Number 72. Petersburg Campaign Report of Colonel Thomas A. Smyth, First Delaware Infantry, commanding Third Brigade

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

No. 72. Report of Colonel Thomas A. Smyth, First Delaware Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.1

HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, SECOND DIV., 2nd ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, August 29, 1864.

CAPTAIN: *

FIFTH EPOCH.

The brigade marched all day June 13 and encamped near Wilcox’s Landing about dark. June 14, we crossed James River on transports and encamped at Wind-Mill Point. At 10.30 a. m. June 15 the brigade marched toward Petersburg and about 10 p. m. relieved the troops of the Eighteenth Army Corps. Skirmishing during the 16th. On June 17 I was ordered to report with my command to General Barlow. On June 18 I took position at daylight, and at 4 a. m. advanced upon the enemy’s position and discovered that he had fallen back about half a mile. During the day the brigade charged twice. After skirmishing during the 19th and 20th command was relieved and marched to the left about three miles and encamped. At 8 a. m. June 21 the brigade marched and took position on the left of Jerusalem plank road, where we found the enemy to be intrenched; in this position we threw up earth-works. At 3 p. m. June 22 the enemy attacked the troops to our left, turned the flank of the first line, and captured a battery and many prisoners. On the 23rd the enemy vacated the line of works they had captured. On June 24 my command moved to the rear and relieved some of the Fifth Army Corps. We remained in this position until

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* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 17 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.449.

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June 27, when the brigade was deployed to picket the rear of the army, remaining on picket until June 29, when I was ordered to move to the entrenchments of the Sixth Corps.

On July 2 the command moved to the right, and on the 11th commenced tearing down the breast-works in front of them. On July 12 my brigade was on picket and continued on that duty until the morning of July 15, when they were relieved by troops of the Fifth Corps and went into camp near the Southall house. In the evening of the 15th the command marched to Hare’s house and commenced to tear down the old rebel works in that vicinity, returning to camp on the morning of the 16th. The brigade remained in camp until July 21, when they were set to work making a covered way in rear of the Fifth Corps entrenchments. On July 22 the brigade moved into the entrenchments previously occupied by Ferrero’s division of colonel troops, remaining in these works until July 26, when at 3.30 p. m. the command was massed near corps headquarters, and at 4.25 moved off toward the Appomattox, which river we crossed on pontoons during the night. At daylight on the 27th the brigade crossed the James River and were soon engaged skirmishing with the enemy. On July 28 my command marched to support cavalry, and at dark took up a new position and intrenched. During the night of the 29th we marched back to the vicinity of Petersburg and at daylight were massed in rear of the Fifth Corps. After the explosion of the mine and the failure of the assault on the enemy’s works the command returned to camp near the Southall house.

The loss of the brigade during the campaign, including the battle of the Wilderness, when Colonel Carroll was in command, is as follows: Commissioned officers – killed, 22; wounded, 72; missing, 9. Enlisted men – killed, 254; wounded, 1,320; missing, 278. Total number of casualties: Commissioned officers, 103; enlisted men, 1,852; aggregate, 1,955.

The conduct of both officers and men during the campaign has been in every respect unexceptionable.

It is a source of extreme gratification to me to be able to recommend to the major-general commanding the gentleman of my staff for the prompt and efficient manner in which they executed my orders. Their gallantry on the field of battle has seldom been surpassed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOS. A. SMYTH,

Colonel, Commanding Third Brig., Second Div., Second Army Corps.

Captain A. H. EMBLER,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 382-383

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