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CAPTS. ROOT & WARFORD SECURING. PRISONERS. 91 cried out, “Don't fire, you are shooting your own men.” At this Captain R. ordered them to advance and surrender; and they were, much to their surprise and chagrin, made prisoners. One of the officers attempted to escape, but the Captain made after him and compelled him to deliver up his sword. Other prisoners were afterwards taken, and when the number was swelled to forty, Captain R, concluding that he had his hands full, left the woods, and marched them off to the redoubt with his Company of twenty-seven men.
Not knowing that the wavering in the line was occasioned by the attack of the enemy's storming column, Captain Warford attempted to rally it instead of ordering it to retreat. While doing so, he was informed that some stragglers wished to give themselves up, but seeing nothing of them, started back to a small support in the rear. On the way, an officer approached him and said, “We are falling back,” mistaking him for a fellow rebel. The Captain immediately captured him. The enemy had now been routed, and numerous stragglers ran into the woods, and were taken by the Captain's men. Frequent shots were exchanged, and several of Cos. E and H wounded. He was himself repeatedly shot at, but escaped without a scratch.
When the enemy's column advanced into the woods, it passed through Captain Drake's Company (H), which was in the centre of the skirmish line, and captured several of his men. After it had gone by, a body of fifty stragglers returned and suddenly
attacked him in the rear. Being thus surrounded on all sides he, together with several more of his men, were compelled to surrender. On being ordered to give up his sword to a non-commissioned officer, he refused, but presented it to a rebel Lieutenant, who soon after came up. He and twenty of his men were hurried off to Williamsburg, and a few days lạter taken to Richmond. After being confined there and at Salsbury, N. C., several months, he was exchanged and rejoined the Regiment in Maryland.
Capt. Cole's Company took thirty-seven prisoners, who were dispatched to headquarters, under charge of Lieut. Brett. Wm. Moran (private), not satisfied with halting and compelling them to deliver up their arms, made the prisoners get down on their knees and surrender unconditionally.” “ Down on your knays, d—-n you,” was the order which he administered to every one he found. He and others of the Company were afterwards complimented in a Special Order for their conduct on this occasion.
Separated, and each one fighting on their own hook,” it was marvellous that all of these four Com. panies were not captured by the enemy. But owing to the heavy rain which prevailed, and thick underbrush concealing their strength and movements, they not only effected their escape, but brought away nearly as many prisoners as they numbered men. This constituted a fitting sequel to the operations of the other portion of the Regiment.
Thus terminated the Battle of Williamsburg, in
which the Thirty-third captured alone one hundred and fifty prisoners, and won the plaudits of the whole army for its gallant charge. During the following night the enemy evacuated the city, and its surrounding works, retreating back to the Chickahominy. The Thirty-third slept on their arms, and on the following day encamped near York River.
On the evening of the 7th, Gen. McClellan rode into camp on his favorite bay charger, and the Regiment being drawn up in line, he addressed them as follows: OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS OF THE THIRTY-THIRD :
“I have come to thank you in person for gallant conduct on the field of battle on the 5th instant. I will say to you what I have said to other Regiments engaged with you. All did well—did all I could expect. But you did more ; you behaved like Veterans. You are Veterans— Veterans of a hundred battles could not have done better! Those on your left fought well; but you won the day! You were at the right point, did the right thing, and at the right time. You shall have Williamsburg inscribed on your Banner."
This brief speech from the Commanding General occasioned the wildest enthusiasm among the men, and as “Little Mac” rode away, followed by his Staff, cheer after cheer rent the air. During the same evening a beautiful roan horse was presented to Adj. Sutton by the Regiment.
Williamsburg.- Condition of the Roads.— Pamunkey River-
Contrabands.- Arrival of General Franklin.
The retreat of the enemy left Williamsburg in our possession. No place in the Old Dominion is fraught with more historic interest than this city, it having been the first incorporated town in the State; the Capital until 1769, and the seat of the Royal Government prior to the revolution of 1776. It is now the Capital of James City County, situated midway between the James and York Rivers, sixty miles east of Richmond and sixty-eight north-west of Norfolk. Among other public buildings is the Insane Retreat, which in years past has been one of the most popular institutions of the kind in the country. The College of William and Mary, founded here in the time of King William, is, next to Harvard, the oldest literary institution in the United States, having been projected during the year 1693. King William gave it an endowment of twenty thousand dollars and twenty thousand acres of land, together with a revenue of a penny a pound on tobacco exported from Virginia and Maryland. Other endowments were afterwards added. The College buildings, churches, and many private dwellings were used as hospitals for the confederate wounded.