Today in History:

69 Series I Volume XI-III Serial 14 - Peninsular Campaign Part III


Young's Mill, April 5, 1862-6 a.m.

Major-General McCLELLAN,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

SIR: The head of Smith's column is now in motion toward Warwick Court-House. From the best information I can obtain there is a large force, with three guns in position and strong breastworks, about 6 miles from here, on the direct road to the Half-way House, at a place called Lee's Mill. It is my opinion that we shall encounter very serious resistance. If so, we shall not be able to reach the Half-way House on the Yorktown and Williamsburg road to-day. As far as I can learn the best way to send me re-enforcements will be to take the road to the left from the road to Yorktown near Dr. Powers' house.

I respectfully suggest that a strong reserve force be within my reach.

General Smith states that he has no reserve ammunition for his artillery.

Our wagons did not arrive last night, and we shall be obliged to halt at Warwick Court-House for the infantry reserve ammunition to come up.

It is a heavy march to the Half-way House even without opposition, and at Warwick Court-House our train would be liable to capture. I shall leave a regiment and a portion of a battery there; but I would respectfully suggest that at least a brigade be ordered forward to that point from Newport News or some other force below.

As we have no reserve artillery ammunition, I would respectfully suggest that two batteries of the reserve artillery be sent forward to me without delay.

I shall send this by an officer, in order that you may send work back to me immediately, and also that he may bring me information as to the roads.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Corps.

P. S.-7.15 a.m. The roads are very bad ahead. Shall I push on to Half-way House if artillery cannot get along fast enough? I suppose not, of course.

In haste,


One mile beyond Warwick Court-House, April 5, 1862-11 a.m.

Brigadier General R. B. MARCY,

Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

SIR: The last of General Smith's division has just closed up at Warwick Court-House, the First Brigade being in line of battle at this point. Two contrabands report that the enemy is in very great strength just in front of us, with the means of overflowing the ground in front of his strongest battery, which is at a distance estimated by them between 1 1/2 and 3 miles. I am trying to get information, but as yet have nothing except vague conjecture to send, nor can I ascertain much about the roads between this and your headquarters. I have, however, found a mulatto, who professes to know the road and will go over as a guide. I will send another dispatch in a very short time by another road, as I fear there may be great uncertainly about this reaching you.