Number 101. Petersburg Campaign Report of Captain Edwin B. Dow, Sixth Maine Battery

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

Numbers 101. Report of Captain Edwin B. Dow, Sixth Maine Battery.1

HDQRS. SIXTH MAINE BATTY., ARTY. Brigadier, 2nd CORPS, August 7, 1864.*

FIFTH EPOCH.

Crossed Chickahominy River at Long Bridge the afternoon of the 13th [June], and marched to Wilcox’s Landing on the James River. Remained in camp 14th. Crossed the James River 6 p. m. 15th, and marched some three miles toward Petersburg, and bivouacked for the night. Resumed march at daylight 16th, and arrived at the works in front of Petersburg at 5 p. m. Was immediately ordered to take position on the right of the road leading to the Hare house to cover the advance of Birney’s division down the road. Opened fire at 6.30 p. m. and advanced in rear of the infantry, keeping up a spirited fire on the enemy’s line and compelling a battery of the enemy’s stationed at the Hare house to retire; expended 395 rounds of ammunition. Was relieved by Brown’s battery (B, First Rhode Island) at 3 a. m. At daylight 18th moved to position to the left of the Hare house, and within 200 yards of the rebel line of works, supported by the Second Division. Opened a heavy fire on the enemy’s line, dismounting two guns he had in position, and sweeping the intervening space with canister for the charge of Birney’s division. At about 5 p. m. the charge was attempted, but failed, the charging column not getting fifty yards in front of my guns. I lost my first sergeant and 1 man killed and 8 wounded, and expended 420 rounds of ammunition. My first sergeant, James A. Pray, had been commissioned a second lieutenant, vice Second Lieutenant Samuel Thurston, promoted to first lieutenant, but had not been able to get mustered on account of Lieutenant Thurston’s absence in hospital, wounded. I wish to record the noble, self-sacrificing spirit displayed by Sergeant Pray, and to hope, if it be possible, that his muster may yet be made, so that he can appear on the records as a commissioned officer. At 9 p. m. we were relieved, and parked near the fortifications. Remained in park 19th and 20th. 21st, were ordered to the rear, and subsequently marched to the Williams house. At night returned and bivouacked near Jones’ house, on the old Jerusalem road. Afternoon of the 22nd threw up works south of the road, and at dark relieved Clark’s battery (B, First New Jersey), on General Gibbon’s line, covering the old Jerusalem road. In position 23rd and 24th, with occasional firing. At 9 p. m. 24th was relieved by Bigelow’s (Ninth Massachusetts) battery, Fifth Corps, and camped near General Hancock’s headquarters. Lay in camp till the 29th, when we were ordered into position on the left of the Williams house, supported by the headquarters guards, Collis’ Zouaves. Was relieved evening of the 30th by the Twenty-seventh New York Battery, Ferrero’s division, and returned to old camp, where we remained until the night of July 4, when we relieved Lieutenant Gilliss’ battery (C and I, Fifth U. S. Artillery) on the line left of the old Jerusalem road, supported by Birney’s division. Was relieved the night of the 6th by Lieutenant Gilliss, and returned to camp. Remained in camp until the night of the 11th, when we moved to the left and massed near the Williams house till morning of the 13th; then moved to field near the Southall house, where we remained in camp with General Gibbon’s division until the morning of

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*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 3 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 513.

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the 21st; moved and camped near the Norfolk railroad, in rear of the left flank works, until the 23d, when we occupied the redoubt on General Gibbon’s line on the right of the railroad.

July 26, was ordered to report to General Mott, commanding Third Division, and marched across the Appomattox River at Point of Rocks and crossed James River at Turkey Bend. 27th, went into position on the right of the corps, about 600 yards from the river. Second Corps captured four 20-pounder Parrott guns. Moved forward the night of the 28th and threw up earth-works on the right of Second Division near the woods, supported on the right by dismounted cavalry. 29th, remained in position till 8 p. m., when we were ordered to withdraw and retrace our steps to the front of Petersburg, and parked in rear of the Eighteenth Corps line morning of the 30th; witnessed the assault on the enemy’s lines that morning. At midnight reported to General Mott and returned to position in redoubt on the right of the Norfolk railroad, in rear of Southall’s house.

My losses have been: enlisted men killed, 4; enlisted men wounded, 24; officers wounded, 3. One wounded man has since died.

I received a severe contusion at Cold Harbor from a piece of shell, but was not disabled. Lieutenant Thurston is still absent at Annapolis hospital; also Lieutenant McKusick. Sergt. John G. Deane was promoted to second lieutenant, vice Pray, killed in action.

My report for July 31 is as follows: Officers for duty, 3; enlisted men for duty, 105; who number of enlisted men present and absent, 155. Have occupied thirty-three different positions and expended 2,100 rounds of ammunition. Battery re-enlisted January 1, 1864, for three years.

I would most respectfully mention Lieutenant William H. Rogers, who commanded the section on the plank road in the Wilderness, and Lieutenant Samuel Thurston, who have acquitted themselves with great credit; as also First Sergt. James A. Pray, killed, and Sergts. Joseph W. Burke, John G. Deane, and Joshua J. Seamons, wounded, in hospital, and Gunners Joseph Winter, William S. Leavitt, and Hiram W. Carr, for bravery in working their guns under most trying circumstances. They are men who can be depended upon anywhere.

The battery has lost no material of any consequence and is to-day in as good condition as when it started upon the campaign.

I have the honor to be, lieutenant, respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWIN B. DOW,

Captain, Commanding Sixth Maine Battery.

Lieutenant U. D. EDDY,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Artillery Brigade, Second 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 427-428

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