Number 126. Petersburg Campaign Report of Lieutenant George W. Dresser, Fourth U. S. Artillery, Inspector of Artillery, of operations October 27

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

Numbers 126. Report of Lieutenant George W. Dresser, Fourth U. S. Artillery, Inspector of Artillery, of operations October 27.1

FIFTH CORPS, ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS,

October 29, 1864.

GENERAL: About 2.30 p. m. October 27 I left Fifth Corps headquarters, near Armstrong’s Mill, in company with yourself and staff, and joined General Crawford, commanding Third Division, Fifth Corps. Found him with his division, skirmishers engaged, his right flank resting on Hatcher’s Run, about on a line with General Griffin’s line, and his line extending in a westerly direction toward the saw-mill road (the road passing by Dabney’s steam-mill), with his left refused, to protect left flank. His whole line was advancing. After finding it impossible to get a battery through the thicket, to be posted to enfilade the ene-

my’s line in front of General Griffin on the other side the run, I started to return to Fifth Corps headquarters. Took a direction nearly due south for a short distance, then bore to my left (east) to follow the banks of the run back to Armstrong’s Mill. Skirmishing was going on in front of General Crawford and General Griffin; heard no firing anywhere else. I did not reach the bank of the run. About a quarter of a mile from where I left General Crawford, having passed through a bramble, then dry, but evidently wet after heavy rains, running from west to east, I came upon a trail recently made by passage of column of troops, direction from northwest to southeast, and southeast of the little field, where ambulance were afterward captured, came upon tail of rebel column resting in road, sitting down, arms in their hands and in good order. Supposing them prisoners at first, asked, “To what regiment do you belong?” Answer, “Tenth Alabama.” Asked, “Where is your provost guard?” Answer, “None here; we are a brigade; Wilcox’s brigade.” Saw at least two companies. Bore toward the creek till I came into a bramble, similar to one referred to above, then turned short to left, and guided by firing, reached General Crawford. Reported facts, and, at General C.’s suggestion, started to Second Corps with Captain Stacey, of Second Corps staff, to report the same to General Meade, reported to be there. Captain S. had just come from Second Corps to report that “General Hancock was about to try to carry the bridge in his front, and if he (General C.) heard firing in that direction he would know what it was.” About three minutes after leaving General C. heard artillery fire. Captain S. remarked, “The attack is just commencing.” Took our direction by the firing. Half a mile from General C. met rebel stragglers asking how to get out; told them to follow us. But a few paces farther on was ordered to halt by about a dozen rebel cavalry. Thicket very dense, and we on no road. Wheeled about (having been going northwest). Bearing to our right (after wheeling) soon struck a small road. Passing along this about 400 yards, met rebel cavalry picket, which we charged past. In a few moments met Major Bingham, of General Hancock’s staff, going to tell General Crawford attack had not succeeded; warned him of danger down that road (since have heard that a short distance from where I left him the Thirty-ninth North Carolina Infantry took him prisoner); then passed on, captured two ambulances and officers in the little field beyond the Crow house (from Second Corps). I found the right of Second Corps resting at the intersection of the road I went up, with the road leading from Boydton pike, near Mrs. Rainey’s house, by Dabney’s Mill to Armstrong’s Mill, and about half a mile from Mrs. Rainey’s, the line running along the latter road from the intersection toward the house. Here saw General Mott. He told me the rebels had turned and doubled up his right flank. No infantry firing then. Artillery firing still going on; continued till, on my return, which I commenced as soon as informed that General Meade had gone to Fifth Corps, I had passed Dabney’s steammill. The road was filled with led horses and stragglers as far as the mill. Near the edge of the woods (near Armstrong’s Mill) I met Captain Gentry, going to General C. with dispatches. Reached general headquarters a little after dark-between 5 and 5.30. I left General C. for Second Corps after 4.16 p. m. Reported facts to Generals Warren and Meade at headquarters.

Respectfully submitted.

GEO. W. DRESSER,

Lieutenant and Inspector of Artillery.

Major General G. K. WARREN,

Commanding Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.

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 456-457

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