Number 99. Petersburg Campaign Report of Colonel John C. Tidball, Fourth New York Heavy Artillery, commanding Artillery Brigade, of operations June 12-July 1

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

Numbers 99. Report of Colonel John C. Tidball, Fourth New York Heavy Artillery, commanding Artillery Brigade, of operations June 12-July 1.1

IN FRONT OF PETERSBURG, VA., July 1, 1864.*

June 12, orders received to withdraw at dark. Dwight was already in position with Dow; McKnight and Clark assigned to Gibbon, Roder and Burton to Barlow, Gilliss and Dwight to Birney. Four mortars withdrew at 4 p. m. The caissons of all the batteries moved back to the Livesay house. At 8.30 the reserve batteries were withdrawn carefully to the same point, where the Fourth New York Artillery and train were already. The column then started forward for Long Bridge, in charge of Major Hazard. Arrived at daylight of June 13, moved in rear of the corps, and arrived at James River by night.

June 14, the corps commenced crossing the river, the divisions taking care of their own batteries. Dwight’s the only battery that crossed this day.

June 15, last of infantry across by 7 a. m. and all the batteries crossed during the day. The corps moved out at 10 a. m. with the six batteries. The last of the batteries over by 12 at night, and two battalions of the Fourth New York Artillery. The batteries parked one mile from the river.

June 16, at 10.15 the last caisson of the ammunition train across and moved forward. The whole work of embarking and disembarking the artillery and trains of the corps was done by the Fourth New York Artillery, which brought up the rear. The batteries at daylight moved forward under charge of Major Hazard and arrived in front of Petersburg at 5 p. m. The division batteries were on the line of the division

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*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 3 to June 11, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 507.

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lines. Edgell was placed on Barlow’s line, Dow and Ames on right and left of Petersburg road, Ricketts in rear of left of the corps and of the enemy’s works, others in reserve. They assisted in the attack, and kept up a vigorous and effective fire until 9 p. m. At 12 m. Brown was ordered out to relieve Dow, who came in reserve.

June 17, the positions of the batteries were as follows: Gibbon’s line, McKnight and Clark; Birney’s line, Gilliss, one section of Edgell, Sleeper and Burton in rear; Barlow’s line, Roder, Dwight, one section of Edgell in rear of Captain Ricketts; in park, Brown and Ames. An assault to be made by the Ninth Corps at 2 p. m. Dwight silenced a battery in his front as often as it opened. All other batteries opened as occasion required. At 3 p. m. the mortars, one section placed on Barlow’s extreme left, opened with great effect. Captain Jones was killed while watching the effect of his fire, and the command devolved on Lieutenant Moore until 5 p. m., when Captain Wood was assigned to the command and opened heavily, and an assault [was] made by the Ninth Corps at 10, during which two shells silenced a battery which was playing on the charging troops. At dark 600 men of the Fourth New York Artillery were ordered to report to General Birney for duty, under command of Major Williams-Companies A, B, G, H, and F.

June 18, at 1 a. m. came the order that an assault would be made at 4 a. m. by the Third Division and that General Birney was in command of the corps. At daylight the remainder of the Fourth New York Artillery were marched out and put in the works in rear of Birney’s center. At 4 a. m. the batteries opened along the whole line and the divisions moved forward-the Third Battalion, Fourth New York Artillery, in Pierce’s brigade. The works of the enemy were taken with little resistance until the crest was reached, where their force was developed. A charge forced them back still farther, and our men took up this line; in the other division they advance equally and all the artillery was rendered useless. A position was immediately selected at the turn of the Petersburg road, near the Hare house, and a party put to work to prepare it for a battery, but were driven away by heavy fire. The Fourth New York Artillery was advanced so as to form a third line. Captains Ricketts, Dows, and Ames were ordered up and halted on the road in rear of the line. Captain Ricketts was placed on a hill near

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house and opened fire on the city, getting no reply. After some time, at 12 m., another assault was ordered. Captain Dow was instructed to move into position as soon as the attack enabled him to do so. Captains Sleeper and Burton were placed in Barlow’s rear line. As the assault was ordered these batteries were ordered to open. Ricketts and Dow did so. Dow lost 10 men by musketry fire. At 5 p. m. another attack without result. The mortars put in position (four) at the Hare house at the turn of the road. At dark Roder advanced on Barlow’s rear line. Captain Dow was withdrawn and work commenced for Brown in his position and Ames in the garden on the left of the house, our infantry line put in the same place along the crest. In the afternoon Clark moved forward to the second line, on the right of the Fourth New York Artillery, and Edgell in the evening of Ames’ left.

June 19, position as follows: Gibbon’s line-front, Clark, rear, McKnight; Mott’s line-front, Brown, Ames, and Edgell, rear, Ricketts, Gilliss, Dow; Barlow’s line-front, Roder, Sleeper, Fourth New York Artillery; on right of Gibbon’s second line, Sleeper. Sleeper moved forward to the left of Edgell and in front. No further changes during the day.

June 20, two more mortars put in position, and one section of Ricketts’ on Ames’ left ordered to shell the town and bridges; did so from rifled batteries slowly. Ordered to open along the whole line; did so slowly and with great effect from the mortars. At 1 p. m. orders to withdraw, when relieved by the Sixth and Ninth Corps; afterward modified, the withdrawal to be after dark. Batteries, &c., ordered to assemble near headquarters. Did so during the night except McKnight’s and Clark’s, which went with Second Division.

June 21, marched at 8 a. m. to the left and rear. Burton and Roder with Barlow, McKnight and Clark with Gibbon, Dwight and Gilliss with Mott. The other batteries, regiment, and trains moved in rear of the column. Command moved half a mile south of the junction with the plank road, then back to the plank road and took position. Gibbon on Warren’s left, and the left of and perpendicular to the plank road; Clark in position by the road; Mott on Gilliss’ left; Barlow on his left. No position for batteries except on Gibbon’s line. Barlow closed in to the right, and the trains and artillery were moved back and up the plank road in the neighborhood of the Jones house. About dark an attack was made by cavalry in the rear of the left flank. The Fourth New York Artillery and Brown’s battery were placed in position at the forks of the road to guard the rear. McKnight’s battery was placed in position a quarter of a mile to the left of Clark’s, on Gibbon’s line.

June 22, the Fourth New York and [Brown’s] battery returned to camp. At 12 m. details of the Fourth sent to strengthen Clark and McKnight and make gabions. At 3 p. m. notified of the breaking of Barlow’s division. Roder’s battery and the Fourth New York Artillery immediately sent to take position in the open field, where the first line was; arrived in time to form a rallying party for the First Division. News at this time received of the capture of McKnight’s guns. Five batteries placed in position on the line of the plank road. Gilliss and Dwight moved up on part of Mott’s new (retired) line. Clark retired one section when the troops broke, but retained the other in position, firing vigorously and receiving a very hot fire from four of the enemy’s batteries; well protected by his works and loss small. Troops reformed at dusk. Burton’s battery moved up to take position on the right of the road in line with Clark. Works commenced by Captain Burton at 9 p. m. Dow relieved Clark, and Ricketts moved up preparatory to going in on the right of Dow. A company of engineers (regular) built strong works for these two batteries.

June 23, the Second Corps did not change position. The Fourth New York Artillery reported to Gibbon and was put on the front line to the left of the plank road. The enemy opened on a brigade of the Fifth Corps that was filing in rear of our batteries, which opened and silenced them. Roder continued on Barlow’s line, and Dwight [and] Gilliss with Mott. At dark Gibbon’s division was relieved by the Fifth Corps on the front line, and formed a second. The Fourth New York Artillery reported back.

June 24, General Gibbon moved down to the Williams house to support the Fifth Corps, taking Ames and Sleeper, who were assigned to him. At dark Dow, Ricketts, and Burton were relieved by Fifth Corps batteries and parked in reserve near the Jones house.

June 25, for three days Gilliss and Dwight have hauled out at night, going into position at daylight; no firing.

June 26, the First and Second Battalions, Fourth New York Artillery ordered to report to First and Second Brigades, Third Division; batteries, no change.

June 27, at night Captains Clark and Edgell reported to General Mott to relieve Lieutenants Gilliss and Roder, and Captain Brown to General Barlow to relieve Lieutenant Roder. The relieved batteries camped near the Jones house.

June 28, no change.

June 29, Third New Jersey Battery reported six light 12-pounders. Dow reported to General Gibbon to take position on the left.

June 30, guns Third New Jersey Battery ordered to report to General Barlow. Dow relieved and returned to camp.

JNumbers C. TIDBALL,

Colonel Fourth New York Artillery, Commanding Brigade.

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 422-425

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