Doc. 9.-the battle of West-point, Va. Fought May 7, 1862.The correspondent of the New-York Herald gives the following account of the battle:
Gen. Franklin, and by dark most of the troops were landed on a beautiful plain, which is surrounded on three sides by dense woods and on the fourth by the river, on the south side of the Pamunkey River, and about half a mile southward from West-Point. The reason why we landed here is obvious. Had we landed on the other side of the river--West-Point — where it was at first intended we should land, we should then have had a considerable stream of water between us and the rebels, and would have had considerable trouble to reach them, as all the bridges have been destroyed. Our gunboats have taken undisputed possession of the point, the rebels having disappeared at the appearance of our forces, and the American flag of our Union now floats from one of the most prominent buildings in the village. I have yet to see a white man among the original inhabitants of this place. Immediately on the landing of our forces from the transports, pickets were thrown out to the edge of the surrounding wood, and our tents were pitched on the banks of the river, and up to that time not one of the chivalric sons of the sunny South had made his appearance, and our men became anxious to know why they had been brought to a country where there was no foe. About dusk a part of the division of Gen. Sedgwick, under the command of Gen. Dana, arrived in transports from Yorktown and remained in the centre of the river, while some of our light-draft gunboats took a trip up the rivers Pamunkey and Metaponey to capture a portion of the rebel mosquito fleet, which were brought into use for carrying our men from the transports to the shore, as the river here is too shallow for vessels drawing over six feet of water. During the night some of the rebel pickets made a sortie on one of our advanced videttes, and shot him through the heart. The news soon spread through the camp, and by daylight this morning, the plain, which takes in about a thousand acres of ground, running south-west from the York River, presented a scene such as I have never before witnessed. Long lines of men extended from left to right across the centre of the field, and squads of skirmishers stood marking, in dim outline, their forms against the heavy woods and underbrush which presents an unbroken front to us on every side, except that bounded by the river. Here the men stood for some time, ready to march at a moment's notice; but no foe appeared, and the men were permitted to return to their camps for the purpose of getting their breakfast, and, perhaps, some sleep. A strong picket, composed of the New-York Thirty-second, Ninety-fifth and Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania troops, were left at the edges of the woods to keep a sharp lookout for the enemy, who were now believed to he in close proximity to our lines. About this time, one of our gunboats discovered a regiment or two of the enemy on the west side of the river, who dispersed in great confusion after having received some half-dozen of our heavy shells in their midst. This was communicated to Gen. Slocum, who immediately made strenuous efforts to get the brigade of Gen. Dana on shore, that we might be able to give the enemy a warm reception should he make his appearance.  Gen. Dana was indefatigable in his labors to get the troops off the transports, and through his exertions most of the men and horses were off the boats by nine o'clock, and preparations were being made to breakfast the men of this brigade, when the order was given for the Sixteenth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second New-York, and the Ninety-fifth and Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania regiments to advance into the woods and drive off some of the rebel scouts who were firing occasional shots at our pickets, supposed to be supported by a force concealed in the woods. This proved correct, for no sooner had our men made an advance into the woods than they were received with a volley of musketry from the rebels, who were hidden in the dense undergrowth. Our men pressed on and gave them a volley, after which the enemy retreated further into the woods, with the Thirty-second New-York close at their heels; but they were too swift-footed for our boys — being more protected — and they soon left the Thirty-second struggling in the mud. While this scene had been going on on the right centre, another was transpiring on the centre where the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania had entered the woods. In a few moments after they entered they found themselves in a dense swamp, and, in their struggles to get across, became separated from each other. One of the companies managed to get to the other side, and was climbing the bank on the opposite side when they descried a party of soldiers lying in ambush. “Who comes there” cried the party in ambush. “Friends,” was the answer. “What are you?” was the next interrogation. “A company of the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania.” No sooner was this answer returned than the party, whom the captain had mistaken for some of his own regiment, opened a terrible fire upon our men, who returned the fire and then returned to our reserves. In this affair Capt. Beates, of company B, was shot through the shoulder, but not dangerously wounded, and one or two privates, whose names I am as yet unable to learn, were killed, and carried off the field by their friends, who, before they quit the ground, revenged the fall of their brave comrades by giving the enemy a few well-directed volleys. But now the action became more general throughout the lines, and from every quarter of the woods came the sharp crack of musketry. I tried for a time to be ubiquitous, but after travelling from one point to another some fifty times, for the purpose of seeing how matters were going, I took my stand on the right, and calmly awaited the coming events. The sharp reports came nearer and nearer, and at length a ball lodged in a tree at my side. I was about to move from my dangerous quarters, when my attention was attracted to that portion of the woods where the Thirty-first and Thirty-second New-York State militia had entered. Four men were carrying the body of a man, which, upon inquiry, I understood to be that of Capt. Young, of company G, of the Thirty-second regiment, who was shot in the throat and died instantly. The fight had now been going on for three hours here without intermission, and a number of men were killed and wounded. At this juncture our men were withdrawn from the wood, where they were evidently getting the worst of it, and the Second United States artillery, under Capt. Arnold, was ordered into position on the right, and Capt. Porter's First Massachusetts battery took up a position upon the left, and in a few minutes the shell were flying through the air at the rate of about ten a minute. This soon compelled the rebels to make a move more on our left, where the shells flew less thick than upon the ground they were then occupying. But there evidently is no rest for the wicked: for no sooner had the rebels moved their forces upon our left, than our gunboats, which up to that time had been unable to have a hand in the affair, opened their batteries upon the foe with so much effect that, when I commenced to write, they had completely driven the enemy out of sight and hearing. I am inclined to think that this move upon our left was an expensive one to the rebels, who, ere this reaches the readers of the Herald, will have learned that near our gunboats is not one of the safest places that can be found. As soon as the guns of Capt. Porter commenced to fire among them, accompanied by those from the river, the rebels undertook to move one of their batteries which they had got into position. The New-Jersey regiment received orders to charge upon this battery, and at it they went, with cheers that made the very forests ring; but the rebels were again too fleet-footed. Before the Jersey boys got through the woods, the enemy had made tall travelling, and got out of sight in the woods. Everybody has done well, and the troops have acted nobly. They have been under arms all day thus far, and standing in the broiling sun without anything whatever to eat, except that which they may have had in their haversacks. I have yet to hear a word of complaint from any quarter. The idea of having an opportunity to have a fight with the rebels seems to have absorbed all their other faculties. More troops are constantly arriving, and just now Capt. Saunders's company of Massachusetts sharp-shooters pass by me on their road to the front. These are the men who are able to teach the rebels that two parties can lie concealed in the woods. The artillery has now ceased firing, and I hear nothing except the occasional discharge of a musket; it seems to be far off towards Williamsburgh. I think we have got into their rear, and if we have, we intend halting them for a few hours until General McClellan can come up to carry them back to their deserted quarters at Yorktown. At the close of the action in the afternoon the Fifth Maine regiment won encomiums from all the staff for their bravery in heading an advance into the woods upon the left. The gunboats are still throwing shell into the woods, to keep the enemy from erecting batteries. We expect to have an attack or make an  advance to-night. We have no fear of the result. The rebel army now in front of us, I have just learned, is under the command of Gen. Robert Lee. Gen. Franklin has just sent a despatch to Gen. McClellan announcing the battle of to-day. The killed and wounded.--First Lieut. Frederick Pross, Co. F, Thirty-first New-York, killed. William Linser, Co. F, Thirty-first New-York, (private,) killed. Lieut. Babcock, Co. D, Thirty-first New-York, mortally wounded. Minor Wiggins, (private,) severely wounded. Abraham Davis, (private,) Thirty--second New-York, ball through waist. E. Chasser, (private,) Co. G, Thirty-second New-York, wounded. Wm. Umphries, (private,) Co. H, Thirty-second New-York, flesh, wound. Edwin Comp, (private,) Co. I, Thirty-second New-York, flesh wound. Joseph Hepstine, (private,) Co. F, Thirty-first New-York, flesh wound. known to be dead.--Capt. Young, Co. D, Thirty-second New-York. Capt. S. H. Brown, Co. C, Thirty-second New-York. Lieut. Wallace, Co. C, Thirty-second New-York. Lieut. Pross, Co. F, Thirty-first New-York. Private Christian Hower, Co. B, Thirty-first New-York. Private William Linsener, Co. F, Thirty-first New-York. Private Philip Strells, Co. F, Thirty-first New-York. Private Henry Urimclaserman, Co. F, Thirty-first New-York. Private John J. M. McClernan, Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania. Private C. Lebuy, Co. I, Sixteenth New-York. wounded.--Capt. J. H. Boltis, Ninety--fifth Pennsylvania; Sergt. P. S. Devitt, Thirty-first New-York; Privates Patrick Kelly, Thirty-second New-York, Thomas Alterdys, Thirty-second New-York; E. B. Mulligan, Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania; J. A. Slocum, Thirty-second New-York; Pat Kildernay, Thirty-second New-York; M. O'Donnell, Thirty-second New-York; Oliver Wells, Sixteenth New-York; J. M. Smart, Thirty-second New-York; Richard Macnelly, Thirty-second New-York; John Stevens, First New-York artillery; A. F. Sawyer, Thirty-second New-York; C. Hagan, Thirty-second New--York; C. W. Smith, Thirty-second New-York; W. Robinson, George Cupping, Thirty-first New-York; James A. Day, Fifth Maine;----Etheridge, Thirty-second New-York; Jacob Walen, Thirty--first New-York; Lancert Parker, Fifth Maine; Freman Waymoth, Sixteenth New-York; F. Detra, Thirty-first New-York; A. Carlton, Thirty-second New-York; W. C. Sweeney, Thirty-second New-York; C. Gumrin, Thirty-second New-York; William Luisener, Thirty--second New-York; H. M. Helms, Sixteenth New-York; L. Parrin, Sixteenth New-York; C. Thockeray, Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania; L. Alpheus Mase, Fifth Maine; Henry Bennett, Thirty--second New-York;----Hill, Thirty-second New--York; Capt. N. Martin Curtis, Sixteenth New--York; Privates Thomas Chilton, Sixteenth New-York; J. Mott Smith, Thirty-second New-York; Thos. S. Murismon, Thirty-second New-York; Wm. Steal, Thirty--second New-York; G. Wilson, Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania; John Wilson, Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania; Lieut. J. Twaddle, Thirty-second New--York; Privates Joseph Taulh, Thirty-first New-York; Charles Allen, Thirty-second New-York; Minor Hicken, Thirty-second New-York; Olmon Davis, Thirty-second New-York; Charles Chatteman, Thirty-second New-York; H. Choper, Thirty--second New-York; W. Humphries, Thirty-second New-York ; Sergt. E. Camp, Thirty--second New-York; Private John Hepstine, Thirty-first New-York.
camp Newton, West-point, Va., May 8.I sit down under the shade of a tree to write some little account of the “second Shiloh” to which the rebels invited us. Precisely who was beaten at the first Shiloh I have never learned; but of how the little attempt at a repetition yesterday came out, I think I understand perfectly. First, then, of the location of the camp at West-Point. A large open field, a mile — more, I think — long, upon the river, located on the left bank of the river, and nearly half a mile wide — being the principal part of a large and particularly fine plantation — a good mansion and numerous barns, etc., thereon. This diagram will give the position with tolerable accuracy:
Account a participant.The following is a private letter from an officer in our army to his father:
battle of West-Point, fought yesterday by us, and also of my wonderful and miraculous escapes throughout the day. General Franklin's division left Yorktown on Monday, and landed same night upon the south side of Pamunkey River, opposite West-Point, in presence of the pickets of the enemy. Sharp firing commenced immediately after our landing, and our brigade was therefore kept under arms and in line of battle all night. On the following morning (yesterday) it became evident that the retreating columns from Yorktown would attack our division here, with the hope of beating us off before the arrival of our reinforcements. At seven o'clock I was sent out by Generals Franklin and Newton to make a reconnoissance of the ground around us in an engineering view, so that we might establish the point of their attack.  I took a company with me, and after going about two and a half miles, I observed a large body of rebels ahead of us in the woods, awaiting our arrival. I ordered my men to deploy into the woods as skirmishers, and then received a volley of musketry from them, which I returned, and then finding they were surrounding me, I fell back gradually until I reached the reserve, always keeping one platoon in the woods as skirmishers, to prevent an attack. Receiving orders then to join the brigade as rapidly as possible, as the enemy was preparing to attack us in numbers, I took my position with General Newton, who had drawn up the brigade for action about half a mile behind where I was, or just outside the woods. The action commenced at nine o'clock A. M.--the enemy being posted in thick woods, and we endeavoring by manoeuvres to draw them out — and was maintained with great spirit and incessant firing until four o'clock P. M., when we succeeded in driving them from their position and in occupying the ground lately occupied by rebel hordes. The artillery worked beautifully, doing great execution. My own escape is wonderful, and, indeed, almost miraculous, and I forgot not to thank God for his watchfulness over me. It was about one o'clock P. M. when I received an order from Gen. Newton to go forward into the woods to ascertain whether the rebels were falling back, and whether a certain regiment of ours held its position there. I went forward at once as fast as my well-tried horse could carry me, and upon entering the woods moved cautiously until I reached a barricade, when hearing voices beside me I plunged into the woods, thinking, of course, it was one of our regiments--Thirty-first New-York--and was surprised to find that I had gone right into a perfect nest of the Hampton Legion, from South-Carolina, who were lying behind trees, standing behind bushes, and kneeling behind stumps like bees. I at once perceived my mistake, and knew that nothing but the most consummate coolness would save me. I therefore saluted them, and they, taking me for a rebel officer, asked me how far Gen. Hampton was then. I answered without hesitation, and with rather more assurance than I thought I possessed, “I left him about ten rods below here,” and added, “now, boys, the General expects you to do your duty to-day.” I then turned my horse slowly to lull suspicion, and was congratulating myself on the probable success of my ruse, when seeing the U. S. on my cap, they yelled out: “That's a d — n Yankee son of a b — h, give him h — l!” On hearing this, I dashed the spurs into my horse, threw my head over his neck, and made for the road. A perfect volley of Minie-balls passed over and around me — killed my horse, who rolled over carrying me with him, and left me down. Knowing that apparently nothing but time would save me, I lay with my head back in a ditch, as I fell, and appeared dead for some ten minutes. I did not move a muscle or a feature, although the-scoundrels were swarming around me, and threatening to “end me.” I remained in this way until they came up to me, took away my pistol, and commenced general plundering, and as they fingered away I could not suppress a smile — and then rising, I said: “Well, men, I yield as a prisoner of war.” They said: “You have been shamming, you d — d Yankee scoundrel, have you?” “Certainly,” said I, “everything is fair in war.” They then commenced to abuse me as a d — d Yankee this, and a d — d Yankee that, when I turned upon them, and said: “I have yielded as a prisoner of war, I demand to be used as such. We in the North know how to treat dogs better than you do men; now lead me to your commanding officer.” They gave me another volley of abuse, at which I merely smiled, and then a shell, fired by our artillery to the place where I was seen to enter, burst like the wind amongst us--skinning my nose and scattering the rebel rascals like chaff. They seized their muskets, pointed two of them at me, and told me to “come along, you d — d Yankee!” I still talked with them to gain time, when another shell bursting amongst us, they moved on further, calling to me to “come on,” while I said: “Go ahead, lead the way, quick.” I then saw a favorable moment, and preferring freedom to a Southern prison, I made one bound into the woods, and went back as fast as one leg would carry me. I felt very much exhausted, and was carried to the rear by some men and placed under a tree, when, with whisky and care, I soon felt stronger, although my leg was stiff. They wished me to go in an ambulance to hospital, but I politely declined, and calling for an extra horse, I was lifted on his back, and returned to the field and reported to Gen. Newton for duty. He kindly told me that I had distinguished myself enough this day, and requested me to keep quiet. Do you not think that this was a miraculous escape? My captors (Hampton Legion) were the most murderous looking body of villains I ever beheld, and as for honor and mercy, they know not the first principles of such excellent virtues. They are lost to all sense of honor, and should be used as dogs. Our men were brought in rapidly — many fine officers killed — and several men killed with Minie-balls and their throats cut from ear to ear! Savages themselves would blush at such barbarity. Gen. Newton conducted the engagement, Gen. Franklin arriving at twelve M. on the field. It was a beautifully planned battle, and they expected to drive us into the river. We had twenty thousand men against us, composed of Tennesseeans, Texan volunteers, Louisiana Tigers, Virginians, and Alabamians, beside the Hampton Legion. Our men fought like tigers, although they suffered severely. We are expecting to meet them again to-day, and will give them another chance at us. We are surrounded by them here, but we are bound to be in Richmond soon. Believe me, ever, your affectionate son,