Number 77. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Brigadier General Gershom Mott, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations June 22 and July 26-30

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

No. 77. Reports of Brigadier General Gershom Mott, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations June 22 and July 26-30.1

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, SECOND CORPS, June 24, 1864.

COLONEL: In accordance with circular from headquarters Army of the Potomac, I have the honor to report that the cause of the falling back and losing some prisoners by two brigades of this division was occasioned by the giving way of the troops of the First and Second Divisions, respectively, on my left and right, thereby allowing the enemy to get on both flanks and rear. My sharpshooters being well out kept them from advancing on my immediate front. The first intimation of an attack was the troops of the First Division coming in on the left flank en masse, while the Third Brigade was digging rifle-pits, which was so unexpected that the brigade, instead of changing front and checking the enemy, joined in the retreat and fell back to the second line of rifle-pits, the First Brigade following, but the right of it not giving way until the troops of the Second Division, which connected on the right, had fallen back and the enemy had turned the right flank.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. MOTT,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding Division.

Lieutenant Colonel F. A. WALKER,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Corps.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, SECOND ARMY CORPS, October 8, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report the following operations of this division from the 26th to the 30th of July, 1864, in what is called the first Deep Bottom affair:

In accordance with orders from headquarters Second Army Corps, I broke camp at 4 p. m. of the 26th near the Deserted House, and marched about four miles in the direction of City Point. Then turned to the

left, taking the road leading to Point of Rocks, and crossed the Appomattox on a pontoon bridge at 11 o’clock, continuing the march toward Jones’ Neck, on the James River, where we arrived at 2.30 a. m. on the 27th, and massed, halting for about an hour, when we crossed the James River on a pontoon bridge at daylight. Soon after crossing I received orders to take up position on the right of the First Division, throwing out skirmishers and flankers. The Ninety-ninth and One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers were deployed as skirmishers, and the Fortieth New York Volunteers as flankers, to extend the line to the river. I immediately ordered the skirmishers to advance and feel the woods in the front occupied by the enemy, keeping connection with the pickets of the First Division. This line was soon hotly engaged, and was re-enforced by the Seventy-third New York Volunteers and two regiments sent to the large house on the right to hold the position until the arrival of General Sheridan with his cavalry. The Third Brigade deployed, and connecting with the line of the First Division, the Second massed in the rear. The enemy was soon driven back on my left, with a loss of 4 guns, and a rebel battery which opened on my immediate front was soon silenced by my artillery and disappeared through the woods. Orders were now received to advance the line, and immediately the command was moved forward through a large cornfield, situated between the woods we had been occupying and the Malvern Hill road, from which the skirmishers had driven the enemy. Upon arriving at this road orders were received to advance the line of the First Division. The Second Brigade, under Colonel D. Chaplin, First Maine Heavy Artillery, was accordingly sent and went into line on the right, the Third Brigade, Colonel McAllister, was massed in the rear and held as a reserve, the First Brigade, Brigadier-General De Trobriand, forming a strong picket-line from the advance skirmishers to the river. The troops remained in this position until about 3 p. m., when the line was advanced to the New Market road. During the advance of the line the enemy offered very little resistance. At 6.30 orders were received to take up a new line, the left resting on the New Market and Malvern Hill road near the Old Pottery, and running parallel to a road connecting the right flank of the corps, remaining in this position all night.

On the 28th the command was under arms before daylight, and remained in the position taken up the evening previous until about 4.30 p. m., at which time orders were received from the major-general commanding the corps to take up the line of works that were captured from the enemy on the 27th and reserve them, which movement was immediately executed by the Second and Third Brigades, and the work commanded. At 7.30 p. m. I received orders to suspend the work, and as soon as it was dark and the pontoon bridge brushed to proceed to near Petersburg, reporting to the major-general commanding the Eighteenth Army Corps. The bridge being ready at 9 p. m., I recrossed the James River and continued the march to the Appomattox, crossing on the bridge near the Point of Rocks. At this place I was met by an aide-de-camp of Major-General Ord, who conducted me to a point near and in rear of the headquarters of the Eighteenth Corps and Turner’s division, of the Tenth Corps, in the rifle-pits, the right resting on the Appomattox River, the left connecting with the Ninth Army Corps.

July 30, remained in this position during the day, making frequent demonstrations in the morning on the enemy’s line by opening fire with artillery and infantry along my whole front, which was immediately replied to by the enemy, showing that they occupied the work opposite in force. My division was relieved during the evening, and returned to the camp which we left on the 26th instant.

The officers and men behaved well, and particular mention is made of the conduct of the Ninety-ninth and One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Regiments, under the command of Colonel Biles, Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, for their conduct while advancing as skirmishers on the 27th.

My casualties were 12 enlisted men killed, 5 commissioned officers and 47 enlisted men wounded, and 1 commissioned officer and 7 enlisted men missing, making an aggregate of 72. A nominal list has been forwarded.

I inclose brigade commanders’ reports.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. MOTT,

Major-General by Brevet.

Major H. H. BINGHAM,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Army Corps.

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 388-390

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