Friday, April 16, 2010

Hamper The Enemy

The Battle of Dam No 1 was fought on April 16th 1862 as part of the larger Peninsula Campaign.

A part of Union Major General George B McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign probed the defensive line at Dam No 1 on the Warwick River in Virginia. General Winfield Scot Hancock had reported a potential weak point there on April 6th 1862. The Confederate had been strengthen their position there and McClellan was concerned they would impede his placing siege batteries. McClellan ordered Brigadier General William F “Baldy” Smith to “hamper the enemy” so that they couldn’t complete their defensive works.

At 8am April 16th 1862 there was an artillery bombardment, after which Brigadier General William T H Brooks sent skirmishers from the Vermont Brigade forward to fire on the Confederates. Ordered to cross the river if it appeared the Confederate forces were withdrawing, at 3pm four companies of the 3rd Vermont Infantry went across the dam. Confederate Colonel Thomas Cobb of the Georgia Legion attacked the Vermonters. It was during this action that drummer Julian A Scott would be awarded the Medal of Honor for making several trips across the creek with wounded while under fire. Without any reinforcements the Union troops fell back across the dam. Smith ordered the 6th Vermont at about 5pm to attack downstream from the dam while the 4th Vermont made an action on the dam. This maneuver failed when the Vermonters came under heavy fire from the Confederates. Some of the Vermont wounded fell into the pond behind the dam and were drowned.

The Union lost 35 men dead and 121 wounded at Dam No 1, gaining nothing. The Confederates saw losses of about 70 men in the action.

Another web site about this subject that is worth a look
The Alexander Guards

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