Number 68. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel A. Moore, Fourteenth Connecticut Infantry, of operations August 15, 16, and 25, and October 27

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 68. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel A. Moore, Fourteenth Connecticut Infantry, of operations August 15, 16, and 25, and October 27.1

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS, August 30, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following official report of the skirmish near Deep Bottom, north of the James River, Va., on the 16th day of the present month:

About daylight on the morning of the 15th I was ordered to take my regiment and relieve a portion of the skirmish line held by the Third Division of our corps. This order could have been executed with less difficulty had it reached us before daylight, for the skirmish line was in the middle of an open plain, at the foot of a low range of hills upon which the enemy were intrenched. The line, however, was relieved with but small loss upon our part, the men being sent down in detachments of from four to six at a time. It took about two-thirds of our men to relieve the line. A reserve was formed of the remainder, which was posted in the woods in rear of the center. During the rest of the day and upon the morning of the day following constant firing was kept up by both parties, but as our men were well protected by rails which held been piled up into a slight barricade no one of them was hurt. Upon the afternoon of the 16th it was deemed advisable to attract the attention of the enemy at this point, while important movements were taking place upon another part of the line. The Fourteenth was ordered to move forward across the open plain, mentioned above, to the edge of

a narrow corn-field which bordered the enemy’s works. This was done in good style. The line went forward upon the double-quick, under a sharp fire of both musketry and artillery, and occupied the position assigned to it, driving in the enemy’s skirmishers. The reserve was now brought up under cover of the woods to a point near the left of our line, and in this position the regiment remained until after dark, when we were relieved by another regiment. This movement was designed only to draw the attention of the enemy from other points, and in this was entirely successful. It called expressions of satisfaction, both from our brigade and division commanders, under whose immediate superintendence it was executed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. MOORE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Brigadier General HORACE J. MORSE,

Adjutant-General State of Connecticut.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS, August 30, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following official report of the part taken by this regiment in the action of the 25th of August at Reams’ Station, upon the Weldon railroad:

Upon the 24th the regiment had been employed all day in destroying the railroad track by burning the ties and bending the rails. Early upon the morning of the 25th the brigade, of which this regiment is a part, was massed in a sugar-cane field, in expectation of an attack from the enemy, who were reported to be advancing in force. At about 11 a.m., the enemy having attacked our pickets below and to the south of the station, our brigade was sent out to their support, with orders to engage the enemy, and, if possible, to find out in what force they were in that direction. Four companies of the Fourteenth were deployed as skirmishers, under, command of Captain Broatch. The remainder of the regiment advanced in line of battle parallel with the railroad in support of the skirmish line of brigade, which steadily advanced, driving the skirmishers of the enemy before it for upward of half a mile. For a portion of the time we were under a fire of both musketry and artillery. It was at this time that Captain Hawley, of Company K, was killed. Having advanced as far from our position as was considered prudent, Colonel Smyth, our brigade commander, halted the command and sent back for orders. Before these reached him, however, the sound of heavy firing almost directly in his rear decided him to march back to our position near the station, to prevent our being cut off from the main body of the corps. This was done under cover of the woods and without molestation from the enemy, excepting that a few shells were thrown at us from one of their batteries. We found the main body of the corps drawn up in order of battle in the form of two sides of a square, one of the sides west of the railroad and parallel to it, and the other side running at right angle to it and from west to east. In this form they had already successfully repelled two attacks made by the enemy. Our brigade, with one other, was ordered to throw up a breast-works running in an oblique direction across the same field in which we had been massed in the morning, to connect the ends of these two lines, thus forming an irregular triangle, in which the troops stood behind slight breastworks, facing outward. Before we could complete our slight barricade

of rails and earth the cavalry skirmishers in our front were driven in. At the same time a heavy artillery fire was opened upon us from our right flank and rear. This was followed by a third attack by the enemy made in heavy force upon that portion of the line directly in our rear. The troops who occupied this portion of the line, being principally heavy artillery regiments belonging to the First Division and composed to a great extent of raw recruits, broke and thus admitted the rebels into our inclosure. The Fourteenth was now faced by the rear and formed in line of battle on the reversed side of our breast-work. We were then ordered by General Gibbon, our division commander, and General Hancock in person, to charge and try and recover a portion of the lost ground. We went forward at a double-quick, exposed to heavy fire of both musketry and artillery. The left with, with the lieutenant-colonel and major, succeeded in retaking a portion of the line left by the troops which had broken. This position the held until after dark, firing all the time, when they were ordered by Colonel Smyth, the brigade commander, to withdraw, which they did, drawing off with them some of our artillery which had abandoned, and which they had seven from being captured by the enemy. The right wing, after losing heavily, both in killed and prisoners, was compelled to fall back to its original position. This they held until about dark, when the heavy fire poured into them from front, rear, and one flank forced them, in common with the rest of the division, to fall back a short distance to a better position, where they commenced throwing up a new line of breast-works. During the night, however, the corps was withdrawn to the line of defenses around Petersburg.

Our loss in this engagement was severe, being 1 captain and 4 men known to be killed; 3 captains, 1 assistant surgeon, and 14 men wounded; and 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, and 26 men missing. I have previously sent a nominal list of these casualties.

We carried into the fight – officers and about 150 armed men.

We drew off from the field, thereby saving them from falling into the hands of the enemy, one brass cannon and one limber belonging to McKnight’s battery, and one caisson and one limber belonging to the Third New Jersey Battery.

I cannot close this report without alluding to the loss this regiment has sustained in the death of Captain William H. Hawley, of Company K, recorded above. At the time of this death he filled the office of brigade inspector, and was acting upon the staff of the colonel commanding the brigade. This responsible and difficult station he filled alike with credit to himself and his regiment, and to the satisfaction of all with whom he came in contact. His loss is deeply felt, not only in this regiment, but thought the entire brigade.

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

S. A. MOORE,

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers.

Brigadier General HORACE J. MORSE,

Adjutant-General State of Connecticut.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS, October 30, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the action of the 27th instant:

Early upon the morning of the 27th we left camp near the Vaughan house and marched in a westerly direction till about daylight, when I

was ordered to deploy four companies of the right as flankers to cover the brigade, which was done under command of Lieutenant William Murdock. Three companies were also so detached on the left, being under command of Major Broatch. We advanced until in sight of the rebel works; here we formed line of battle on the right of the brigade with the three remaining companies and charged across a creek and up a hill into the enemy’s works, taking some prisoners. Our loss here was Major John C. Broatch wounded, 1 man killed, and 4 wounded. Sergt. Albert De Forrest, of Company A, being at the head of the flankers on the right, was the first the observe the telegraph running in rear of the enemy’s works, which he promptly cut. We then reformed and marched by a road running in a northerly direction about two miles, when we were joined by the companies which had been flanking on the right under command of Lieutenant Murdock, they having been relieved by a portion of the Third Division. We again proceeded, having Companies G and K, under command of Captain F. E. Stoughton, deployed as flankers on the left, and Company B, under command of Lieutenant Russell, on the right, until near the Dinwiddie and Petersburg pike. Here we were attacked, and being joined by the companies which had been out as flankers, were deployed as skirmishers and advanced to the left about a quarter of a mile, when we were halted and remained until relieved by the cavalry. We then joined the brigade, which was advancing across an open field to the right of the road and facing the enemy’s works. At this point we lay under a shell fire from the front and right flank for about an hour, when we were ordered forward to the pike and across a brook, and formed facing to the south, under cover of a bank. At this time, firing being heard on our right flank, we were ordered to file to the right, under cover of a hill, which was done on the double-quick, and the cavalry, being driven in at this point, we charged over the hill in obedience to orders and drove the enemy from their works and across a creek, the loss in this regiment being but small. The regiment occupied the works thus vacated, remaining in them till nearly 5 o’clock, when I was ordered to deploy the regiment as skirmishers in a ravine between the works then occupied by the enemy and those out of which they had been previously driven. This was done. Hearing the sound of heavy firing in our rear, I sent to the general commanding the brigade to know if I should advance the line, and received orders to fall back into the works we did, and remained in them until about 6 o’clock, when I was ordered to take the regiment from them and deploy in on the road on the left flank of the brigade. Before this could be done, however, the enemy attacked us in front. It was at this time that Lieutenant Perkins Bartholomew, commanding Company I, received the wound of which he died soon after. I at once sent a sergeant to the general commanding brigade for further orders, and was directed to hold in this attack, fell back to their works. We remained in this position until about 11 o’clock, when, pursuant to orders, we withdrew, leaving a strong picket-line in the works.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. MOORE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Lieutenant THERON E. PARSONS,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.

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 327-330

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