It is, perhaps, well to state that the time of delivery of the orders herein given may not be exact, but can vary but little from the correct time.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. A. SCRYMSER,
Numbers 50. Report of Brigadier General William T. H. Brooks, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations May 7-16.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS, May 21, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to orders from corps headquarters, I proceeded on the 7th instant with four brigades, viz, Burnham's, of this division, Barton's, Drake's, and Plaisted's, of the Tenth Corps, Hunt's battery, and Colonel Onderdonk's cavalry, to cut the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad. I took the [Bermuda] Hundred road to Port Walthall Junction and had not proceeded far before coming upon a small force of the enemy at the opposite end of a causeway leading through a marsh. The Eighth Connecticut Volunteers were thrown out as skirmishers and were supported by the balance of Burnham's brigade. The ground was most difficult to operate in, dense undergrowth and fallen timber in every direction. While Burnham's skirmishers were feeling the enemy in front of cavalry was sent out to the right to try and get to the turnpike. Report was soon brought in that the turnpike was close at hand. Plaisted's brigade was cover, soon crossed the pike and reached the railroad, which it began to cut. Barton's brigade proceeded to the railroad to the left of Plaisted's, but not without a severe contest with a large force of the enemy that had discovered and opposed the movement. Drake's brigade was deployed to the left of Burnham's. The enemy soon disappeared from their front, and these two brigades were maintained in position to cover the movements of the other two. The brigades on the railroad were directed to withdraw when it was found they were all engaged in fighting and had no force left to destroy the road. By a misunderstanding of the orders, Plaisted's brigade was withdrawn before Barton's and before the time contemplated in the order sent him, hence there was not as much of the road destroyed as ought to have been by this brigade. I regret to have to report a heavy loss in Barton's brigade, but it is believed nearly all, if not quite all, of his wounded were brought off the field. The casualties in the Eighth Connecticut were numerous. This regiment was exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, which it returned promptly, harassing his flank while attacking Barton. A section of Hunt's battery, under direction of Colonel Drake and supported by his brigade, was used very successfully against a battery of the enemy. From 300 to 500 yards of the road were destroyed, together with the telegraph line on the railroad and two telegraph lines on