Number 79. Petersburg Campaign Report of Captain Madison M. Cannon, Fortieth New York Infantry

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

No. 79. Report of Captain Madison M. Cannon, Fortieth New York Infantry.1

HDQRS. FORTIETH NEW YORK VETERAN VOLUNTEERS, August 7, 1864.

LIEUTENANT:*

FIFTH EPOCH.

At 8 p. m. of the 12th of June the command again moved to the left, crossing the Richmond and York River Railroad near Dispatch Station at 9 a. m. 13th, crossing the Chickahominy River at Long Bridge at 12 m., and arriving at the north bank of the James near Wilcox’s Landing at 6 p. m.

At 10 a. m. 14th crossed the James River on transports. As soon as disembarked the regiment was sent on picket. Relieved from picket at 10 a. m. 15th, and joined the brigade en route to Petersburg. Arrived at the first line of defenses near Petersburg at 11 p. m., and bivouacked for the night.

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* For portion of report (here omitted) covering from May 3 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.473.

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Formed line of battle in rear of the works at 6 a. m. 16th, and soon after moved to the left and occupied a rifle-pits in the front line, supporting a portion of the brigade which was making a charge. At 10 a. m. the entire brigade advanced, driving the enemy into his fort. We then formed a line at right angles to the line deserted by the enemy. At this time Colonel Egan, commanding brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel Warner were both wounded and the order to advance countermanded. Major E. F. Fletcher then assumed command of the regiment. This position we occupied until 5 p. m., when we were relieved by a portion in the works as support for an attacking column. This position we held until the morning of the 17th, when we moved out with the brigade to the advance line of works.

At daylight on the 18th advanced upon the enemy’s works and found them deserted. The command was then employed in turning the works until 1 p. m., when it advanced to the first line and took position to the left Hare house. At 4 p. m. massed with the brigade in rear of the Hare house. At 4.30 p. m. participated in an unsuccessful assault upon the enemy’s works. The regiment and the remainder of the brigade then took a position in the second line, where it remained until dark and then moved out to the front and erected a new line of breast-works. This position we occupied until 11 p. m. 20th moved with the brigade to the right to fill up a gap occasioned by the Second Brigade moving to the front.

At 3.30 a. m. on the 23rd the command formed in line of battle, with the remainder of the brigade, and at daylight advanced without any resistance to the position deserted by the Second Brigade on the 22d. At 5 p. m. retired with the brigade from this position and moved to the left and relieved a brigade of the First Division.

At 9 p. m. on the 24th moved with the brigade to the right and commenced to construct works in front of and near division headquarters, but the order was countermanded before the works were completed.

On the evening of the 26th moved out and occupied the works built on the 23d. This position we held until daylight of the 27th, when we returned to our former position in the second line, leaving two companies to hold the works. On the 28th the command lost from its effective strength 99 enlisted men by reason of expiration of term of service. At 1 p. m. on the 29th moved out with the brigade to the front line and established temporary camp behind the works.

On the 7th of July the regiment was formed into a battalion of six companies, and Major E. F. Fletcher and three line officers were mustered out, having been rendered supernumerary. I was then ordered by General Birney to assume command of the battalion.

On the night of the 11th destroyed the works in my front, and at 3.30 a. m. of the 12th withdrew with the brigade about two miles to the rear and massed near the Jerusalem plank road, where we remained until the morning of the 13th, when we moved to the rear of the Fifth Corps and went into camp. We occupied this camp, doing occasional fatigue duty near the front, until 5 p. m. of the 26th, when the regiment

moved with the brigade and marched rapidly to the James River, crossing on pontoons at 3.30 a. m. on the 27th, at a point called Deep Bottom. On arriving on the north bank of the river the regiment was detailed for picket, and advanced fat enough to cover the division, with the right resting on the river. At 3 p. m. the regiment was withdrawn from the picket-line and rejoined the brigade. At 5 p. m. was again placed on picket, prolonging the brigade line to the river. At 9 a. m. assembled the command and was assigned a position to guard the right flank of the brigade. This position it occupied until 7 p. m., when we recrossed the river and with the brigade move back to the works in front of Petersburg, arriving and massing in rear of the Eighteenth Corps at 4 a. m. 29th. This position we occupied under cover of the woods until dark, when we moved with the brigade to the front, three companies taking position in the front line of works, the remainder of the command having been detailed for picket. This position we occupied until the night of July 30, when the command was relieved by a portion of the Tenth Corps and it returned to its former camp, arriving at 11 p. m.

The loss during this time was 5 officers and 46 men.

The following is a tabulated statement of the losses during the campaign: Killed, 3 officers, 59 men; wounded, 15 officers, 211 men; missing, 3 officers, 79 men; aggregate, 370.

In closing this report I am unable to particularize individuals for distinguished service without doing injustice to others, where all did their duty so well.

Respectfully submitted.

M. M. CANNON,

Captain, Commanding Battalion.

[Lieutenant JAMES H. LOCKWOOD.

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 393-395

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