Report of Col. James Barnes, Eighteenth Massachusetts Infantry, of operation April 4—14.
HDQRS. EIGHTEENTH REGT. MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY,
Camp Winfield Scott, before Yorktown, Va., April 14, 1862.
SIR: I herewith submit a record of events occurring to the Eighteenth Regiment Massachusetts Infantry since leaving Camp Ingraham, near New Market Bridge, Va.:
In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters the regiment was formed in column at 5.30 o’clock on the morning of the 4th of April, and soon after it took up the line of march toward Great Bethel at the head of the brigade, and in advance of any other column on the middle road. Three companies, B, H, and G, were detached from the column and placed under charge of Major Hayes, who had orders to form an advance guard and deploy skirmishers in front. The regiment at midday reached Great Bethel without having met any of the enemy, and there halted two hours while a bridge was being repaired. After resting, it took the place in column to which it was assigned by the commanding general and continued the march. At night it encamped within the abandoned earthworks of the enemy at Howard’s Creek. On the next morning at 6.30 o’clock the march was resumed toward Yorktown. The weather was rainy and the roads very muddy. The regiment, however, came up at about o’clock p. in. within sight and range of the enemy’s Yorktown batteries in a fresh condition. After unslinging knapsacks the battalion was marched up and deployed in line of battle parallel with the Warwick road, where it remained while Martin’s Third Massachusetts Battery and Griffin’s were playing upon the batteries on the enemy’s right. The right company of the battalion was sent forward soon after the line of battle was formed, by the orders of the general commanding, to deploy as skirmishers, under charge of Captain Thomas, and subsequently two other companies, I and B, were added to the skirmishers, and the whole placed under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ingraham. Five shells and a large number of musket and rifle balls were fired from the enemy’s intrenchments at the skirmishers, but none of them caused any injury. At sunset the battalion was closed in mass by divisions on first division, and the men pitched their shelter-tents and remained on the ground during the night. The skirmishers were relieved at 9o’clock in the evening by a [p294] picket of 70 men, under command of Captain Weston. No casualty occurred during the day or night.
Sunday, April 6.—Early in the horning Captain Weston’s picket was relieved by Company B, under command of Captain Ruby. At 11 o’clock a. m. the battalion was moved a few hundred yards to the right, where it pitched its camp in full view of the enemy’s batteries. During the day one shell passed over the camp, and a number fell short of it, but in exact line.
Monday, April 7.—The weather was stormy. A picket of 20 men sent out.
Tuesday, April 8.—The cold easterly storm still continues. The same number sent out on picket as yesterday.
Wednesday, April 9.—The regiment was marched toward the river about a mile, and an encampment formed in a peach orchard. The same picket detail sent out as heretofore.
Thursday, April 10.—Seventy men were detailed to build a bridge, under charge of Major Hayes, over Wormley’s Creek. The regiment was relieved from detailing the small picket.
Friday, April 11.—The same detail was made for bridge building. One hundred and fifty men were detailed, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ingraham, to repair the New Landing road.
Saturday, April 12.—The same detail for building road and bridge was made as yesterday.
Sunday, April 13.—An outpost guard of 250 men were detailed and sent to the front, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ingraham.
The bearing of the officers and men throughout all these occurrences has been such as to give me entire satisfaction.
Capt. CHARLES J. POWERS,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., General Martindale’s Brigade,
Porter’s Division, Third Army Corps.
Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.292-294
web page Rickard, J (12 January 2007), http://www.historyofwar.org/sources/acw/officialrecords/vol011chap023part1/02006_01.html