War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0216 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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of rifle pits and the work commenced. One was completed, and Colonel Lehmann's regiment placed in position that night.

The instructions from headquarters to destroy Bottom's Bridge and the railroad bridge in case an attack should be made in overwhelming force I communicated to General Naglee, and the necessary preparations were made therefor. The important order to "Hold the road to the James River over White Oak Swamp at all hazards" was received and carried out to the letter.

During the evening Captain Fitch's battery, Colonel Russell's Seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, and General Woodbury's engineer force joined for duty at my headquarters. Parties under discreet officers were sent down the Chickahominy with instructions to destroy all bridge structures, and to proceed as far as Jones' Ford if possible. General Woodbury was employed preparing bridge structures to be thrown across the White Oak at or before daylight. He was furnished with men and implements and every facility afforded for the discharge of this duty. A large force was employed during the night clearing the obstructions in the road leading to the bridge. Reports were made to the headquarters of the Fourth Corps at intervals of half hours.

On the 28th, at daylight, I received instructions from headquarters Fourth Army Corps to throw my immediate command across the White Oak Swamp and "seize strong positions, so as to cover most effectually the passage for other troops." So soon as the bridge was passable I moved General Palmer-who had joined me with his brigade (Russell's regiment leading), a squadron of cavalry, and Regan's and Fitch's batteries of artillery-forward to a position of much strategic importance, some four miles in advance toward Richmond, covering the junction of the Quaker, New Market, Charles City, and other principal roads. General Woodbury at my request accompanied General Palmer, and made a hasty reconnaissance of the position. Having placed Wessells' brigade with Lieutenant Mink's battery in movement to support General Palmer, I proceeded in advance with Captain Keenan to make a careful reconnaissance of the country between the main road and White Oak Swamp. After placing Colonels Rose's and Durkee's regiments on the right of the road, and the Sixty-second New York, Colonel Nevin's, far to the right toward the swamp in advance of Palmer's line, for the purpose of covering an important road, I examined the disposition of General Palmer, which met my approval. The remainder of Wessells' brigade, with the artillery, were placed in reserve. Soon after General Couch came up with his division, and after examining and approving the disposition placed his command in position. Lines of pickets were established, but every precaution was taken to prevent any information from reaching the enemy.

At 2 p. m. I ordered Colonel Fairman's New York regiment and two sections of Fitch's battery to proceed to Long Bridge, to destroy what remained of it, and prevent the enemy's crossing in that quarter. A detail of 200 infantry was sent with a section of artillery to Jones' Bridge with similar instructions. About this time the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania, Colonel Howell, was established as an outpost on the Charles City road, to cover the debouche of the crossing of the White Oak Swamp at Brackett's Ford. Infantry and cavalry pickets were established in advance of this.

In this connection I would mention that the Ninety-second New York, Colonel Anderson, was left on duty at the White Oak Swamp Bridge.

At this time, in consequence of the numerous detachments along the