Official Records of the Rebellion

No 1: Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, U. S. Army, commanding Army of the Potomac, dated August 4 1863


Early in the morning of the 4th, upon the enemy’s abandoning his lines at Yorktown, I ordered all the available cavalry force, with four batteries of horse artillery, under Brigadier-General Stoneman, chief of cavalry, in immediate pursuit, by the Yorktown and Williamsburg road, with orders to harass the enemy’s rear aid try to cut off such of his forces as had taken the Lee’s Mill and Williamsburg road.

General Heintzelman was directed to send Hooker’s division forward on the Yorktown and Williamsburg road to support General Stoneman, and Smith was ordered to proceed with his division on the Lee’s Mill and Williamsburg road for the same purpose. Afterward the divisions of Generals Kearny, Couch, and Casey were put en route, the first on the Yorktown road and the others on the Lee’s Mill road. These roads unite about a quarter of a mile south of Fort Magruder, and are connected by cross roads at several points between Yorktown and Williamsburg. After these directions had been given General Sumner (the officer second in rank in the Army of the Potomac) was ordered to proceed to the front and take immediate charge of operations until my arrival.

General Stoneman moved forward promptly with his command, consisting of four batteries of horse artillery, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hays, the First and Sixth United States Cavalry, the Third Pennsylvania, and Eighth Illinois, and Barker’s squadron, meeting with but little opposition until he arrived in front of the enemy’s works about 2 miles east of Williamsburg.

At a point about 8 miles from Yorktown, in accordance with my instructions, he detached General Emory, with Benson’s battery, the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry (Colonel Averell), and Barker’s squadron to gain the Lee’s Mill road, and endeavor, with the assistance of General Smith, to cut off the portion of the enemy’s rear guard which had taken that route. General Emory had some sharp skirmishes with a regiment of cavalry and a battery under General Stuart, and drove them in the direction of Lee’s Mill.

General Smith, having met with obstructions in his front, had transferred his column by a cross road to the Yorktown and Williamsburg road, so that General Emory, finding no force to co-operate with him, was unable to cut off the rear guard, and they succeeded in escaping by a circuitous route along the bank of the James River.

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1 Peninsular Campaign: Reports, p.19

web page Rickard, J (20 June 2006)