Number 96. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Casper W. Tyler, One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 15-16 and October 1-5 and 27

   

0 comments

in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

Numbers 96. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Casper W. Tyler, One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 15-16 and October 1-5 and 27.1

HDQRS. 141ST REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, August 24, 1864.

In compliance with circular from headquarters Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, dated August -, A. D. 1864, I have the honor to make the following report:

My command broke camp about 11 a. m. on Monday, August 15, A. D. 1864, and moved with the brigade some three miles to a road leading to the Charles City and Richmond road, where, by command of Colonel Craig, commanding brigade, I formed my battalion into close column by division upon First Division, right in front, in rear of the right wing of the line of battle, and in echelon to the Ninety-third Regiment Pennsylvania [New York?] Volunteers. Moved in rear of the center of the line. I maintained this relative position until I received orders to prolong the line of battle, connecting with the Eighty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers on my left. After deploying and moving my command into line, I advanced, supporting the skirmish line, until the line reached what I was informed to be the Charles City and Richmond road. Here my command rested, the right overlapping the Richmond and Charles City road. After remaining here some two hours, I received orders to withdraw the skirmish line, the One hundred and forty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers supporting. After allowing the brigade about half an hour precedence, I withdrew

the First U. S. Sharpshooters from the skirmish line and with them and the One hundred and forty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers rejoined the brigade. During the day I had but one man wounded, though most of the time exposed to a brisk skirmish fire. There were no other movements worthy of mention during the day.

Early on the morning of the 16th my regiment was in line, the Eighty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers on my right, with the One hundred and fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers on my left. My orders were simply to keep intact my connection on the left. This position I maintained during the advance upon the enemy’s works. The enemy’s works being carried I moved by the left flank, following the One hundred and fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, crossing and forming line at right angles and within the enemy’s works, going into position on the left by file into line, the One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers still upon my left. My command was here confronted by a thicket, through which we advanced, emerging into an open field. The line, being somewhat broken in consequence of the difficulty in getting through the woods, here rallied and moved across the open field in magnificent style, although subjected to severe musketry fire both from the woods in front and from the woods upon the right flank, into a deep ravine densely wooded. The left bank of this ravine in front of the right of my regiment was so steep and thickly overgrown with bushes as to be almost impassable, while to preserve a line was impossible. I moved up the ravine in obedience to directions from Colonel Craig to urge forward the right. I found the Eighty-fourth and Ninety-third Regiments rapidly falling back, the enemy pressing them both from the front and flank. To advance farther on the right or even to have maintained the position occupied at this time I considered impracticable, if not impossible. I hastened to communicate with Colonel Craig and learned that he had been mortally wounded and carried from the field. In the meantime the One hundred and fifth and One hundred and forty-first Regiments had advanced into an open field beyond the ravine, driving a large number of prisoners into the lines, where they were taken and sent to the rear under guard. The number of prisoners thus taken, I have no doubt, would number between 80 and 100. In this open field the enemy’s fire was very severe and seemed to come from almost every direction. The two regiments on my right had already been forced back and were rapidly recrossing the line of rifle-pits in which supporting lines had already formed or were forming. There being but two small regiments across the ravine the contest could have the but one result had it been longer continued. I immediately withdrew my regiment and the One hundred and fifth. The works being full I moved into a ravine some four or six rods in their rear and awaited orders. I reported in person to General Birney and by his order took up a position on a little road running parallel with the line of rifle-pits and a little in their rear, which position I held with the One hundred and fifth and One hundred and forty-first Regiments until relieved, when I joined the brigade. There were no other movements of importance during the day. During the action of to-day my command lost 1 commissioned officer missing, 7 enlisted men wounded, and 6 missing, making in all 14. Those reported missing are, without doubt, either killed or wounded and prisoners.

Of the conduct of my officers and men during the two days’ operations I can only speak in terms of praise. When every one does well it would almost seem unjust to particularize. However, I must

acknowledge the services rendered by Captains Atkinson and Peck and Adjutant Brainard. By their example and presence they assisted me materially in performing the various duties allotted me.

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. W. TYLER,

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding 141st Regiment Pennsylvania Vols.
HDQRS. 141ST REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, October 7, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with circular from Second Brigade headquarters, dated October 7, 1864, calling for a detailed account of the operations of the One hundred and forty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, I have the honor to make the following report:

About 12 m. on Saturday, October 1, 1864, my regiment broke camp, moving by rail to near the Yellow House near the Weldon railroad. Marched from thence some two miles, when we bivouacked for the night. Early Sunday morning marched about half a mile due southwest to a piece of woods, when I received orders to move my regiment to the left of the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers and deploy and advance as skirmishers. Being on the extreme left of the line I directed Captain Horton, Company A, to deploy his company as flankers to prevent my line being surprised. I left Captain Gyle, Company H, with two companies about thirty yards in the rear of the left of the skirmish line as a support, with directions that in case the enemy made an attack upon my flank to change front and deploy his command as skirmishers. My line advanced and soon occupied the enemy’s works, he having made but little opposition. Soon after I advanced in line of battle, the Eighty-fourth on my right and One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers on my left, until the lien came in close proximity to the enemy’s second line. I was here ordered to move my command to the support of the skirmish line, which I did. Some two hours later I received orders from Lieutenant-Colonel Zinn to move my regiment so as to connect on my right with the Eighty-fourth, left with First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, preparatory to storming the enemy’s position. Although Lieutenant-Colonel Zinn’s superior in rank, I obeyed his orders cheerfully, regarding success paramount to a question of temporary command. I regret to say that the storming party failed to carry the enemy’s position. Presenting but a narrow front, the enemy concentrated his fire upon it so effectually that it was impracticable, to say the least, to advance farther than I did, though I did not fall back with my command until I had received orders to that effect. Upon falling back, reformed upon the skirmish line, where I remained until relieved, whereupon my command moved to camp with the brigade.

The operations of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th days of October are of but little moment. On the night of the 5th returned to our old camping-ground near Fort Alexander Hays.

The conduct of my officers and men during these five days’ operations was eminently satisfactory.

I lost 1 corporal killed, 2 sergeants and 5 privates wounded.

Respectfully submitting the above report, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. W. TYLER,

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding 141st Regiment Pennsylvania Vols.

Captain J. B. TEN EYCK,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. 141ST REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, October 30, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In compliance with circular from headquarters Second Corps, dated October 29, 1864, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my command during the 27th day of October, A. D. 1864:

The march from Fort Dushane, where the night previous we bivouacked, was without particular interest. Acting as flankers, to us the march particularly severe, the woods and bushes being so dense as at times to be almost impenetrable. Arriving at the Petersburg and Boydton plank road, I massed by direction of General Pierce in rear of the brigade. After resting about an hour the brigade moved into the open field on our right and formed line of battle, moving diagonally across the field, the left of the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers resting upon the Boydton road. The One hundred and forty-first was formed in line of battle in rear of the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers with the left also resting upon the road. While here the enemy’s shell fell about us with great accuracy of range, one of which I barely escaped by the sudden plunge of my horse, the shell passing a few inches from my body. There were other narrow escapes of a similar character. While lying in line of battle the enemy unexpectedly and swiftly attacked the right of our position, striking our line in flank and rear. Hearing the musketry, I instantly changed front by filing my command to the right and then moved forward in line of battle toward the woods and in the direction of the enemy’s attack. I executed the movement without having received any orders to do so. I had two reasons for doing it: First, my regiment was farthest from the point of attack. The nature of the attack was such as to demand instant action. Brigadier-General Pierce, commanding the brigade, was not near, he being away to the right near the point of attack, and I was satisfied could not get orders to me in time to do any good. Second, supposing that the line lying in the field would change front by a similar movement which I had executed, I hastened thus to throw my regiment from the left to the right of the line. It seems to me that this was the only movement that could be made in time to offer any resistance to the swiftly advancing line on the enemy. I was surprised that instead the line commenced changing front forward, a long and somewhat intricate movement, and hazardous under fire. I had expected to unite with the right of the line as it moved to the right; instead, I found my command isolated and the line to the left in confusion and rapidly falling back. The enemy were emerging from the woods in heavy masses and firing rapidly. I ordered my men to fire. The regiment was excited and difficult to control. Everything was falling back. I succeeded in holding two or three of my companies just at the point of the woods, though under a murderous fire, until they exchanged fifteen or twenty rounds with the enemy. I think by this fire the enemy’s left was checked, and that it proved a valuable aid to the balance of the regiments near the battery. Brigadier-General Pierce, commanding brigade, was present and saw the position and the efforts of myself and officers to check the enemy. If I erred in leaving my position in line it was an error of the judgment in the absence of instructions. After we were driven from this point I rallied my men behind a rail fence only a few rods in rear and engaged the enemy, pouring into his ranks a rapid and well-directed fire. As the enemy gave way I advanced into the woods, perhaps forty rods, where I remained until the line fell back

to the road. After dark we returned to near where we bivouacked the previous night. I reported seven stragglers the next morning, who came up within a few moments after the report was sent in.

I regret to say that Captain Kilmer, commanding Company C, was seriously wounded in the head while rallying his men at the point of the woods where my line was first formed. I here lost 2 enlisted men killed and 6 wounded and 1 missing. The missing man belonged to Company H. His name is Gilbert Corwin, and there was no braver man in this or any other regiment. I fear that he is killed.

Of the conduct of my officers and men I will not further speak. The commanding general was near them during the fight and personally observed both, and is well acquainted with all the circumstances.

Respectfully submitting the above report, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. W. TYLER,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Lieutenant C. W. FORRESTER,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second 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 383-387

***



What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: