Number 64. Reports of Colonel Matthew Murphy, One hundred and eighty-second New York Infantry, (Sixty-ninth New York National Guard Artillery), commanding Second Brigade, of operations August 12-26

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 64. Reports of Colonel Matthew Murphy, One hundred and eighty-second New York Infantry, (Sixty-ninth New York National Guard Artillery), commanding Second Brigade, of operations August 12-26.1

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., SECOND DIV., 2nd ARMY CORPS, August 22, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders I have the honor to report the following operations in which my command took a part on the north side of the James River:

Pursuant to orders the brigade broke camp before Petersburg about noon on the 12th of August and marched to City Point, where it arrived at midnight and remained until noon on the 13th, when the troops embarked on a transport for Deep Bottom, where they disembarked at daylight on the 14th. Took up position in line to the left and rear of — Mill, connecting on the right with the Fourth York Heavy Artillery, and on the left with the Third Brigade of the Third Division, Second Corps. Threw up breast-works and remained in that position until dark on the 18th. On the 16th instant I sent up three regiments of my command to take a demonstration on General Birney’s left, which was done with the following losses: Sixty-ninth, 3 men killed and 5 men wounded; One hundred and fifty-fifth, 3 men wounded; One hundred and seventieth, 1 man killed, 1 officer and 4 men wounded. On the 18th at dark the command moved to the left and took up position in line in rear

of — house. Threw up breast-works and remained until dark on the 20th, when the brigade took up the line of march to Petersburg, where we arrived about 7 a.m. on the 21st.

I have the honor to inclose list of casualties which occurred in my command on the north side of the James River.*

I am, captain, yours, very respectfully,

MATTHEW MURPHY,
Colonel, Commanding.

Captain A. HENRY EMBLER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Second Army Corps.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., SECOND DIV., 2nd ARMY CORPS, August 29, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to circular order, headquarters Second Division, Second Army Corps, August 27, 1864, I have the honor to report the part taken by my command in the operations at Reams’ Station between August 22 and 26 instant:

On the 22nd instant this command was bivouacked in a field to the rear of the Ninth Army Corps. Having received orders, we marched from said position toward Reams’ Station, Weldon railroad, stopping for the night by the roadside, and the following day, at 3 a.m., resuming the journey, we arrived at the station and were placed in the intrenchments to the east side of the railroad. At 6.45 a.m., on the 25th instant, the brigade proceeded a short distance south of Reams’ Station, left resting on the railroad, and was afterward ordered back to

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*Embodied in return of casualties, p.118.

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occupy a light line of rifle-pits, the direction of which for 150 yards was very nearly perpendicular to the line of works held by First Division, Second Army Corps, and the left of which line refused, so as to make its continuation almost parallel to the line held by First Division. Throughout the whole this command occupied said line of rifle-pits we were exposed to the fire of the enemy advancing on the front occupied by First Division. For an hour, between 5 and 6 p.m., we were subjected to a most terrific shelling from three different quarters, front, flank, and rear, which made great havoc. About 6 p.m. the First Division broke in great disorder, the men thereof running to our line and thoroughly exposing our flank, deserting some pieces of cannon. I immediately directed two small regiments of this command (One hundred and fifty-fifth and One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers) to occupy the works, thus abandoned, which was done, though I must admit rather tardily, the men having to advance under a very severe fire. While this was being done the left of my brigade, including the One hundred and sixty-fourth New York Volunteers and part of the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, advanced over the corn-field, together with the Third Brigade of our division. On my return to the left I found the command much disorganized, partly from contamination with the runaways of some heavy artillery regiments not in our division, and partly from the destructive fire of the enemy’s batteries. Measures were at once taken to restore order, which I am sorry to say was but partly done. The One hundred and fifty-fifth and One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers being engaged with the enemy on the right, the rest of the command still occupied the rifle-pits, but by some mistake for which I am not able to account at present, myself having been to the right, they were moved to the left. While so situated they had to cross the rifle-pits as many as four times, being forced to do so by the enemy’s fire, which at one time would come from the rear and then change again to the front. The brigade remained in this position until the advance of the enemy on our front and flank made the capture of the greater part of the command very probable, if it had not retired, which was executed in any way but the best order. the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery on its right had a hand-to-hand fight with the enemy, losing their colors after retaking them from the enemy. The loss of the colors of the One hundred and sixty-fourth New York Volunteers I am not able to account for, their commanding officer, Major Beattie, being missing. I think that Major John Byrne, One hundred and fifty-fifth New York Volunteers, and Major J. B. Donnelly, One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers, both missing, and Major Baker, Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, are deserving of praise for their exertions in trying to have their commands face fire. The members of brigade staff acted well. At about 8.30 p.m. the command started for Williams’ house, where it arrived at about 2 a.m. of the 26th.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

MATTHEW MURPHY,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain A. HENRY EMBLER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Second Army Corps.

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 317-318

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