War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0161 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

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from the woods in front, upon which I retired with my command to the edge of the woods, where I established my posts. Having received orders about 12 p. m. to advance my line, I sent out 6 men at a time, who dug rifle-pits and occupied them. They were nearly all completed, when we were charged upon by rebel cavalry and forced back to the woods, the rebels following and cutting us off from our regiment and brigade. There was little or no firing on my right, the Eighth Maine firing only two shots. Neither did they report to me as seeing anything unusual. There were several volleys fired by the Ninth New Jersey, stationed at a house in front of the center of the picket-line; also some on the left. I did not see or hear anything that would lead me to suppose the rebels were massing troops in front.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Twenty-seventh Mass. Vols., Commanding Co. D.

Captain W. H. ABEL,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 69. Report of Lieutenant Colonel James Stewart, jr., Ninth New Jersey Infantry, of operations May 15-16.


CAPTAIN: As general officer of the night for May 15, I have the honor to submit the following report:

At early twilight I had two companies each to report to me from the following regiments: Ninety-eighth New York, Eighth Maine, and Twenty-first Connecticut. With these I relived the line of skirmishers in front of the position held by Heckman's brigade during the day. I was then furnished with four companies, from Heckman's brigade, three of which were distributed in the rifle-pits in front of that brigade and connecting with my first line of pickets on the left. Most of the rifle-pits were dug by my men early that night by order of General Heckman. I also had one company of about 50 men, under Captain Lawrence, of the Ninth New Jersey, posted at a house situated about 400 yards in front of the Ninth New Jersey, which was on the right of the brigade. The picket-line extended from the house to the right, and, I believe, to the James River, and was held by one company of the Eighth Maine and some colored cavalry. These pickets were not under my directions, but I informed myself as to their position, &c. Everything remained quiet until about 10 p. m., when the enemy's cavalry charged upon the post held by Captain Lawrence, but the officer with his command gave them an effective volley, which sent them back in confusion. As soon as I heard the firing, I visited the house and learned the particulars from Captain Lawrence. About this time it was becoming quite foggy, but the captain informed me that he could see them quite plainly, and judged their force to be fully 100. I then placed the captain with his men in the most advantageous position to repel an attack, and immediately reported the circumstance to General Heckman. Soon afterward I was furnished with a com-