Official Records of the Rebellion

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

The Document


No. 10.

Report of Brig. Gen. William F. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, Fourth .Corps, of operations April 4—12.

Camp No. 4, Wener’s, April 12, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with General Orders, No. 14, of the 10th instant, I have the honor to report for the information of the brigadier-general commanding the Fourth Army Corps that, in pursuance of instructions, the division under my command marched at 6 a. m. the 4th instant toward Young’s Mill. After crossing Watts’ Creek the skirmishers frequently encountered the rebel pickets. Having proceeded about 2 miles, the country opened and Young’s Mill appeared visible about 1,000 yards in advance of the woods. Having reconnoitered, and feeling satisfied that there were no heavy guns in position, I immediately deployed three regiments of the Second Brigade, and keeping two in reserve advanced on the works, the enemy retiring out of them. Shots were exchanged, and one private of the Fifth Vermont was shot through the shoulder.

On entering the works, which appeared well constructed, I found them deserted, apparently; fires were, however, burning, with rations half cooked, &c. I then disposed of the command, sending pickets forward from the Second Brigade to guard the front toward Warwick Court-House, to the right from the First Brigade toward Big Bethel, and to the left from the Third Brigade to Deep Creek.

On the morning of the 5th the division proceeded in the direction of Williamsburg, the Second Brigade watching the road to Deep Creek, the Third Brigade in the center, with a regiment (the Seventh Maine) deployed as skirmishers to protect the front, and the First Brigade watching the right, and the rain began about 7 o’clock and continued pouring in torrents, rendering the roads well-nigh impassable. On arriving at Warwick Court-House I pushed the Third Brigade across the stream with a battery (Captain Wheeler’s), while I collected the remainder of the division in the open fields on the opposite side of the creek. After halting three-quarters of an hour I again put the division in motion (the roads were awful) and slowly proceeded on the march. After having advanced about 2 miles the fortifications around and about Lee’s Mill came in sight. While flames appeared on all sides, and until [301] two fires were brought to bear on the works, I was unable to decide whether the rebels were not evacuating the position. I immediately directed Brigadier-General Davidson to deploy his brigade out of sight along the edge of the woods, with orders to hold the front. The rebel fort on their right began to reply to our guns, on which I brought Captain Wheeler’s battery out of action and then placed two guns to command the road out of sight. I then gave directions to Brigadier- General Hancock to cover our right flank, and in pursuance of such instructions the brigadier-general posted the Fifth Wisconsin on another road to the right leading to Lee’s Mill. I brought the Second Brigade, under Brigadier-General Brooks, up in reserve about half way through the woods. and then waited for instructions. These relative positions were held until the 7th instant.

On the evening of the 7th instant I moved the First and Second Brigades, together with the batteries, to the right, and occupied a position in the vicinity of their present encampments.

On the morning of the 11th the Third Brigade moved to its present position.

On the 7th [6th] instant a reconnaissance was made by my direction by Brigadier-General Hancock with two regiments (the Fifth Wisconsin and Sixth Maine), a report of which I inclose, marked A. (*Reports of Davidson (No. 16) and Hancock (No. 18) the only inclosures found)

On the 8th instant a reconnaissance was made under the direction of Lieutenant Comstock by the Sixth Maine, a report of which I inclose, marked B.

I would beg respectfully to call your attention to a report made by Brigadier-General Davidson, commanding Third Brigade, marked C, and a very careful report, marked D, of the operations of the artillery of the division made by Captain Ayres. The operations of both, as, indeed, of all the commanders, and the behavior of the division, commands my unqualified approbation.

The casualties up to this date are as follows: One officer (lieutenant, Thirty-third New York) and - privates wounded. Lieutenant Swan, of Company A, and Bugler Brown, of Company D, of the Seventh Maine, taken prisoners.

Brigadier- General, Commanding.

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How to cite this article

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.300-301

web page Rickard, J (23 January 2007),

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