I make no account of the artillery of Brigadier-General Whiting's division, for though this command was at the time part of your force it had but recently joined, and I was unacquainted with any of the officers of his batteries, of which latter I did not know the composition, and so judged it best that I should leave the management of this artillery to Brigadier-General Whiting entirely.
On Monday, June 30, we crossed the Chickahominy at Grapevine Bridge and moved toward White Oak Swamp, which we reached about 9.30 a.m. At this point the swamp was crossed by a trestle bridge, which the enemy had just fired, while it was commanded by their guns from the opposite hill, and all approach to it prevented by their sharpshooter, who were concealed in a thick woods near by. After examining the ground, I found it possible with a little work to open a way through the woods to the right of the road on which we advanced, by which our guns could be brought, unseen by the enemy, into position behind the crest of the hill on this side, about 1,000 yards from the enemy's batteries and some 1,200 yards from their infantry. Seven batteries [in all twenty-three guns] were accordingly ordered up from Major General D. H. Hill's division. Having met their names, and can only mention the batteries of Capts.t. H. Carter, R. A. Hardaway, G. W. Nelson, A. B. Rhett, James Reilly, and W. L. Balthis [the last two belonging to Brigadier-General Whiting's division] as being of the number.
About 1.45 p.m. we opened suddenly upon the enemy, who had no previous intimation of our position and intention. He only fired four shots in reply and then abandoned the position in extreme haste and confusion. A house near by [afterward found to have contained subsistence stores] was first either fired by themselves or by our shell and burned down. Captain Wooding's battery was immediately ordered down nearer to the burned bridge to shell out the sharpshooters from the woods, which was soon accomplished, and our cavalry crossed the swamp.
It was then found that the enemy was bringing up a considerable artillery force to take position on the opposite side of the road to his former place and directly opposed to our guns, from which he would be concealed by a thick intervening wood. Captain G. W. Wooding's battery was therefore withdrawn and our batteries turned in the new direction. The enemy soon opened on us with about eighteen guns, I think, and we replied, though it was extremely difficult to estimate the distance, as the enemy's guns were entirely concealed from view and our only guide was the sound, while our exact position was of course known to him. His fire was rapid and generally accurate, though the nature of the ground afforded us such shelter as to protect us from much loss. The effect of our own fire could not be estimated until we crossed the swamp next day, when there were palpable evidences of its having been much more destructive than that to which we were subjected, This engagement lasted till dusk without intermission.
We lost no guns or carriages disabled or captured. The enemy had a caisson exploded, and abandoned a traveling forge, battery wagon, 10-pounder Parrott gun, and three caissons, which fell into our hands uninjured next day, besides a good many wagons, mostly filled with small-arms ammunition.
The behavior of the officers and men was excellent, but all the former being strangers to me I mention no names, lest I do injustice to others. Several I observed particularly from their coolness and judgment,
36 R R-VOL XI, PT II