War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0802 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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Numbers 318. Report of Brigadier General Gilman Marston, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations October 27-29.


October 30, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this division during the recent operations:

In accordance with instructions previously received, the division moved from their encampment at Cox's farm, in light marching order, with three days' rations, at precisely 5 a.m. on the morning of the 27th instant, the First Brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Raulston commanding, being in the advance, followed by the Second Brigade, Colonel E. M. Cullen commanding, the Third Brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson commanding, being in the rear. The command moved on the Kingsland to the New Market road, and then across the Darbytown to the Charles City road, which we struck at White's Tavern. Moving down the Charles City road about half a mile, the column turned to the left in the direction of the Williamsburg road. Colonel Spear's cavalry brigade was in the advance. The enemy's vedettes were met a short distance from the Charles City road, but hastily retired at our approach. We struck the Williamsburg pike, about 1 p.m., near the Seven Pines; a small cavalry force of the enemy appeared on our front. I ordered the division sharpshooters' corps, Captain Goss, and the One hundred and eighteenth New York Volunteers, Major Dominy commanding, to be deployed as skirmishers, Captain Goss,, with the sharpshooters, being on the right, and Major Dominy, with the One hundred and eighteenth New York Volunteers, stretching about 200 yards to the left of the Williamsburg pike. The skirmishers advanced promptly, meeting but little opposition. I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Raulston to deploy his brigade in line, the center on the road, and advance in support of the skirmishers. The Second Brigade was formed in column of divisions and the Third marching by the flank. The line advanced through the woods to the open field, beyond where the enemy's works were discovered, and there halted. Some time was here spent in reconnoitering the enemy's works and endeavoring to ascertain their strength. In accordance with orders, I then moved the First Brigade to the right and ordered the Second Brigade to move up and deploy into line, its right joining with the left of the First Brigade and its left resting on the Williamsburg road. The Third Brigade was formed in column of divisions and held in reserve about 100 yards in rear of the center of the line.

During this time Major Dominy, commanding the skirmish line, reported to me that there appeared to be a considerable force in his front, and that re-enforcements were arriving, which facts I reported to the brevet major-general commanding the corps. About 3 p.m. I was ordered to have one of the brigades of my division in readiness to charge the enemy's works on the right of the road, the brigade to charge in single line of battle. I was informed that a brigade of the Second Division would charge at the same time on the left of the road, and that the movement would be supported by a battery that would be posted on the road. I selected the Second Brigade for this work, and gave the necessary instructions to Colonel Cullen, first moving his brigade about fifty yards to the right, in order that it might be protected from the premature bursting of our own shells. About 3.30 the order was given to advance, and Colonel Cullen at once moved his brigade to