Major Clendenin led the head of my column to within about three-fourths of a mile of Turkey Bridge on the road which the army retired over on the 2nd ultimo, and as I saw no possible opportunity of accomplishing what was expected of me at that point, and as I could not rectify the mistake in season to take advantage of it under cover of the night, I knew of but one course to adopt, and that to return to camp. The German guide furnished me was lost before I left my camp.
The foregoing applies to the head of my column. The rear of it would not have been able to pass the barricades occupied by Keyes before morning, the roads over which we were guided being almost impassable at night.
If the major-general commanding should desire I will have a road opened from my camp on to the Charles City road to-morrow morning, that being the only road on which I can advance which will be likely to secure important results to the movement on Malvern Hill. I shall advise Brigadier-General Sedgwick to send out no troops to-morrow morning.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Brigadier General R. B MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac.
Numbers 3. Report of Colonel Nelson Taylor,
Seventy-second New York Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations August 4-7.
HEADQUARTERS EXCELSIOR BRIGADE, Camp near Harrison's Bar, James River, Va., August 9, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to orders from headquarters Hooker's division, this brigade took the position it was assigned in the column (which was immediately in rear of De Russy's battery), and marched with the division from this camp about 5 p. m. August 4 in the following order: Second Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel H. L. Potter commanding; First Regiment, Major Thomas Holt commanding; Fifth Regiment, Captain H. M. Alles commanding; Fourth Regiment, Captain Thomas Smith commanding; Third Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel I. Moses commanding. Pursuant to orders De Russy's battery was closely followed until about 11 p. m., when by orders from General Hooker the brigade was formed in line, and the men rested on their arms until 3 a. m. August 5. The column was then put on the march in the same order as before. We passed Nelson's farm, near Charles City Cross-Roads, about sunrise, and advanced from there toward Malvern Hill, where, about 6 a. m., by orders of Major-General Hooker, it was formed in line on the left of the First Brigade, under a heavy fire of shell from a section of the enemy's artillery in our immediate front. Just previous to marching that morning two mounted scouts of the enemy, appearing within a few hundred feet of my line, were fired at by some of our men, and one of them, well armed and mounted, was captured. The line was formed skirting a belt of timber, and as much as possible protected from the enemy's fire by the rising ground in front. Soon after a line of the enemy's vedettes were distinctly seen on our left, when by order of General Hooker a company of skirmishers