War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0207 Chapter XXX. SKIRMISH AT WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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town and the killing and capturing of about 15 of the enemy without loss on the part of Colonel Tabb. Some time since, as has been reported already, Colonel Tabb captured some 36 Federal cavalry. The cavalry on the Peninsula are doing good duty and are actively employed. They are doing all that can be done with them.

Very respectfully,



Numbers 4. Report of Colonel William B. Tabb, C. S. Army.


Diascund Bridge, Va., March 30, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the report the failure of my attempt to capture Fort Magruder. My plan of operations was as follows:

The whole command moved together to Petitt's farm, between 3 and 4 miles from Williamsburg, on the Telegraph road. Here 100 infantry, under Captain G. A. Wallace, were detached. Captain Wallace was directed to gain the rear of Fort Magruder by a detour to the left through Petitt's and Lipscomb's farms, passing between the pickets at Capitol Landing Bridge and Williamsburg, and to surprise the fort before day-break. The main body moved to within 1 1/2 miles of Williamsburg. The report of Captain Wallace's guns was to be the signal for a general advance. Signals were concerted by which I could be apprised of the success or failure of the assault. Had the fort been carried Captain Wallace would have been re-enforced there and a detachment sent to King's Mill; if he failed the main body was to form in line of battle at the east end of the town, and Captain Wallace, falling back over ground protected from the guns at the fort and inaccessible to cavalry, would come up by the Capitol Landing road, enter Williamsburg in my rear, and so rejoin the main body. Partly through the blunders of guides, in whose efficiency I have every reason to rely, and partly through straggling among the men by which the command was divided and time lost in getting it together, Captain Wallace's detachment was two hours going not quite 4 miles. They reached Capitol Landing road after daybreak and came in full view of the enemy's pickets. All thought of capturing the post by surprise had now to be abandoned, disproportionate to the advantage to be gained. Captain Wallace prudently forbore to make the attack, and, signaling me to that effect, moved up toward Williamsburg on the Capitol Landing road. The main body moving rapidly forward drove the picket and provost guard back on Captain Wallace, who, without loss, killed and wounded 4 and made 11 prisoners. I will forward Captain Wallace's report.

The failure to capture Fort Magruder involves the failure of the expedition to King's Mill. The most direct road looking from Williamsburg to King's Mill passes over two mill-dams, both of which have been cut, making the road impassable for cavalry. The only other road passes within close range of Fort Magruder. The citizens of Williamsburg inform me, however, that nothing could be gained by going there; the negroes have all been removed.