Number 37. Reports of Captain Philip H. Schreyer, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 13-20 and 22-26

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

Numbers 37. Reports of Captain Philip H. Schreyer, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 13-20 and 22-26.1

HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD PENNSYLVANIA VETERAN VOLS.,
September 28, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with circular, I have the honor to make the following report of operations of this regiment from the 13th day of August to the 20th day of August, 1864:

August 12, 1864, the regiment broke camp on the left of Petersburg, and at 4.30 p.m. took up our line of march for City Point, arriving near the latter place at 10 p.m. on the same evening, where we went into camp and remained until 12 m. on the 13th. We took up our line of march and arrived at City Point at 1 p.m. I immediately commenced to embark the regiment. Six companies were embarked on the transport Starlight and the remaining four companies on the transport Ellen S. Terry. By 6 p.m. the whole regiment was embarked and both transports dropped some three miles down the river. At 10 p.m. both transports moved up the James River toward Deep Bottom about twenty miles.

On the morning of the 14th I arrived at Deep Bottom, when the regiment disembarked and moved about half a mile from the river, where it remained until 11.30 a.m. when it moved about four miles to the front and immediately took up a position in rear of the First Brigade, which was then on the skirmish line. Brigade being formed in line of battle now advanced, the One hundred and sixteenth Pennsylvania

Volunteers being on my left and the Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers on my right. After some distance the brigade was halted and formed line in a corn-field on the crest of a hill. Shortly afterward, the enemy opened a heavy artillery fire on my line, when I was ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel Broady, commanding brigade, to advance the left of the regiment in order to better cover it from view of the enemy. In this action I sustained a slight loss. The regiment remained in this position until dark, when, it in connection with the One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was detailed for picket duty. After establishing the in nothing of interest occurred until morning of the 15th, when the enemy opened a brisk musketry fire upon the line of the regiment. Things remained in this position until 12 m., when I received orders directly from General Barlow, commanding First Division, Second Army Corps, to advance the line at intervals of about one hour and again fall back, in order to keep the enemy engaged and keep them from going to our right, as there was at that time some fighting going on on the extreme right of the line. By advancing in this way I drew the fire of the enemy, both of infantry and artillery, and consequently sustained the loss of some men killed and wounded. At 8 p.m. the regiment was relieved from picket and rejoined the remainder of the brigade some distance to the rear on the New Market road. Remained in this position until 1 p.m. on the 16th, when, I in connection, with the remainder of the brigade, moved about three miles to the right in support of a part of the Tenth Corps, which was then engaged with the enemy. Nothing of interest occurred but picket-firing until 7 p.m. when the regiment was detailed for fatigue duty, and immediately reported to Brigadier-General Foster, of Tenth Corps, when it was put to building earth-works some distance in rear of the line first occupied. By 12.30 p.m. the works were finished and the regiment again reported back to the remainder of the brigade, when it immediately took up the line of march to the right. After moving with some delay to the right about two miles, the regiment, with the remainder of the brigade, halted about 3 a.m. of the 17th on a road, where it remained until 4 p.m., when I marched some distance to the left and formed line in a dense woods at right angles with the road upon which the regiment had just been formed. I remained here until 5 p.m. of the 18th, when a heavy fire opened some distance on my right, when I received orders to be ready to march at short notice. I soon after marched by the right flank, some distance to the edge of a field, when I in connection with the remainder of the brigade, was ordered back to same position I occupied before. After returning, line was formed and the men were ordered to rest until 6 p.m., when the whole brigade moved by the left and marched some two miles and formed line of battle along the New Market road. After the line was formed I was ordered to form earth-works along my front, which kept the men hard at work all night. Remained in this place until 8 p.m. of the 20th, when, I in connection with the remainder of the brigade, took up the in of march, crossing the James and Appomattox Rivers, and arrived in front of Petersburg at 8 o’clock on the morning of the 21st, 1864. I herewith transmit a list of casualties.*

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. SCHREYER,

Captain, Commanding Fifty-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.

Lieutenant J. WENDEL MUFFLY,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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*Embodied in table, p. 117.

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HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD Regiment PENNSYLVANIA VET. VOLS,
Camp near Petersburg, Va. August 28, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with circular dated headquarters Fourth Brigade, August 27, 1864, I have the honor to submit the following report of operations from August 22 to August 26, 1864:

On the morning of the 22nd of August the regiment was lying in bivouac in rear of the Fifth Army Corps and on the extreme left of the line. At 12.30 o’clock on this day it was ordered, in connection with the remainder of the brigade, to move some two miles to the left, when the Weldon railroad was reached. The men remained under arms some time, when the regiment was ordered to move some distance farther to the left and put on picket, or rather as a support to the cavalry picket. The line was advanced some distance, where it remained until dark, when it was withdrawn about one mile to the rear, and again deployed as pickets, being on the extreme left of the line. Remained on picket until 2 p.m. on the 23rd, when the regiment was relieved by the Seventh New York Heavy Artillery. The regiment then rejoined the brigade and was engaged in destroying the railroad until 6 p.m., when line of battle was formed. Soon after I was ordered to the rear some distance, with three other regiments, and formed line of battle a short distance from the remainder of the brigade, where I remained until 4 a.m. on the 24th, when I was ordered to move a short distance to the left and occupy a line of earth-works which were built during the night, and remained there until about 8 a.m., when I was ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel Broady, commanding brigade, to move left in front down the railroad. After moving about one mile formed line of battle on the edge of a wood, and in connection with the remainder of the brigade moved forward in support of the skirmish line for about one mile and a half, where we halted and formed line in a corn-field and remained until 4 p.m. when we again moved, left in front, one mile down the railroad and commenced destroying the track, working at this until dark, when, the regiment was again formed and marched back to Reams’ Station and took up nearly the same position we occupied in the morning. Remained here until, 11 a.m. of the 25th, when the regiment was moved to the left without arms and ordered to construct earth-works on the extreme left of the line. After working about one hour we were ordered back to the stacks to take our arms, and then moved to the left, where we had constructed the earth-works. Soon after I was ordered to the right of the line beyond the railroad and formed in rear of Third Brigade and on the left of the One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers as a reserve. About 3 o’clock the enemy charged the works in our immediate front, but they were handsomely repulsed, leaving killed and wounded on the field and losing some prisoners. Soon after we moved to the right by order of Lieutenant-Colonel Broady, and formed in rear of the Sixty-ninth New York and left of the One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers. About 5 in the evening the enemy made a second charge on the works, and the line on my right and left giving way, we were compelled to fall back about 100 yards, when the regiment reformed and went into the works on the right of the line, driving the enemy, who were flanking us, for some distance, keeping up a continual fire until dark, when I was ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel Glenny, now commanding brigade, to move by the right flank down a road, following the Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers. The regiment, in connection with the remainder of the brigade, formed line in a large

open field and soon after moved off right in front, arriving at the Williams house at 2.30 a.m. on the 26th. My officers and men behaved well during the engagement.

I herewith transmit a list of casualties.*

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. SCHREYER,

Captain, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Vet. Vols., Commanding Regiment.

Captain A. R. CHACE,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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*Embodied in table, p. 129.

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Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), pages 280-283

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