Number 146. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Captain Charles E. Mink, Battery H, First New York Light Artillery, of operations June 18-July 30

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

Numbers 146. Reports of Captain Charles E. Mink, Battery H, First New York Light Artillery, of operations June 18-July 30.1

NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., July 29, 1864.

SIR: *

June 18, engaged the enemy before Petersburg, Va., advancing by battery with the other batteries of the brigade under fire of the enemy’s artillery. At 4 p.m. we threw up lunettes and placed the battery in position on the right of the Fifth Corps nearly opposite the reservoir; fired a number of shot into the enemy’s works, cutting down their work around two of their guns in such manner as to give our sharpshooters command of their pieces. The battery fired, during the day, 213 solid shot, 84 case-shot, and 6 shells. I am sorry to state that one of my men lost his right arm by the premature discharge of a gun, the first in the battery since its organization. June 19, the enemy attempted to open the battery in our front, but we kept it silent all day, firing twenty-seven solid shot, losing 7 horses by sharpshooters. June 20, fired forty-eight solid shot at the enemy’s works, cutting them up in such a manner as to keep them at work repairing all day. June 22, fired a few shot through the buildings in rear of the enemy’s works to drive out their riflemen, who annoyed our people very much. June 23, we fired eight solid shot and seventeen shell at the buildings containing sharpshooters, setting one of them on fire and driving the enemy out of another. On the morning of the 24th moved to the rear and camped near General Warren’s headquarters. The next morning inspected the battery, and,

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* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 8 to June 3, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 654.

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notwithstanding the hard marches and hard fighting through which we have passed, everything was found in an excellent state of order and efficiency.

Throughout all of the previous-mentioned engagements my men have behaved with the greatest-coolness and bravery, and the practice of the gunners has frequently called forth the praise of officers of other arms of the service who witnessed it. All of my officers have behaved with great coolness and gallantry. Lieutenant E. P. Newkirk served with the battery during the early part of the campaign, and was present with us during the engagement of May 8. He is a young man of great promise. Of Lieutenants Ritchie, Hazelton, and Bates I cannot speak too highly. They have all behaved with great coolness, and have displayed a knowledge of their profession which proves them all an honor to the important post of officers of field artillery. Lieutenant Scott was too unwell to participate in active operations, being scarcely able to sit in his saddle, but as I have seen him tried upon the field of Fair Oaks and in several skirmishers on the Peninsula, I know that you may place the utmost confidence in him.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. E. MINK,

Captain, First New York Artillery, Commanding Battery H.

Lieutenant W. J. CANFIELD,

Acting Adjutant First New York Artillery.

NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., August 7, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagement before Petersburg July 30, 1864:

I placed my guns in the work on the right of the line occupied by the Fifth Corps and stored the magazine with ammunition on the night of July 29. At daybreak on the morning of the 30th the mine under the enemy’s work opposite General Burnside’s line was sprung. Immediately after the blowing up of the work I commenced firing at a battery on the enemy’s line which commanded the approach to the breach. I fired with great rapidity to prevent the enemy from serving their guns. Soon after the blowing up of the work General Burnside’s troops advanced into the breach, but for some unaccountable reason, though covered by the fire of artillery, they halted in the blown-up fort. I kept up a steady fire during the forenoon, when, as there was no demonstration on the part of the enemy, I ceased firing. Shortly after small brigade of the enemy moved forward to charge upon the troops in the breach. I immediately opened upon them with spherical case-shot, staggering them and breaking up their formation, but moving forward in a scattered, straggling charge, which I think might have been repulsed by two companies of good infantry. They drove General Burnside’s troops out of the fort and recaptured all of the ground gained by our people in the fore part of the day. I expended in this engagement 260 solid shot, 98 shell, and 205 spherical case with excellent effect, every shot striking the object at which it was directed. About 9 a.m. Major Robert H. Fitzhugh was wounded in the side by a rifle-ball from the enemy while watching the effect of the firing.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. E. MINK,

Captain, First New York Artillery, Commanding Battery H.

Lieutenant W. J. CANFIELD,

Acting Adjutant First New York Artillery.

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 488-489

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