Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion

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[348] Sunday, May 4.—The enemy evacuated the Place during the night, and the United States troops took possession at daylight.

The difficulties attending the placing in position the unusually heavy material used in this siege were very much increased by the peculiarities of the soil and by the continuance of heavy rains during the greater portion of the operations. Oftentimes the heavier guns in their transportation of three miles from the landing to the batteries would sink in the quick sands to the axle-trees of their traveling carriages. The efforts of the best trained and heaviest of the horses of the artillery reserve were of no avail in their attempts to extricate them, and it became necessary to haul this heavy metal by hand, the cannoneers working knee-deep in mud and water. In these labors the officers and men of the First Connecticut Artillery and of the Fifth New York Volunteers exhibited extraordinary perseverance, alacrity, and cheerfulness. It finally became necessary to construct a heavy corduroy road, wide enough for two teams to pass each other, the whole distance from the landing to the depot. Whenever it was practicable to use horses, they were promptly supplied by Colonel Hunt from the batteries of the artillery reserve under his command.

At the suggestion of Major-General McClellan a lumber of rope mantelets, on the plan of those used by the Russians at Sebastopol, were constructed in New York, under the supervision of Colonel Delafield, Corps of United States Engineers, and were forwarded to me with great dispatch. They were placed in the embrasures of batteries 2 and 3,and would doubtless have fully answered the same good purpose which those of similar construction did at Sebastopol.

Although all of the batteries but two (and they required but six hours more to be completed) were fully ready for service when the enemy evacuated his works, circumstances only permitted fire to be opened from Battery No. 1. The ease with which the 100 and 200- pounders of this battery were worked, the extraordinary accuracy of their fire, and the since-ascertained effects produced upon the enemy by it force upon me the conviction that the fire of guns of similar caliber and power in the other batteries at much shorter ranges, combined with the cross vertical fire of the 13 and 10-inch sea-coast mortars, would have compelled the enemy to surrender or abandon his works in less than twelve hours.

It will always be a source of great professional disappointment to me that the enemy, by his premature and hasty abandonment of his defensive line, deprived the artillery of the Army of the Potomac of the opportunity of exhibiting the superior power and efficiency of the unusually heavy metal used in this siege, and of reaping the honor and just reward of their unceasing labors day and night for nearly one month.

In conclusion, I beg to present the names of Colonel Tyler, Majors Kellogg, Hemingway, and Trumbull, Captains Perkins and Burke, First Connecticut Artillery; Maj. Alex. Doull, Second New York Artillery; Colonel Warren, Lieutenant-Colonel Duryea, Major Hull, and Captain Winslow, Fifth New York Volunteers, as conspicuous for intelligence, energy, and good conduct under fire.

My assistant, Major Webb, captain Eleventh U. Infantry, and my aides-de-camp, First-Lieutenant Marshall, Second New York Artillery [349] , and First-Lieutenant Verplank, Sixty-fifth Regiment New York Volunteers, carried my orders day and night, frequently under fire, with promptness and good judgment. The conduct of Major Webb in running the 13-inch sea-coast mortars, with their material and ammunition, into the mouth of Wormley’s Creek, under the fire of the enemy, was particularly conspicuous for perseverance and great coolness and gallantry.

The services of several artillery officers were valuably employed in superintending the construction of gun and mortar batteries, magazines, splinter-proofs, traverses, fascines, and gabions. As they were under the orders of General Barnard, chief engineer, I leave it for him to bring their names and services to the notice of the major-general commanding.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier. General, Chief of Artillery


Assistant Adjutant- General.

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.348-349

web page Rickard, J (4 February 2007)