Numbers 91. Report of Brigadier General John J. Peck,
U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, of operations June 24-July 3.
HEADQUARTERS PECK'S DIVISION, Harrison's Point, Va., July 11, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that I assumed command of this division at White Oak Swamp on the 24th of June, 1862, in compliance with orders from headquarters Army of the Potomac. The division consisted of two brigades, one of which, commanded by General Wessells, was at the headquarters, at White Oak Swamp the other, under General Naglee, was guarding the intrenched line between the railroad and Bottom's Bridge, distant some 4 1/2 miles. A squadron of cavalry and nine pieces of artillery were at the headquarters and four pieces of artillery near Bottom's Bridge.
On assuming command I proceeded to make a personal examination of the whole of the White Oak Swamp, commencing at the pickets of General Couch, and also of the Chickahominy up to and beyond the railroad bridge. My conclusions were that the swamp offered but a slight defense against enterprising infantry. During my stay at that place I kept several hundred choppers employed in closing up with trunks of trees and other obstructions all the fords and passages. An abatis was constructed across the open area in front and the timber slashed extensively on the right and left. By cutting certain timber on the right large clearings were connected and brought under the guns of the batteries. At least one-half mile of rifle pits was constructed, adding materially to the strength of the position. A small work was ordered across the railway, near a screen of timber, on the right of General Naglee's line; also a general slashing of timber in his front. A redoubt on the road from Bottom's Bridge was found in a half-finished state, which I directed to be completed. The whole country beyond the White Oak Swamp in the direction toward Richmond, New Market, and the Chickahominy, and also the territory across Bottom's Bridge, was most thoroughly covered by cavalry patrols, under the general direction of Captain Keenan. From him I had information of the movements of General Wise with his force, of some 5,000 of all arms, his headquarters being near New Market.
Late on the 26th I was advised that the enemy had crossed the Chickahominy in large force, for the purpose of cutting our communications.
Early on the 27th I proceeded to Bottom's Bridge and made a careful reconnaissance of all the approaches, in conjunction with General Naglee, which resulted in ordering the construction of a redoubt for ten or twelve guns at the bridge, close to the river. An epaulement for three guns was also ordered on the railroad. I re-enforced General Naglee with Colonel Howell's regiment, placing it at the battery below Bottom's Bridge. Lieutenant Morgan's regular battery was sent to General Naglee; also all the intrenching tools at my command. A squadron of cavalry for special service was asked for on that part of the line. The reported crossing of Jackson with 60,000 men proving too true, I deemed it advisable to guard the whole line to the extent of my ability from Bottom's Bridge to White Oak Swamp. By a thorough examination I found a line of high bluffs commanding all the approaches from Chickahominy Swamp. Four different sites were selected for lines