Today in History:

69 Series I Volume V- Serial 5 - West Virginia


battle of Williamsburg, and the field artillery of McCall's division of McDowell's corps (four batteries, 22 guns), which joined in June, a few days before the battle of Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862, making a grand total of field artillery at any time with the army on the Peninsula of sixty batteries, of 343 guns. With this large force, serving in six corps d'armee of eleven divisions and the artillery reserve, the only general and field officers were 1 brigadier-general, 4 colonel, 3 lieutenant-colonels, and 3 majors, a number obviously insufficient, and which impaired to a great degree (in consequence of the want of rank and official influence of the commanders of corps and divisional artillery) the efficiency of the arms. As this faulty organization can be suitably corrected only by legislative action, it is earnestly hoped that the attention of the proper authorities may be at an early day invited to it.

[16th.] When there were so many newly-organized volunteer field batteries, many of whom received their first and only instruction in the entrenched camps covering Washington during the three or four inclement months of the winter of 1861 - '62, there was, of course, much to be improved. Many of the volunteer batteries, however, evinced such zeal and intelligence and availed themselves so industriously of the instructions of the regular officer, their commander, and of the example of the regular battery, their associate, that they made rapid progress and attained a degree of proficiency highly creditable.

[17th.] Special detailed reports have been made and transmitted by me of the general artillery operations at the siege of Yorktown, and by their immediate commanders of the services of the field batteries at the battles of Williamsburg, Hanover Court-House, and those severely contested ones comprised in the operations in front of Richmond. To these several reports I respectfully refer the commanding general for details of services as creditable to the artillery of the United States as they are honorable to the gallant officers and brave and patient enlisted men, who with but few exceptions, struggling through difficulties, overcoming obstacles, and bearing themselves nobly on the field of battle, stood faithfully to their guns, performing their various duties with a steadiness, a devotion, and a gallantry worthy of all commendation. [18th.] For the artillery of the Army of the Potomac it is but simple justice to claim that, in contributing its aid to the other two arms as far as lay in its power, it did its whole duty faithfully and intelligently, and that on more than one occasion (the battle of Malvern particularly) it confessedly saved the army from serious disaster.

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


Brigadier-General, late Chief of Artillery Army of the Potomac.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAM, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 3. Report of Major Albert J. Myer, Chief Signal Officer, U. S. Army, of the signal service in the Army of the Potomac, from August 14, 1861, to March 23, 1862, and of signal detachments in other commands.


Washington, D. C., October 21, 1862.

GENERAL: The Chief Signal Officer, then serving at headquarters Department of Virginia, was, by Special Orders, Numbers 26, directed to.