War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0654 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII

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Cavalry, Captain [Gordon], we arrived at an early hour on the banks of the Chickahominy about three-quarters of a mile above New Bridge. The first platoon of Company A was thrown forward as skirmishers, supported by the second, with instructions to cross the river and beat the woods in front, in order to feel the position of the enemy. They crossed without difficulty at double-quick, and not discovering the enemy, except a few cavalry pickets on the hill some miles distant, at once deployed and followed down the river, supported by balance of the regiment on this side. The skirmishers approached within about 400 yards of the bridge, when they came upon the camp of the enemy, who were apparently unaware of our presence, being gathered in squads through the camp. The skirmishers at once opened fire upon them, throwing them into confusion. They, however, rallied, deployed as skirmishers, when I at once put three companies over to support our skirmishers, the men being compelled to wade up to their armpits. At this time the firing became rapid, and the enemy being re-enforced by two regiments from their right, I sent over five companies more at the crossing near the destroyed bridge, and after sharp firing for half an hour the enemy were driven entirely from their position, our men maintaining their ground.

Their artillery having opened upon us, and discovering the enemy in strong force on the hills thrown forward as skirmishers, I deemed it prudent to retire, which we did in good order, bringing over our own wounded, together with some 10 or 12 of the enemy's We took some 37 prisoners, including 1 officer. The enemy's loss could not have been less than 150 killed and wounded. We counted in front of our companies 28 dead, and could see them lying in all parts of the field. Our loss is 1 killed and 7 wounded, 2 probably mortally.

I cannot close this report without mentioning the gallant conduct of Captain ----* and Lieutenant Bowen, of General McClellan's staff. Captain ___* was first to cross the river with the skirmishers, and was with them during the engagement. Lieutenant Bowen was in the thickest of the fight, and had his horse shot under him. The conduct of my own officers was, without exception, faultless, and both officers and men gave coolness under fire.

I am, captain, with much respect, your obedient servant,


Colonel Fourth Michigan Volunteers.


Assistant Adjutant-General.



Cold Harbor, Va., May 24, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded. From the reports I hear, and from this I can but believe, the Fourth Michigan Regiment behaved most admirably and was well handled. The result proves it.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


*Reference is probably to Lieutenant George A. Custer.