No. 28. Report of Colonel Henry S. Lansing,
Seventeenth New York Infantry, of operations May 27-28.
HDQRS.17TH Regiment N. Y. VOLS., 3rd Brigadier, PORTER'S DIV., Provisional Army Corps, May 30, 1862.
GENERAL: This regiment left camp on the morning of the 27th instant at 5 a.m., on the right of the Third Brigade, in a heavy rainstorm, and after a long march through heavy roads, deep with mud, debouched upon the plain in line of battle, where we found a field battery engaged with Benson's battery of ours. Colonel Johnson, of Twenty-fifth New York Volunteers, was moving toward the woods on the right, when we immediately moved to the left, covered by two companies of skirmishers, A and B, the first under command of Second Lieutenant Fox, and the latter under command of Captain Grower, both under the immediate command of Major Bartram. After feeling the wood for some distance I changed front, and formed on the edge of woods, on the right of the rebel battery, and facing it obliquely, there awaited your orders. On receiving them, to advance, at once moved the skirmishers forward upon the battery, followed by the rest of the regiment in quick time, in line of battle and arms at right-shoulder shift, cheering, exchanging shoats with the enemy, killing and wounding several. Our fire was upon the battery, and as in approaching the gunner who fired the last shot being killed by a private of Company A (Flooed), the enemy retreated, and we captured the piece, a 12-pounder howitzer; then changing our line more to the left, drove in their skirmishers, and were advancing to flank those in retreat, when we were ordered to halt. Forty prisoners captured, among them 2 officers, were sent to the rear, and Lieutenant-Colonel Morris, being too till to proceed, was left with 8 men in charge of them.
Under your order we then moved on toward Hanover Court-House on the right of the Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, but were separated by a deep ravine and compelled to go to the right, and thus lost sight of the Eighty-third, but continued to advance, and just arrived there when I received orders to return, as the enemy were in our rear. My men, though wearied, pushed back with energy, and arrived near the ground of conflict just as the enemy retreated or had commenced to break. The regiment bivouacked upon their first battle-field.
During the absence of the regiment Lieutenant-Colonel Morris, seeing the enemy advancing, compelled his prisoners to draw the cannon to our front, now become the rear, and thus insured its safety. This piece is, I believe, the first one captured in the field by the Army of the Potomac.
On the morning of the 28th instant I was ordered to proceed to Hanover Court-House to seize the depot and provisions and support the cavalry command of General Emory and Benson's battery. Five companies under command of Colonel Morris made a reconnaissance with the cavalry and a section of artillery to the left of the road. Three companies were on picket twenty-four hours. On the morning of the 29th instant, at 5 a.m. four companies, under command of Captain Grower, marched 5 miles with the Sixth Cavalry and Benson's horse artillery, burning a bridge. Upon their return, at 1 p.m., we retraced our march to the battle-field. Arriving there, received orders to join the brigade and march for our camp at its present site near New Bridge.