Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports

The Document


No. 16.

Reports of Brig. Gen. John W. Davidson, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade, Second Division, Fourth Corps, of operations April 5—12.

Camp near Lee’s Mill, Warwick River, Va., April 12, 1862.

SIR: Having been directed by the general commanding the division to furnish a report of the operations of my brigade from the 5th instant to the present time, I respectfully state as follows:

The advance of the division from Young’s Mill was formed by my brigade, the Seventh Maine, Colonel Mason commanding, being deployed as a line of skirmishers in front, with a section of Kennedy’s battery, Lieutenant Cowan, following the road; the Thirty-third New York Volunteers, Colonel Taylor, Seventy-seventh New York, Colonel McKean, and Forty-ninth New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Alberger, in the order named, moving in rear of this advance in column.

About 4 miles from Young’s Mill, at 11 a. m., the enemy’s pickets were driven in, exchanging occasional shots with our skirmishers, and a mile and a half farther on through a dense woods we came in sight over an open space of the position of the enemy’s line of earth works in our front. The Seventh Maine, as skirmishers, were halted in the edge of the woods, about 950 yards from these works, the section of artillery placed in battery, and the Thirty-third, Seventy-seventh, and Forty- ninth New York formed rapidly in line under the fire of the enemy’s shell and canister. The left of the Seventh Maine was in an exposed position, being about 500 yards from the smaller work, but partially concealed by the woods. Wheeler’s battery, which followed my brigade, came into position on the right and left of our road and opened on the enemy. My aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Long, of the Thirty-third New York, who had climbed a tree for observation upon our left, reporting to me that two regiments were moving down upon our left flank, Lieutenant-Colonel Alberger (Forty-ninth New York) was thrown back at an obtuse angle with the rest of my line to meet their intentions. With these dispositions we awaited the arrival and reconnaissance of General Smith.

The troops of my brigade maintained their position as above stated until 7 p. m. of the evening of the 7th, when they were withdrawn about one mile farther to the rear.

My casualties were:

Killed Wounded

The Forty-ninth Regiment and a company of the Thirty-third New York—the latter under Lieutenant Colonel Corning—were much exposed to the fire of the enemy’s rifle pits while we lay in position.

I regret to state that Lieutenant Swan, Company A, and Bugler Brown, Company D, Seventh Maine, were captured by the enemy on the 5th instant, being separated from their comrades by a swamp while skirmishing.

I desire to bring specially to the notice of the general the cheerful obedience and fortitude of the regiments of my brigade, lying, as they [307] did, for fifty-four hours under the close artillery fire of the enemy, two nights of it exposed to a violent storm, without an opportunity of exchanging a shot, except from light field pieces, and bearing, some regiments of it, thirty-six hours’ duty to the front as skirmishers, and willing for more. I think the general commanding this division may well be proud of them, as I am, and trust to the successful exhibition of their other soldierly qualities when we meet the enemy closer.

My staff, Adjutant-General Griffing, Captain Martindale, Surgeon Herrick, Captain Russell, and Lieutenants Long and Cameron, were actively engaged during the whole time in conveying necessary orders and posting regiments when required.

I have no distinction to make among the regiments of my brigade. The duties of some were necessarily more arduous than those of others, and led them into more exposed positions, but when all behaved alike with the greatest coolness, gallantry, obedience, and fortitude they are all equally deserving of my warmest gratitude and confidence, and I desire so to present them to the commanding general.

I am, sir, your most obedient servant,


Brigadier- General.

Capt. L. P. H. CURRIE,

Assistant Adjutant- General.

P. S.—Copy respectfully inclosed for the information of Colonel Taylor, Thirty-third New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Alberger, Forty-ninth New York; Colonel Mason, Seventh Maine, and Col. J. B. McKean, Seventy-seventh New York, who are requested to have above report read to their regiments as a mark of my sense of their soldiership.

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How to cite this article

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.306-307

web page Rickard, J (23 January 2007),

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