Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports

The Document

No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, Second Division (Richardson’s), Second Corps, of operations April 4-7.


Ship Point, Va., April 7, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report, in accordance with general orders from division headquarters, dated April 4, 1862, I embarked my brigade at Alexandria, as follows: The Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and Sixty-first New York Volunteers on the Spaulding; six companies of the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers in the Donaldson, under Colonel Cross; four companies of same, in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Langley, on the Croton. The Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers, detached by orders from headquarters army corps, had not arrived from Manassas. I took my headquarters on board the Spaulding, and sailed at 1.10 p. m. the 4th instant.

We arrived at Fort Monroe at 7.30 next morning, and were ordered by General McClellan, through General Van Vliet, to proceed without delay to Ship Point. Some delay was occasioned in procuring a pilot.

We left Old Point at 1 p. m. and reached this place at 3.15. I immediately apprised General McClellan of my arrival with the regiment, and received orders from him to remain in command at this post until relieved by a superior officer; to assist all in my power in improving the facilities for the transportation of supplies; to repair the road from this point to the Hampton and Yorktown road, and to ascertain the most feasible place of landing army supplies. I detailed Major Conner, with a force, to proceed and repair the road mentioned. I made a personal reconnaissance of the Poquosin River and became satisfied that this was time most practicable place for receiving supplies from water transportation. On the arrival of General Van Vliet I communicated with him, and ordered all the assistance I could in preparing a place for unloading the vessels.

In the mean time I received dispatches from General McClellan, [285] urging the facilitating of the means of transportation. I have detailed all the pioneers in General French’s brigade and my own, who, under Major Parisen, of the Fifty-seventh New York, are now at work, in conjunction with Major Conner, on the road.

The larger part of Colonel Miller’s regiment are and have been detailed to assist the landing of commissary stores, and Colonel Cone has assisted in the quartermaster’s department.

General French, with three regiments and two companies of his fourth, arrived yesterday, the 6th, at 2 p. m., and disembarked as speedily as possible.

Six companies of the Fifth New Hampshire arrived this morning at 10 a. m., all of which are encamped in this immediate vicinity.

I have detailed Captain Sherlock as harbor-master of the port for the present and given him instructions.

I transmit a copy of the orders of General McClellan to me; also copy of instructions to the harbormaster.

I have the honor, general, to turn over to you the command of the post.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

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How to cite this article

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.284-285

web page Rickard, J (25 July 2006),

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