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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1864 Report

Appendix F

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, SMITH'S DIVISION,
May 7, 1862.

SIR: It having been reported that the enemy had evacuated his works early on Sunday morning, 4th inst., this brigade was under arms, and the Fifth Vermont, under Lieut.-Col. Grant, was sent across the dam. No enemy being discovered, immediate arrangements were made for pursuit. The brigade moved in rear of Hancock's, and on arriving in front of the enemy's intrenchments, placed to protect Williamsburg, the brigade was formed in a line of double columns, in support of Hancock's brigade, deployed in line. This disposition was made with a view of carrying by assault the enemy's works. These arrangements were completed and the advance ordered about dark. It took but a very short time to discover the utter impracticability of any such move. Nothing was known of the country, and an entirely erroneous idea of the nature of the works prevailed.

After a short advance the different lines were halted, and the troops bivouaced on the ground they were on. On the morning of the 5th new dispositions were made; the brigade was put in position to cover our front and support for a short time Motto's battery, placed to enfilade a field battery sent by the enemy to harass Hancock's brigade, that had been sent to turn the enemy's left.

The brigade was kept in this position the most of the day, an eye-witness to the movements of the enemy against Hancock's brigade. Twice it received orders to go to his support. The first time the order was countermanded before starting; the second order was countermanded, and the brigade ordered peremptorily back after it had gone more than half the distance that separated the two brigades. The order to go to his support was given on the receipt of news from our left that the enemy could be seen in large force bearing down on Hancock. He was vigorously assaulted as we were returning to our former position.

On our return the Third Vermont, that had been in advance, now marching in the rear, was overtaken by a staff officer from General Hancock, and at his instance returned and went to his support, not getting there, however, until the enemy had been handsomely repulsed.

There are no casualties to report, although the brigade was exposed to quite a number of shots from the enemy's artillery.

Very respectfully,
W. T. H. BROOKS,
B. G., Com'g Brigade.

To A. A. General,
Smith's Division

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