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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The 16th New York at the Battle of Eltham, Part II

Excerpted from,
-From Bull Run To Chancellorsville,The Story of the Sixteenth New York Infantry together with Personal Reminiscences By Newton Martin Curtis, LL.D. Brevet Major-General U. S. Vols.
G.P. Putnams Sons, New York & London

 I quote from letters, and from official reports of the action  at West Point, Virginia: —
"Headquarters Sixteenth New York, Brick House Point,
"York River, Virginia, May 8, 1862.

"General: —
"I have the honor to report the part taken by the regiment  under my command, in the engagement of yesterday.
"About 9 o'clock A.M. yesterday, I received orders from Brigadier-General Slocum to report with five companies, (C, D, E, H, and I), to General Franklin on the right of the line. Companies A, B, F, G, and K were on picket, A, B, and K having been posted the night before, and F and G having reported to the general officer of the day. Colonel Bartlett, Twenty-seventh New York, at 3 o'clock a.m., and been sent to relieve a portion of the advance guard from the Twenty-seventh New York, at our centre and left. While the battalion under my command was marching to the front, I was ordered by General Slocum to support Captain Platt's battery* which was advancing near me, and to report to General Newton. Captain Platt took a position just beyond a small stream which empties into the York River on our left, and on the right of the road which leads inland from the point at which the division landed. I placed my battalion in column, on the left flank of the battery and a little in rear, but received orders from yourself to move to the left of the road within supporting distance, where I would be hidden from the enemy by the woods, in case he made his appearance. I subsequently received orders through an officer of your staff, to recross the stream and take position farther to the rear. As the execution of this order left Captain Platt without support, he fell back some distance. A short time afterwards, orders were received through Captain Scofield of your staff for the infantry to recross the stream, when I took position in column, on the right of the road and on the left flank of Hexamer's battery, which had come and taken the position previously occupied by Captain Platt. I remained in this position until about 5 o'clock p.m., two hours after the artillery fire ceased, when I was ordered by yourself to return to camp. The battalion was at no time under fire; but companies F and G were engaged early in the day as skirmishers, while on duty at the outposts, and met with some losses. As these companies were at the time detached from the regiment I inclose the reports of the company commanders. I have every reason to believe that the companies behaved well, and only fell back, when obliged to do so by greatly superior forces, from want of support and on account of the imminent danger of being outflanked and surrounded.
"Companies A, B, and K, upon being relieved as pickets, returned to camp for food, and then started to rejoin their regiment, but on the way were ordered by Colonel Bartlett, commanding General Slocum's brigade, to support Captain Wilson's battery, F, First New York Artillery. They were not engaged and received orders to return to camp about 5 o'clock p.m. "I have the honor of inclosing a list of killed, wounded and missing. The wounded were invariably robbed and in nearly every case were stripped of their jackets.
"I am. General, very respectfully,
"Your obedient servant,

"Joseph Howland
 "Colonel Sixteenth New York.
 "Brigadier-General John Newton."

Colonel Joseph Howland

*Battery D, Second United States Artillery.

-To Be Continued-

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