they expected, and were consequently subjected to a tremendous fire of canister from five light 12-pounder guns, which they were unable to stand. They retreated in disorder into the woods. I advanced two pieces-all that could be extricated from the mud-and fired a few rounds upon the now retreating enemy, when the battle ceased. During the entire action the enemy kept up a continuous fire of musketry upon us, but fortunately most of their balls too high, as the caissons and limbers were well covered by an elevation upon which the pieces were placed.
During the battle I made a complete change of front to the right, and at no time had more than five pieces engaged.
I was obliged to call upon the infantry in my rear several times to assist in dragging the pieces from the mud, which assistance was promptly rendered by the Fifteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers. At one time three pieces were up to their axles in the mud, their trails being buried to a corresponding distance.*
* * * * * * *
Expended during the action 70 rounds shell, 210 rounds spherical case, 48 rounds canister, and 15 rounds solid shot; total, 343 rounds.
To the untiring exertions of Lieutenants Woodruff and French am I indebted for the presence of a greater part of the battery on the field of battle. I claim that we are indebted in no small extent for the success of the day to the personal bravery and efficiency of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of Light Company I, First Artillery.
1st Lieutenant, 1st Arty., Commanding Light Company I, 1st Artillery.
Colonel C. H. TOMPKINS,
Colonel R. I. Light Arty., Chief of Artillery, Sedgwick's Div.
Numbers 24. Report of Captain John A. Tompkins,
Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery.
HDQRS. COMPANY A, FIRST R. I. LIGHT ARTILLERY,
Fair Oaks, Va., June 3, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to hand you herewith a report of the operations of the battery under my command in the engagement of the 31st ultimo and the 1st instant.
I left camp near Tyler's house on Saturday, May 31, at 2 p.m., and crossed the bridge over the Chickahominy River at 5 p.m. After crossing the bridge I was delayed by the difficulty of crossing the swamp for over an hour and a half, and succeeded only by the most severe exertions of my cannoneers, who were obliged to haul the guns through the mud while wading in water waist-deep. Leaving the caissons to follow, I brought the guns to the front at a sharp trot, and reached the battle-field about 7.30 p.m. just at the close of the engagement. I reported at once to General Sedgwick, and was ordered to keep my battery in the road during the night.
At 4 a.m., June 1, the battery was moved to Courtney's house, upon the right of the line, and the guns posted to command the ground
* Nominal list of casualties shows 1 man killed 4 men wounded. Four horses were slightly wounded.