and to express my very grateful acknowledgment for the encouragement inspired by his presence, and for the aid and support he gave me by his counsel and conduct. As soon as darkness concealed their movements, the rebels retreated in a state of utter demoralization, leaving behind artillery, wagons, etc., etc. History will not be believed when it is told that the noble officers and men of my division were permitted to carry on this unequal struggle from morning until night, unaided, in the presence of more than thirty thousand of their comrades with arms in their hands. Nevertheless, it is true. If we failed to capture the rebel army on the plains of Williamsburgh, it surely will not be ascribed to the want of conduct and courage in my command. The field was marked by an unusual number of instances of conspicuous courage and daring, which I shall seek an early opportunity to bring to the notice of the Commander of the Third corps. At this time I can speak but in general terms of the regiments and batteries engaged in the battle of Williamsburgh. Their list of the killed and wounded from among their numbers will forever determine the extent of their participation in this hard-fought and dearly-contested field. Their constancy and courage are deserving all praise. My profound and grateful acknowledgments are tendered to them. I am under great obligations to the officers of my staff for eminent services, and especially to Capt. Joseph Dickinson, my Assistant Adjutant-General, and to my Aids-de-Camp, Lieutenants Wm. H. Lawrence and Joseph Abbot, who were with me throughout the day. The loss of my division on this field was:
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
|Commissioned officers killed,||21|
|Commissioned officers wounded,||65|
|Enlisted men killed,||317|
|Enlisted men wounded,||837|
|Enlisted men missing,||335|
Joseph Hooker, Brigadier-General Commanding Division.
General Kearney's official report.
headquarters Third division, Heintzelman's corps, May 6, 1862.Captain: I have the honor to report that, on receiving orders on the fifth instant, at nine A. M., the division took up its line of march, and shortly after came upon the crowded columns before us. At half-past 10 A. M., an order was received from Gen. Sumner to pass all others and to proceed to the support of Gen. Hooker, already engaged. With difficulty and much loss of time, my division at length made its way through the masses of troops and trains that encumbered the deep, single, muddy defile, until at the brick church my route was to the left, the direct road to Williamsburgh. At half-past 1 P. M., within three and a half miles of the battle-field, I halted my column to rest for the first time, and to get the lengthened files in hand before committing them to action. Capt. Moses, of the General's staff, with great energy assisted me in this effort. Almost immediately, however, on orders from Gen. Heintzelman, “our knapsacks were piled,” and the head of the column resumed its march, taking the double-quick wherever the mud-holes left a footing. Arrived at one mile from the engagement, you, in person, brought me an order for detaching three regiments, one from Berry's, the leading brigade, and two from Birney's, the second to support Emory's horse to the left of the position. Approaching near the field, word was brought by an aid-de-camp that Hooker's cartridges were expended, and with increased rapidity we entered under fire. Having quickly consulted with Gen. Hooker and received Gen. Heintzelman's orders as to the point of onset, I at once deployed Berry's brigade to the left of the Williamsburgh road, and Birney's on the right of it, taking to cover the movement and to support the remaining battery that had ceased to fire, two companies of Poe's regiment. As our troops came into action the remnants of the brave men of Hooker's division were passed, and our regiments promptly commenced an unremitting, well-directed fire. However, from the lengthening of the files the gap occasioned by the withdrawal from the column of three regiments and the silence of this battery, I soon was left no alternative than to lead forward to the charge the two companies of the Second Michigan volunteers to beat back the enemy's skirmishers, now crowding on our pieces. This duty was performed by officers and men with superior intrepidity, and enabled Maj. Wainwright, of Hooker's division, to collect his artillerists and reopen fire from several pieces. A new support was then collected from the Fifth New-Jersey, who, terribly decimated previously, again came forward with alacrity. The affair was now fully and successfully engaged along our whole line, and the regiments kept steadily gaining ground. But the heavy strewn timber of the abattis defied all direct approach. Introducing, therefore, fresh marksmen from Poe's regiment, I ordered Col. Hobart Ward, of the Thirty-eighth New-York volunteers (Scott Life-Guard) to charge down the road and take the riflepits on the centre of the abattis by their flank. This duty Col. Ward performed with great gallantry, his martial demeanor imparting all confidence in the attack. Still the move, though nearly successful, did not quite prevail; but with bravery every point thus gained was perfectly sustained. The left wing of Col. Riley's regiment, the Fortieth New-York volunteers, (Mozart,) was next sent for and the Colonel being valiantly engaged in front came up brilliantly conducted by Capt. Mindil, chief of Gen. Birney's staff. These charged up to the open space and silenced some light artillery, and gaining the enemy's