rifle-pits was constructed, adding materially to the strength of the position. A small work was ordered, across the railway, near a screen of timber, on the right of General Naglee's line; also a general slashing of timber in his front. A redoubt, on the road from Bottom's bridge, was found in a half-finished state, which I directed to be completed. The whole country beyond the White Oak Swamp, in the direction towards Richmond, New Market, and the Chickahominy, and also the territory across Bottom's Bridge, was most thoroughly covered by cavalry patrols, under the general direction of Captain Keenan. From him I had information of the movements of General Wise, with his force of some five thousand of all arms, his headquarters being near New Market. Late on the twenty-sixth, I was advised that the enemy had crossed the Chickahominy, in large force, for the purpose of cutting our communications. Early on the twenty-seventh, I proceded to Bottom's Bridge and made a careful reconnoissance of all the approaches, in conjunction with General Naglee, which resulted in ordering the construction of a redoubt for ten or twelve guns at the bridge, close to the river; an epaulement for three guns was also ordered on the railroad. I reinforced General Naglee with Colonel Hovell's regiment, placing it at the battery below Bottom's Bridge. Lieutenant Morgan's regular battery was sent to General Naglee, also all the entrenching tools at my command. A squadron of cavalry for special service was asked for on that part of the line. The reported crossing of Jackson with sixty thousand men proving too true, I deemed it advisable to guard the whole line to the extent of my ability, from Bottom's Bridge to the White Oak Swamp. By a thorough examination, I found a line of high bluffs commanding all the approaches from Chickahominy Swamp. Four different sites were selected for lines of rifle-pits, and the work commenced; one was completed and Colonel Lehman's regiment placed in position that night. The instructions from headquarters to destroy Bottom's and the railroad bridge, in case an attack should be made in overwhelming force, I communicated to General Naglee, and the necessary preparations were made therefor. The important order “to hold the road to the James river over White Oak Swamp at all hazards,” was received and carried out to the letter. During the evening, Captain Fitch's battery, Colonel Russell's Seventh Massachusetts volunteers and General Woodbury's engineer force, joined for duty at my headquarters. Parties, under discreet officers, were sent down the Chickahominy, with instructions to burn all bridge structures, and to proceed as far as Jones' Ford, if possible. General Woodbury was employed in preparing bridge structures to be thrown across the White Oak at or before daylight. He was furnished with men and implements, and every facility afforded for the discharge of his duty. A large force was employed during the night clearing the obstructions in the road leading to the bridge. Reports were made to the headquarters Fourth corps at intervals of half hours. On the twenty-eighth, at daylight, I received instructions from headquarters, Fourth corps, to throw my immediate command across the White Oak Swamp, and seize strong positions so as to cover most effectually the passage for other troops. So soon as the bridge was passable I moved General Palmer, (who had joined me with his brigade,) Russell's regiment leading a squadron of cavalry, and Regan's and Fitch's batteries of artillery, forward, to a position of much strategic importance, some four miles in advance towards Richmond, covering the junction of the Quaker, New Market, Charles City, and other principal roads. General Woodbury, at my request, accompanied General Palmer, and made a hasty reconnoisance of the position. Having placed Wessell's brigade, with Lieutenant Mink's battery, in movement to support General Palmer, I proceeded in advance with Captain Keenan to make a careful reconnoisance of the country between the main road and the White Oak Swamp. After placing Colonels Rose and Dunkee's regiments on the right of the road, and the Sixty-second New York, Colonel Niven, far to the right, towards the swamp, in advance of Palmer's line, for the purpose of covering an important road, I examined the dispositions of General Palmer, which met my approval. The remainder of Wessell's brigade, with the artillery, were placed in reserve. Soon after General Couch came up with his division, and after examining and approving the dispositions, placed his command in position. Lines of pickets were established, but every precaution was taken to prevent any information from reaching the enemy. At two P. M., I ordered Colonel Fairman's New York regiment and two sections of Fitch's battery to proceed to Long's Bridge to destroy what remained of it, and prevent the enemy's crossing in that quarter. A detail of two hundred infantry was sent, with a section of artillery, to Jones' Bridge, with similar instructions. About this time the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Hovell, was established as an outpost on the Charles City road, to cover the debouch of the crossing of the White Oak Swamp at Bracket's Ford. Infantry and cavalry pickets were established in advance of this. In this connection, I would mention that the Ninety-second New York, Colonel Anderson, was left on duty at the White Oak Swamp bridge. At this time, in consequence of the numerous detachments along the Chickahominy and White Oak Swamp, my force in hand was reduced to less than one thousand four hundred. An abatis was ordered to be cut in front, but not much progress was made, for want of tools. The day passed without disturbance, which I attributed in a great degree to the precaution I had taken of having the provost guard over every house within a distance of two or three
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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