War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0263 Chapter XXX. SKIRMISH AT WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

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YORKTOWN, April 11, 1863-8.20 a. m.

The enemy in large force, cavalry, artillery, and infantry, have passed through Williamsburg and are moving on Fort Magruder. Another force of infantry, reported 500 strong, have got on this side of the fort. They have captured and destroyed the camp of the Fifty Pennsylvania, burned the hospital, and paroled the patients. I have ordered the Sixth New York to fall back toward Yorktown. All communication with Colonel West is cut off. The troops here are under arms. If it be possible I shall send re-enforcements to Colonel West; not, however, so as to endanger this post. Can a boat be sent up at once?

RUFUS KING,

Brigadier-General.

Major-General KEYES, Suffolk.

Yorktown, April 11, 1863-12.30 p. m.

I have just received a letter from Colonel West. He is all right and safe in Fort Magruder. He reports Wise in front with his entire command. The road is open between this point and Fort Magruder. I have sent cavalry up to patrol the road and keep me advised of all movements. Except the camp and property oft eh Fifty Pennsylvania and some hospital stores we have nothing.

RUFUS KING,

Brigadier-General.

Major-General KEYES, Fort Monroe.

YORKTOWN, April 11, 1863-2.30 p. m.

We have reopened commanding with Fort Magruder. Colonel West has just telegraphed that everything is safe there; that the enemy are retreating, but still occupy Williamsburg, and that we have lost nothing but what was captured in the cavalry camp. He asks for a fresh regiment of infantry. i shall send him Colonel Johnson's regiment and will bring the Fourth Delaware to replace them, if need be.

RUFUS KING,

Brigadier-General.

Major-General KEYES, Fort Monroe.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, April 11, 1863.

Brigadier-General KING,

Commanding, Yorktown:

If the enemy are in rear of Williamsburg, he can only be there on very small force, so I wish you to send up Colonel Johnson's regiment to clear them out and communicate with West. If there be two gunboats on the station you can bring over the Fourth Delaware, who are plucky. If West has provisions and ammunition he can hold against 10,000 men, and the enemy can't spare that number; so he must hold on. I have asked Admiral Lee to send a gunboat up James River. During the day the gunboats should up and down between Yorktown and West's Landing.

E. D. KEYES,

Major-General.