War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0268 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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CAMP NEAR RICHMOND, VA.,

June 27, 1862.

Captain W. E. STURGES, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have the honor to report that while in command of my regiment on picket, at 3 p. m. yesterday, I was detailed as division officer of the day. As soon as practicable I reported at division headquarters for instructions; after which I visited the different pickets on this front. While engaged in that duty I received a communication from General Kearny, directing me to report immediately to General Hooker, with a note requesting that officer to relieve the two regiments of this division doing picket duty on General Hooker's front; to which General Hooker assented, and informed me that he had given General Abercrombie orders to relieve all of the regiments of Kearny's division occupying his (Hooker's) front. This conversation occurred between 7 and 8 o'clock p.m. I then returned to the outpost. After waiting for an hour or more, and no relief for our pickets, I, in company with Colonel Egan, visited our lines on the right. After passing the Fortieth New York, and at some distance to the rear, I discovered the Long Island Volunteers. On making inquiry of the commanding officer in regard to his position at that point he informed me he was doing picket duty; that he was sent to relieve Birney's brigade. I informed him that no part of Birney's brigade had been, relieved, and advised him to relieve the Fortieth New York, in accordance with instructions given him. He declined, on the ground that he had been placed there to hold that position, and could not change it except by orders from General Abercrombie. The position occupied by the Long Island Volunteers was in the open field in front of Hooker's division and about 400 yards to the left of Hooker's redoubt and near the woods. This conversation occurred between 11 and 12 o'clock p.m.

I then sought General Abercrombie, who informed me that he could not relieve any of the regiments without instructions from General Hooker. I than sent you a communication containing a statement of the difficulties I encountered in getting the proper regiments relieved. About 1 o'clock a.m. I received a communication from General Kearny, directing me to state to General Hooker that unless the regiments were relieved in an hour, he (Kearny) would relieve them and order them to camp. In accordance with these instructions I relieved the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania and Fortieth New York from duty on Hooker's front about 3 p.m. The Fortieth New York was sent to camp; the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania then relieved the Thirty-eighth New York, who also returned to camp.

General Hooker soon after the relief of the above regiment discovered their absence and immediately detailed others to fill their places. The whole line during my tour was quiet. I was relieved this morning by Colonel Hays, Sixty-third Pennsylvania.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

J. H. HOBART WARD,

Colonel Thirty-eighth Regiment, Division Officer of the Day.

The report of the position of the pickets in front of the division was rendered this morning.

NORFOLK, June 28, 1862-1 a.m.

Major-General McCLELLAN:

Just received your second telegram upon the subject of the light-