Official Records of the Rebellion

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

The Document



Report of Col. Charles A. Johnson, Twenty-fifth New York Infantry, of operations April 4—13.

April 13, 1862.

GENERAL: I herewith transmit a summary of events since leaving encampment near Hampton, Va.:

Early on the morning of Friday, April 4, together with the other regiments composing the First Brigade, we started on the main road leading to Yorktown. The road being in excellent condition, very little delay was occasioned on the march, and at noon we halted at Big Bethel for rest and partook of our rations. In the course of an hour our march was resumed, and we proceeded on unmolested, arriving at Howard’s [Harwood’s] Creek at about 5 p. m., and there bivouacked that night.

The following morning the regiment continued its march, but, owing to the bad condition of the road and a heavy rain-storm, made slower progress than on the preceding day, arriving at noon, however, in front of Yorktown.

The regiment was then drawn up in line of battle on the left of the road, while on the left of this line and perpendicular to it a part of Captain Martin’s battery was drawn up, having a good range of the works of the enemy on the left. This battery opened fire upon them, to which they quickly responded, some of their shots passing over and some in front of my regiment, a piece of one falling at the feet of Lieutenant Bates, of Company I. At this time I ordered Captain Gleason, with Companies A and H, to move forward into the woods in front to ascertain if the enemy were in force near us. They encountered a deep morass and belt of fallen timber, through which they proceeded, and [298] driving the pickets of the enemy before them through a thick undergrowth of timber, came within full view of their long line of batteries and heavy breastworks.

Here, this side of a morass, beyond which they retreated, and within 50 yards of the enemy’s pickets, was established my line, which was maintained by this regiment until April 10, at which time we were relieved from the division of General Hamilton, whose pickets at this point were driven in on the same day.

The firing on both sides was heavy during most of the afternoon, and the loss of Martin’s battery was several killed and wounded. At about 5 p. m. it ceased, and the Twenty fifth Regiment was withdrawn a short distance to the rear, and there bivouacked for the night, still in range of the enemy’s guns, a line of pickets having been established, those from this regiment holding their original position and having the Eighteenth Massachusetts on their right, and those of the Twenty-second Massachusetts on their left.

The next day several shells passed over my encampment, and struck in the immediate vicinity. To get out of the range of their fire, by order of the general commanding the brigade I moved over to the right of the field and encamped in a small hollow. Nothing of particular interest occurred while there. My pickets, being in such close proximity to the rebels, discovered many things concerning their position, &c., and exercised themselves diligently night and day finding out their probable number and what they were doing, many narrowly escaping being killed by the shots of the enemy.

On the 10th instant I moved to the right of our position some distance, where we now are encamped, anxiously awaiting the signal for an attack.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding.

Brig. Gen. J. H. MARTINDALE.

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How to cite this article

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.297-298

web page Rickard, J (23 January 2007),

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