancock and his brave men for so long a time. They had been forced back over half a mile. To retreat farther before the enemy across the mill-dam by which the approach had been made was impossible, and there was no alternative but to surrender or to be cut to pieces. They were holding on, fighting desperately, yielding inch by inch, still hoping for relief, when intelligence of the arrival of General McClellan reached them,and that assistance was rapidly coming. The inspiration was immediate. The relief was seen coming in the distance. The charge and shout that followed was terrific, and bore down everything before it, and the enemy fell back with great loss. General Hancock indicated the line where he was most exposed, and by the time it was occupied it became dark. Although they had eaten nothing since the day before, wet for fifteen hours, could and chilled, without overcoats or tents, not permitted to make fires, the troops stood by their arms the entire night, with constant rain pouring upon them, and never made a murmur. They knew that the roads were blocked up with artillery, ammunition wagons, ambulances, and all kinds of the material of war, wedged together in the most indescribable confusion, all buried in the mud, and that it was impossible to bring up the provision trains.
The enemy abandoned their position before Williamsburg at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, the 6th instant.
The names of those killed and wounded by the bursting of the torpedo are attached (marked D).*
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Very respectfully, &c.,
HENRY M. NAGLEE,
Captain HENRY W. SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH CORPS,
Warwick Court-House, May 4, 1862.
General Casey is ordered by me to send out a brigade and two batteries, to be joined by another (Graham's) from Couch's division, and a
*This list contains the following names: Private Pruyne, killed; Sergeant L. W. Welch, Privates Hiram Lathrop, John Catterson, George H. Wheat, Harrison N. Mott, and Martin G. Palmer, wounded; all of Company F, Fifty-second Pennsylvania Infantry.