Wednesday, May 7, 1862
On Monday, May 5, while General Bull Sumner led five divisions of infantry in the Battle of Williamsburg, the Twentieth Massachusetts under General John Sedgwick was ordered to block off the retreat of the Confederates about twenty-five miles northwest of Yorktown at West Point. The Twentieth began their eight-mile march to Yorktown on the 5th but heavy rains delayed their arrival at Yorktown until the early hours of Tuesday, May 6th. On the afternoon of the 6th the Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts Regiments boarded the steamer C. Vanderbilt and began their voyage up the Pamunkey River. Arriving on the morning of May 7, the Twentieth deployed immediately after disembarking the steamer, as they met with enemy fire on the open fields of Eltham's Landing near West Point.1
1George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 87-88. Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 120-21.