Number 218. Reports of Captain Adelbert B. Twitchell, Seventh Maine Battery

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

No. 218. Reports of Captain Adelbert B. Twitchell, Seventh Maine Battery.1

SEVENTH MAINE BATTERY VETERAN VOLUNTEERS, Near Petersburg, Va., August 8, 1864.

CAPTAIN: *

FIFTH EPOCH.

On the night of the 14th of June my guns were placed in position near the James River. Crossed the James at 7 a.m. June 15, and went into park at 8 a.m. Joined the division at 12 o’clock at night and arrived in front of Petersburg at 4 p.m. of the 16th. One section was sent out during the night to report to Captain Roemer, chief of artillery, Third Division, and on the morning of the 17th another section was sent to the front. On the afternoon of the 18th, when the Ninth Corps drove the enemy across the railroad, my battery was ordered into position in rear of the line of the Second Division, on the crest between the belt of pine woods that extend out to the turnpike road, and the small clump of pines to the rear and right of the Taylor house. I kept up a constant fire during the afternoon to prevent the enemy from strengthening his works, and to assist our troops to advance. At night threw up a redoubt for all my guns. The evening of the 20th, when the Third Division moved to the right to relieve a division of the Second Corps, my battery was put in position to the left of the Hare house. The battery was within 300 yards of the enemy’s line, and I opened fire several times on their works. During the night of the 23rd the division moved to the left, and with four guns I relieved Mink’s battery, of the Fifth Corps, placing my guns in a redoubt to the right of the brick wall or the Taylor house. Tuesday, June 28, the left section was placed in position on the hill to the left of the turnpike road. The position is a commanding one, and has since been occupied by two batteries.

July 9, the left section of my battery was placed on the front line across the railroad and near the ice-house, one gun bearing up the ravine, and the left piece ranged on the fort to the left of the turnpike road. My guns since arriving in front of Petersburg have been in the positions above stated forty-seven consecutive days up to the 4th of the

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*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 6 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.981.

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present month. I opened fire occasionally from my guns when it seemed advantageous and necessary, and whenever the enemy made any unusual move or demonstration.

The 22nd of July the enemy opened with musketry and occasionally with artillery, and my guns replied spiritedly.

During the first day of the month of July I had one guns dismounted as a mortar, and experimented with it successfully the result of which I have forwarded in a written communication to Lieutenant- Colonel Monroe, chief of artillery, Ninth Army Corps. My command has been highly fortunate during the forty-seven days at the front, having suffered but little in killed and wounded.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. B. TWITCHELL,

Captain, Commanding Seventh Maine Battery Veteran Volunteers.

Captain ROBERT A. HUTCHINS,

Asst. Adjt. General, Third Division, Ninth Army Corps.

SEVENTH MAINE BATTERY, Near Petersburg, Va., August 3, 1864.

I herewith submit the following report of the operations of my battery in the engagement before Petersburg on Saturday, July 30, 1864:

I had one section of guns on the front line near and to the left of the ice-house, one piece bearing on the ravine to prevent the massing of the enemy’s forces there, and the other bearing on the enemy’s fort to the left of the turnpike road. I had one piece to the left of the Taylor house and just to the right of the turnpike bearing up the road to the left of the fort that was mined. At 7.30 a.m., by orders from General Burnside, I put one piece in position in a redoubt to the right of the Taylor house (from which position four of my pieces had been withdrawn the previous night, anticipating that the fire from the fort would cover all the ground) bearing directly on the embrasure from which one gun was throwing shell and canister upon our force occupying the crater and upon the supports. My guns opened fire immediately on the mine being sprung. The guns on the front line threw shot and shell against the parapet and embrasures of the work in their front, and during the continuance of the firing almost defaced the work, rendering it impracticable for the enemy to fire from the embrasures fronting our line. The gun on the right of the turnpike opened with spirit on the right salient angle of the enemy’s fort to the left of the turnpike and continued firing at regular intervals during the engagement, occasionally turning the fire more to the right when the enemy opened upon our advancing columns. The piece put into position to the right of the Taylor house opened fire about 8 a.m., and after a well directed fire of about thirty minutes the rebel gun ceased firing for a time and opened only occasionally afterward and at long intervals. I think that the piece in this latter position disturbed the enemy’s fire materially as the projectiles could be thrown directly into the embrasure. I lost 1 man killed during the action. Ammunition expended: Solid shot, 142; case-shot, 71, shell, 76.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. B. TWITCHELL,

Captain, Commanding Seventh Maine Battery.

Lieutenant SAMUEL CHAPIN,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Artillery, Ninth 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 603-604

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