Today in History:

21 Series I Volume XI-I Serial 12 - Peninsular Campaign Part I


tinued until the morning of the 6th, making the roads, already in very bad condition, almost impassable.

During the morning of the 5th General Sumner reconnoitered the position in his front, and at 11 o'clock ordered Hancock's brigade, of Smith's division, to take possession of a work on the enemy's left, which had been found to be unoccupied. The remainder of Smith's division occupied the woods in front without being actually engaged.

The divisions of Couch and Casey had received orders during the night to march at daylight, but on account of the terrible condition of the roads and other impediments were not able to reach the field until after 1 o'clock p.m., at which time the first brigade of Couch's division arrived, and was posted in the center, on Hooker's right. The other two brigades came up during the afternoon, followed by Casey's division.

In the mean time General Hooker, having reconnoitered the enemy's position, began the attack at 7.30 a.m., and for a while silenced the guns of Fort Magruder and cleared the ground in his front; but the enemy being continually re-enforced, until their strength greatly exceeded his, made attack after attack, endeavoring to turn his left.

For several hours his division struggled gallantly against the superior numbers of the enemy. Five guns of Webber's battery were lost, and between 3 and 4 o'clock his ammunition began to give out. The loss had been heavy and the exhaustion of the troops was very great. At this time the division of General Kearny came up, who at 9 a.m. had received orders to re-enforce Hooker, and who had succeeded by the greatest exertions in passing Casey's troops and pushing on to the front through the deep mud. General Kearny at once gallantly attacked and thereby prevented the loss of another battery, and drove the enemy back at every point, enabling General Hooker to extricate himself from his position and withdraw his wearied troops. Peck's brigade, of Couch's division, as has been mentioned before, was immediately on its arrival ordered by General Sumner to deploy on Hooker's right. This was promptly done, and the attacks of the enemy at that point were repulsed. General Peck held his position until late in the afternoon, when he was relieved by the other two brigades of Couch's division, and they were in quiet possession of the ground, when night closed the contest. The vigorous action of these troops relieved General Hooker considerably. General Emory had been left with his command on the night of the 4th to guard the branch of the Lee's Mill road which leads to Allen's farm, and on the morning of the 5th it was ascertained that by this route the enemy's right could be turned. A request for infantry for this purpose was made to General Heintzelman, who late in the afternoon sent four regiments and two batteries of Kearny's division-the first disposable troops he had-and directed General Emory to make the attack. With these re-enforcements his force amounted to about 3,000 men and three batteries. General Emory, on account of want of knowledge of the ground and the lateness of the hour, did not succeed in this movement. It involved some risks, but if successful might have produced important results.

At 11 a.m., as before mentioned, General Smith received orders from General Sumner to send one brigade across a dam on our right, to occupy a redoubt on the left of the enemy's line. Hancock's brigade was selected for this purpose. He crossed the dam, took possession of the first redoubt, and afterward finding the second one vacated he occupied that also, and sent for re-enforcements to enable him to advance farther and take the next redoubt, which commanded