Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion

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No.2. Reports of Brig. Army, Chief Engineerof operations from May 23, 1861, to August 15, 1862.

[p.116: 25th JUNE (BATTLE OF OAK GROVE)]

In order, as I understood it, to drive back the enemy’s pickets and to throw forward our own, General Hooker was ordered on the 25th to push his division forward through the woods to the clearing three-fourths of a mile beyond his lines, and between the Williamsburg road and the railroad. Hearing the firing in the afternoon I went to that locality and pushed forward on the Williamsburg road to the further edge of the woods (then held by our troops) with a hope of getting some better knowledge of the ground and works of the enemy. An opening of 1,200 or 1,500 yards extended before me, and I saw guns in position and tents partially hid by a depression in the ground, but no appearance of works. In returning, my horse was struck by a shell and disabled.

In view of an advance to drive the enemy from the wheat field on our right it was decided as a preliminary to construct an epaulement for putting our guns on a commanding point on the edge of the field and near our picket lines. Colonel Alexander with, a large detail broke ground at dark on the night of the 26th within musket range of the enemy’s pickets, and succeeded by morning in obtaining cover without loss. The enemy did not interfere in any manner with the execution of this work, having probably other designs.

It had been known some days previous to this that Jackson’s command had reached Frederick’s Hall Station on its way from the Shenandoah, and there was presumptive evidence that an attack on our right wing was meditated by the concentrated forces of the enemy, and that, [p.117] too, on the 27th. it was understood by me to be the intention of the commanding general to concentrate our own forces either on one side or other of the Chickahominy, and, so far as I could infer from a conversation in which no positive decision was announced on his part, the plan to which preference was given was, after the enemy’s plans should be sufficiently developed, to withdraw from the left bank of the Chickahominy, concentrate on the right bank, and attack Richmond while the enemy was massed on the other side. Indeed, the work thrown up on the night of the 26th was understood to be a preparation for an attack to be made on the morning of the 27th.

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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.116-117

web page Rickard, J (20 June 2006)

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