Number 160. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Brigadier General Samuel W. Crawford, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations August 18-21, October 27-28, and December 7-12

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

Numbers 160. Reports of Brigadier General Samuel W. Crawford, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations August 18-21, October 27-28, and December 7-12.1

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Petersburg, Va., September 25, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command during the 18th, 19th, and 21st of August:

Having reached the Globe Tavern (or Yellow House) about noon on the 18th ultimo, I received instructions to mass my command in the immediate vicinity, and to hold them in readiness to move at a moment’s notice. My division consisted of the First Brigade, Colonel P. Lyle commanding; the Second Brigade, Colonel Coulter commanding, and the Third, a provisional brigade, consisting of two regiments (the One hundred and ninetieth and One hundred and ninety-first Veteran Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers, Colonel Hartshorne commanding), numbering in the aggregate about 3,000 effective men. In about an hour I received orders to advance. The Second Division under General Ayres was advancing on the left of the railroad. My orders were to advance on the right in line of battle and form connection with the Second Division on my left. The ground in my immediate front was low, and in front ended in a dense and almost impenetrable thicket which ran along the whole line from right to left. The thicket was cut up which swampy grounds, and was almost impassable. The First Brigade, under Colonel Lyle, was on the left, the Second, under Colonel Coulter, was in the center, and the Third Brigade, under Colonel Hartshorne, advanced in support on the right. I at once directed that a strong skirmish line should be deployed and thrown into the woods. The One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers was deployed and advanced, the line of battle following. Meantime the enemy’s batteries stationed near the Davis house had opened and obtained range of the command. Finding that the regiment deployed as skirmishers did not properly cover my front, I ordered it to be relieved by the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania, or First Pennsylvania Reserve Veteran Volunteers, under Colonel Hartshorne, and directed the One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania to rejoin its brigade.

While superintending this movement and the general advance of my line, I sent a staff officer to find the right of the Second Division and to insure a firm connection with it on my left. This was thoroughly effected by the Sixteenth Maine Regiment, of Lyle’s brigade (see report of Colonels Lyle, McCoy, and Tilden). It was raining heavily as we advanced. On the right of the Sixteenth Maine was the Thirty-ninth Massachusetts, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Peirson. Hardly had the connection been made and the brigade advanced into position on the right when the enemy threw himself on the right of the Second Division and forced it back. The woods and undergrowth on the right of the railroad were so thick on the left of my line as to be almost impenetrable. The enemy, however, after having driven back the right of the Second Division, seeing his advantage in regard to the troops on the right of the road, advanced directly on my left flank. The line fell back, continuing to fight until it entirely confronted the enemy, when a stand was made and the enemy retired, and the line again advanced to its original position. At this time I received an order from the major-general commanding the corps, which was reiterated through

Lieutenant-Colonel Bankhead, the acting assistant inspector-general, to throw forward my right, and, as far as possible, advance toward the railroad and strike the enemy on his left flank. this was at once ordered, and the line moved forward on the right. the skirmish line, strongly supported, advanced. We met the enemy on the right and center and drove him back from tow chains of hastily-constructed rifle-pits to his entrenchments beyond a large corn-field in front of the thicket of woods. To advance my line was a matter of the greatest difficulty. So dense and tangled was the undergrowth, and so interspersed with swamps, that it was almost impossible to keep up the congestion or to see beyond twenty or thirty feet. The line was established, however. I reported to the general commanding the corps the result of my advance, and received from him the following communication:
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
August 18, 1864 – 8 p. m.

General CRAWFORD:

You have done very well indeed in getting forward through that difficult country so far. Make yourself strong as you can and hold on. I will try and re-enforce you by Bragg’s brigade in the morning, and establish direct communication with the Ninth Corps pickets. We are going to hold on here.

Respectfully,

G. K. WARREN,

Major-General.

The line was entrenched during the night in front of the First Brigade. At daylight next morning I ordered the Second Brigade to take position on the right of the First Brigade and to extend the entrenchments on its front. It moved to its position and commenced throwing up the works. In order to extend my line as far as was desired, the One hundred and ninety-first Pennsylvania, under Colonel Carle, was ordered to take post on the right of the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania, and these two regiments covered the whole of my front and flank – a strong skirmish line. The picket-firing continued during the night. At 3 a. m. General Bragg reported to me with his brigade, consisting of the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, Seventh Wisconsin Volunteers, Twenty-fourth Michigan Volunteers, Seventh Indiana Volunteers, Nineteenth Indiana Volunteers, and First Battalion New York Sharpshooters, and numbering only 60 officers and 700 men. I directed General Bragg, in person, to proceed to my right flank and take position there until further orders, and at the same time sent a staff officer to conduct him. Before daylight a staff officer of the general commanding the corps, Captain Cope, aide-de-camp, came with orders to the effect that General Bragg’s brigade should extend to the right until a congestion was formed with the Ninth Corps. I at once sent a staff officer with Captain Cope to see General Bragg, and to carry out the orders he had received. The Ninth Corps pickets were found in the neighborhood of the Aiken house, the shortest point from the right of my line, and the line advanced at once directly eastward until it should strike the position this division had formerly occupied in front of the Strong house. At 8 o’clock I went in person to the house and found that the change as ordered was being made. About 1 o’clock the enemy advanced a strong skirmish line through the corn-field and into the woods. He struck the right of the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania and the front of the One hundred and ninety-first Pennsylvania, and after a short contest he was forced to retire. I now rode to the extreme right of General Bragg’s line in order to satisfy myself that it was properly

established. At 12 o’clock an aide of the major-general commanding the corps came to the right of Colonel Carle’s regiment. I accompanied him to the neighborhood of the corn-field, and learned from him that it was determined to make a change in General Bragg’s line; that it was to be advanced to the edge of the corn-field from that point indicated by two trees, which were pointed out. The line was to run directly east, and that it must be run by the compass.

General Bragg was, in the meantime, endeavoring to establish his line as previously ordered. I rode to the right for the purpose of conferring with him. I went along the entire front. Upon arriving at the Strong house I could not find the right of his line. I sent a staff officer to determine it, and to direct it to advance. I then returned, passing different portions of the Ninth Corps en route to the support of the Fifth. As I was returning along the rear of my line, when opposite the Nineteenth Indiana Regiment detail of Bragg’s brigade, I met the men from that regiment upon the road along which our ambulances had gone in the morning. I asked why they had left the front. They replied they had been driven back by the enemy, and asked if I had not heard the firing. I called a second lieutenant, who seemed to be in charge, and directed him to reform his line, and at once return to his position and establish his connection to the right and left. I at once sent an order to General Bragg, who was now on the left of his line, with the intention of rectifying it according to the orders received from Major Roebling, an aide of the major-general commanding the corps, and directed him to send a portion of the regiment which he had in reserve to support the line occupied by the Nineteenth Indiana Regiment. I then rode down the rear of my line. I had scarcely reached the center, however, when the enemy, who had steadily concentrated in the cornfield on the right, burst through he thin line of Bragg’s brigade, crossed the road into the woods beyond, and, changing front, swept down in rear of my entire line. I was at this time near my left flank. Simultaneously with their flank attack they advanced in line of battle and attacked our whole line from right to left. They advanced within 30 yards of our works. In front their advance was checked, and they were being repulsed, when the rebel line commenced its advance along our rear. At this moment our artillery opened fire upon friend and foe, the shells bursting among our men, the projectiles striking in the rear of the breast-works, killing some officers and men and wounding many others. Immediately the cry was raised that the enemy were in our rear, and the men began to fall back from the entrenchments on the left of Lyle’s brigade. In the dense thicket in which they were engaged it was impossible to know the truth. Colonel Wheelock, commanding the Second Brigade, finding that our artillery was producing such effect upon his men, ordered them to leap over the breast-works and take position on the other side. This was accomplished just as the rebel line, diverted from their purpose, were driven by the fire of our artillery into the woods in my rear and were making a hasty retreat. A volley was fired from this brigade, which drove them upon a wood road, which led into the corn-field, and this entire brigade, under the gallant officer who commanded it, remainder in the entrenchments until the close of the action. The left of Lyle’s brigade, in retreating through the woods into the space in the rear, met the rebel lines as they were advancing into the woods from the fire of our artillery, and many of them were captured. The brigade under Colonel Hartshorne, while attacked in front, was also

attacked in rear by the rebels, who swept round and drove them at the point of the bayonet hurriedly to the rear. After a short but determined fight, they destroyed their rifles by breaking them against the trees, and a large number were made prisoners.

Colonel Wheelock, commanding the Second Brigade, finding himself unsupported on the right or left in the entrenchments, and fearing the enemy might obtain the advantage of him, as the fire of our artillery was severe, fell back in line of battle to the edge of the woods. I was reforming what was left of Lyle’s brigade, and ordered them to take post upon the left of Wheelock. I advanced with the whole line, regained possession of the works, and re-established my picket-line as it had been formed in the morning. A brigade, under Colonel Humphrey, of the Ninth Corps, advanced on my left, and his brigade and the Second Brigade of my division reoccupied the works. A brigade, under General Hartranft, advanced on the right. In this advance the colors of a rebel regiment were captured. On the afternoon of the 19th a rebel flag belonging to a North Carolina regiment was captured by Private Solomon J. Hottenstine,* of the One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania, and was presented by him to the general commanding the division, who deposited it with the corps commander. I remained upon the center and left of my line until the close of the action. The rebels passed freely around me on every side, and I was once in their hands, but escaped almost miraculously. I held the men to the entrenchments until our own artillery rendered our position absolutely untenable. There was no falling back beyond the artillery by any part of my line. The men fought surrounded by the enemy on every side, and while I deeply regret the loss of so many brave veteran officers and men to the cause of the country at the present time, I have the satisfaction of knowing that in their capture, however much I may deplore it, no dishonor or blame can attach to them. They fought bravely and successfully with the foe in their front. (That the enemy successfully approached their rear from the extreme part of the line cannot be, and I am glad to know is not, justly chargeable to them.)

The officers of my immediate staff supported me most gallantly, as the following record will show: My adjutant-general, Captain Monteith, had his horse killed under him. Lieutenant Clarke, aide-de-camp, was severely wounded and his arm broken while carrying an order to the right of the line. Lieutenant Mead, commissary of musters, Lieutenant Merrifield, pioneer officer, and Captain Smith, acting division inspector, had their horses wounded. My personal orderly was shot through the breast, the flag bearer’s horse was killed, and 2 mounted orderlies’ horses were wounded and 1 lost.

The total loss in killed, wounded, and missing was as follows: From division staff, 1 officer wounded; First Brigade, 42 officers and 811 men; Second Brigade, 15 officers and 345 men; Third Brigade, 33 officers and 711 men. Total, 91 officers and 1,867 men.+

On the 21st the command was on the extreme right of the line and was not engaged, except the batteries of the division.

The reports of Colonel Lyle, commanding First Brigade; of Colonel Wheelock, commanding Second Brigade; of Colonel Tilden, commanding the extreme left of the line, and also of Brigadier-General Bragg,

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* Awarded a Medal of Honor.

+ But see revised statement, p. 124.

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commanding First Brigade, Fourth Division, which was on the extreme right of my line, is herewith inclosed. No report has been received from the Third Brigade, as the officers were captured.

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

S. W. CRAWFORD,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.

Lieutenant Colonel F. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifth Corps.

[Indorsement.]
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
September 27, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded.

I would call attention to the aggregate of casualties in this report being considerably less than reported by me in my report dated August 25, in which I stated these would be considerably diminished by the return of those who gave out on the march here from exhaustion. This report approved of, except where it may not agree with the report of any other division commander, regarding the conduct of his own command.

G. K. WARREN,

Major-General of Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
November 2, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command on the 27th and 28th of October:

The division broke camp at 4 o’clock on the morning of the 27th, and in accordance with orders previously received, took the road followed by the other divisions of the corps, and closed up on the rear of Ayres’ division. The command consisted of the First Brigade, Brigadier-General Bragg, and the Third Brigade, Colonel J. W. Hofmann, the Second Brigade, under Brigadier-General Baxter, having been left to hold the lines and garrison the works. Lieutenant Milton, commanding Ninth Massachusetts Battery, reported to me for duty with his battery as the division marched out of camp. At 10.30 a. m. the division reached the cut through the woods made by direction of the major-general commanding the corps, and was halted for a few moments as the division in front had massed in the woods, the First Division being engaged with the enemy. In the course of half an hour, Lieutenant Ricketts, aide-de-camp of the major-general commanding, came to me bringing the orders of the general to move on with my division. I moved on to the Duncan road, turned the head of column to the left, and moved down that road. Here I was met by Major Roebling, an aide-de-camp of the major-general commanding the corps, who was to conduct me to my position. I was to cross Hather’s Run at Armstrong’s Mill, advance up its right bank, my right resting upon it, and guided by it. My orders were to advance and connect with the left of the First Division. I was informed by Major Roebling that Hancock’s corps was on my left and had advanced some distance. While conferring with Major Roebling in regard to the country, I was told by him that if I advanced as I intended with a front of two brigades I should

overlap the Second Corps. After crossing the run I received orders from the major-general commanding the corps, in person, which were mainly a repetition of those conveyed to me by Major Roebling, and in addition, that the Maryland Brigade, under Colonel Denison, had been ordered to report to me. It was further stated that about a mile up, a position indicated upon the map, which was pointed out to me, the works in front of Griffin came down to the creek. The major-general commanding the corps desired me, if possible, to turn these works, though it was not certain what I might meet in my front.

My command was in readiness, and after receiving these instructions I moved forward. I had ordered Brigadier-General Bragg to throw

but a strong line of skirmishers, to double them, and to advance them half a mile in his front, their right resting upon the creek. Colonel Hofmann’s command formed a second line in rear of General Bragg. His orders were to throw out a regiment as flankers to protect the left flank. These were to follow the movements of and be guided by the skirmishers in front. As it was impossible to advance along the bank of the creek, two regiments from the Maryland Brigade were ordered to advance in rear, and supporting the right flank, and two others on the left flank, and Colonel Denison was ordered to hold his command in readiness to move to any portion of the line that might be necessary. Everything being in readiness, I broke the command by the right of companies to the front, and advanced into the woods. The advance was attended with very great difficulty. So thick were the woods and so tangled the undergrowth, that it was almost impossible to proceed, and it was only practicable by using the compass. The creek, instead of going northwest, thought that was its general direction, made a great bend to the west and struck about the center of my line. I was obliged to clear it by a flank movement. In an examination of my left flank, as I advanced, I came to Dabney’s Mill, where I found a force of cavalry. Finding my left thus covered, I advanced as rapidly as possible, and finally reached the Crow house – a wide open space under cultivation. On the right flank, about 200 yards distant, the creek made a bend to the right, and the timber had been slashed so as to make any movement up it impracticable. Hofmann, therefore, moved along it by the flank, while Bragg moved up in the open space in line in front of Bragg, having passed the left flank of the First Division on the opposite bank. The enemy had a heavy line of skirmishers on this side of the creek. They at once attacked my skirmish line with great vigor without driving them back on the line of battle. Major Jones, One hundred and fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, advanced his line of skirmishers, and drove the enemy across the creek and into their works. My line of skirmishers was advanced 150 yards beyond the left flank of the First Division. I detached a regiment to examine the right bank of the creek near my present position, and to feel the enemy’s works. The regiment proceeded to attack the enemy in the end of his entrenchments, driving him from it. He, however, immediately re-enforced it by a line of battle.

At this time the major-general commanding the corps arrived upon the field. He examined my position, and I communicated with him and received the following orders: I was just where he wanted me. I should not make any further attack or advance until I received further orders. About an hour before a staff officer of Major-General Hancock brought word to the effect that he was at Burgess’ Tavern and that he held the bridge upon the Boydton plank road. Subsequently

I received a second communication from him, through an officer, that his intention was to carry the bridge and advance beyond it. the noise of the firing would be thus explained. I immediately established my line of battle, threw out a strong skirmish line, holding myself in readiness for any service that might be required. At this period, and about an hour before dark, stragglers and fugitives from the enemy, who had been engaged with the Second Corp, came in, some with and some without prisoners, within my lines, apparently ignorant of my position there. Two hundred and thirty-eight prisoners, with 3 officers, were taken by the different regiments, exclusive of 5 sent to the hospital. Others were turned over, to the Second and Ninth Corps provost-marshals. At dark I threw a bridge across Hatcher’s Run, in rear of the skirmish line of the First Division. The country around me was a perfect wilderness. Even the prisoners captured from the enemy had become lost in the woods, and were attempting to gain their own rear when they wandered into my lines. At 1 o’clock in the morning of the 28th I received orders from the major-general commanding the corps, informing me of the action on our left; also that General Hancock’s forces would be withdrawn in the night, and directing me to withdraw cautiously in the morning. I had established a strong skirmish line around my position. I commenced to withdraw at 3 o’clock, and by daylight had my entire command across Hatcher’s Creek. After the command had recrossed, and the skirmishers had been withdrawn, I sent a regiment to recross the creek to deploy and advance through the bushes in the direction of the enemy’s forces. They were driven almost immediately back to the bridge. The column was carried with great difficulty through the woods and undergrowth on the left bank of the run; and, in accordance with orders I had previously received, I massed in two lines in rear of the left flank of First Division.

My list of casualties during these operations was 2 men killed, 16 men wounded, 2 officers and 27 men missing.

The officers, both of my staff and in the command, were indefatigable in their exertions in the advance in guiding the men and preventing or loss of direction. Major Jones, commanding the skirmish line of the advanced brigade (One hundred and fiftieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers), while endeavoring to communicate with me from his advanced position, had his adjutant, sergeant-major, and 1 orderly captured.

Respectfully submitted.

S. W. CRAWFORD,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Lieutenant Colonel FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifth Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
December 19, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this command in the late expedition:

The division broke camp on the morning of the 7th instant, leading the infantry column of the Jerusalem road, which it followed to the Freeman’s house, and turned to the right, crossing the Nottoway on a pontoon bridge at Freeman’s Ford, above the bridge destroyed previously by our cavalry, and proceeded to Sussex Court-House, where it encamped with the Cavalry Division for the night. (See document

No. 3.) On the morning of the 8th the division followed the cavalry division through Coman’s Well toward the Weldon railroad, near Jarratt’s Station. (See document 4, paragraph 2.) We encountered a small force of the enemy’s cavalry about two miles beyond Coman’s Well, who were endeavoring to strike the rear of the cavalry division. They were soon dispersed. The division passed through to the Halifax road, where it massed until 6 o’clock, when, in accordance with instructions previously received, it proceeded to the railroad at the point designated by Captain Cope, of the staff of the general commanding the corps, and commenced the work of destruction in accordance with instructions contained in document 6. The work was thoroughly done, the ties being burnt, and the rails placed upon them and bent. The command then bivouacked for the night. On the morning of the 9th, in obedience to circular order (see document 8), the division proceeded to perform the part assigned to it in the further destruction of the road. Toward evening I was directed to take a portion of my command and destroy the bridge over Three-Mile Creek and the railroad beyond, the railroad on both sides of which having not yet been destroyed; and also to dispose a sufficient force to hold the crossing of the Sussex and Halifax roads protecting our rear. The bridge was thoroughly destroyed. During the night orders were received to return to our original position toward Petersburg.

This division brought up the rear for the three days’ march, taking the Sussex road toward Sussex Court-House. Some of the cavalry force of the enemy followed us. During the morning of the 10th the cavalry in our rear were driven in upon our infantry, but were repulsed by two regiments of Baxter’s brigade (the Eleventh Pennsylvania and the Ninety-seventh New York), who ambuscaded the road of the enemy, killing 2, wounding 2, and taking 6 prisoners. We were not again troubled. The following morning we moved on through Sussex Court-House, Bragg’s brigade bringing up the rear of the entire force. We crossed the Nottoway and encamped near Providence Church for the night. The following morning we reached our camp.

I regard the marching of this division, its cheerful obedience to orders, and the anxiety that was manifested by officers and men to do what in them lay to contribute to the success of the expedition, as worthy of all praise.

The list of casualties in the command is respectfully inclosed.* The men reported missing are those who straggled from the command and were taken by the enemy’s cavalry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. W. CRAWFORD,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Lieutenant Colonel F. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifth Army Corps.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
No. 63. December 6, 1864.

The following is the order of march for to-morrow:

First, Gregg’s cavalry; second, General Crawford’s division; third, General Griffin’s division; fourth, General Ayres’ division; fifth, General

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* Shows 11 men missing in the First Brigade; 1 man wounded and 1 officer and 18 men missing in the Second Brigade, and 9 men missing in the Third Brigade. Total, 40.

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Mott’s division; sixth, the wagon train. A battery will accompany each division. The whole will move at 6 a.m.; the cavalry as much sooner as practicable. The route will be just south of the Yellow Tavern, of the Gurley houses, of the Smith house, and of the Temple house, and then turning south along the Jerusalem plank road to the crossing of the Nottoway River, at Freeman’s Bridge. General Gregg will use a brigade of cavalry or a sufficient force forward to protect the right flank and cover the rear of the wagon train, watching and holding all the roads toward Reams’ Station and the roads coming from the Rowanty Creek until the train is past. General Ayres will furnish a brigade of infantry to accompany the wagon train as guard. The train will be under Colonel Thomas, at the Gurley house. The ambulances of division will accompany the division.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

NOTE.- During to-morrow headquarters will be at the head of General Crawford’s division.

[Inclosure No. 2]
HEADQUARTERS,
Nottoway River-4 a.m.

Generals MOTT and CRAWFORD:

General Ayres is massing his division about a mile from the river. The bridge is nearly laid and the engineers are making another. General Mott, if delayed in his march, can mass up as close to General Ayres as the nature of the country will enable him to do. This will enable General Crawford to close up on him.

Very respectfully,

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 3]

CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,

December 7, 1864.

I. Generals Griffin and Ayres will remain in their present bivouac, with their artillery and ambulances, until all the rest of the army is across. They will receive further information when to move; advantage will be taken of that to water, rest, and feed the animals.

II. Generals Crawford and Gregg will proceed to Sussex this evening and camp there.

III. General Mott will cross after General Crawford with all his trains and camp in the first open field, after crossing the pontoon bridge. The train under Colonel Thomas will follow General Mott and camp in the first open after crossing. Headquarters will be just south of the bridge for the night.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,

December 7, 1864-9.15 p.m.

The following will be the order of movement for to-morrow:

I. General Gregg will set out at 4 a.m. and proceed direct for Jarratt’s Station. He will picket every road coming in from the flanks as we advance with a strong force, to remain until the rear of the column has passed.

II. He will be immediately followed by General Crawford’s division.

III. General Griffin, followed by General Ayres, will set out at 2 a.m. and proceed on to overtake General Crawford.

IV. As soon as all is over the pontoon train will be taken up and join the train of Colonel Thomas, chief quartermaster, near General Mott’s division.

V. General Mott will guard the main train to-morrow, and will make such disposition with his division as will protect it, Colonel Thomas and the officers of the bridge train reporting to him.

VI. The brigade of General Ayres, marching with the train to-day, will rejoin his division.

VII. If any part of the column finds itself halted by any obstructions in front, the troops will be massed and the artillery and trains parked so as not to obstruct the coming forward of artillery and troops in rear. Headquarters will be at the head of the column during the day.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 5.]

CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,

December 8, 1864-11.30 a.m.

General Gregg has reached the railroad and burnt the bridge across the Nottoway. He was had some skirmishing with the enemy’s cavalry and has driven them all across that stream. Though he pickets all the roads coming in from our right, it will be best for each division commander to leave an infantry force, from 300 to 500 men, according to the importance of the roads, at each one to hold it until it is relieved by the following division, and General Mott until the last of his division has passed. The column should be moved on with as little rest as possible, and the stragglers can come in with the train.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 6]
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
December 8, 1864.

About 6 p.m. this evening the three divisions of the Fifth Corps will move out on the railroad and complete the destruction of the railroad ties and rails as far as practicable, bending the latter when it can be done. A staff officer will be sent to each division to designate the points at which each is to begin. As soon as a division works down to a place finished by another it will go on and pass them and begin again. This work is to be kept up until 12 o’clock if not interrupted

by the enemy. They will then bivouac till daylight along the road. All the artillery, ambulances, &c., will be sent to the main train this evening to move with it along the wagon road. General Gregg will proceed along the railroad south. After bivouacking, the spring-wagons can be sent for and the trains will be kept as near the division as possible for that purpose. General Mott will protect the train when it moves and a force of cavalry will watch the rear. The wood along the railroad must be thoroughly consumed, the ties being piled up and the rails places on top when the rails can be separated.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 7.]

DECEMBER 8, 1864 – 6 p. m.

General CRAWFORD:

You will remain where you are till General Ayres passes you, when you will follow on left in front, looking out for your own rear, through we leave a little cavalry behind us. You will pass the division destroying the railroad, and as soon as you get to any part not destroyed go to work yourself. You will now have to move before 8. a. m.

G. K. WARREN,

Major-General.

[Inclosure. Numbers 8.]

[CIRCULAR ORDER.] DECEMBER 9, 1862 – 6 a. m.

The following will be the order of march to-day if not interrupted by enemy:

First. Major-General Griffin will protect the train.

Second. Major-General Mott will move at daybreak and form line of battle, facing west on the first porion of the railroad he reaches not destroyed, and then commence its destruction.

Third. As soon as General Mott passes General Ayres he will follow him and form on his left, and commence destroying the railroad. General Crawford will follow General Ayres, and do the same as he is directed to. A small force of cavalry will give notice to the rear division of movements of the enemy in that section.

G. K. WARREN,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 9.]

CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,

December 9, 1864 – 6.15 p. m.

The object of the expedition having been accomplished, the command will commence to return to-morrow. General Gregg will send one brigade, to be at these headquarters at 6 a. m., to precede the command to Sussex Court-House. This will be followed by Griffin’s division in charge of the trains. General Ayres will begin to withdraw form his present position at 7 a. m., and will follow General Griffin. General Mott will remain in his present position until General Ayres has passed him, when he will follow. General Crawford will maintain his present position until all the infantry has passed him. General Gregg, with his remaining two brigades, will cover the movement. Each command in marching to-morrow will deploy a strong line of skirmishers well out to the right and left to bring in all those who have straggled from their

commands. The object of this arrangement is to guard against petty annoyances. Any earnest offer of battle by the enemy will be accepted and the movement modified as far as necessary to accept it by the part of the command against whom the attempt is made. Headquarters will remain in its present position until General Mott’s division has passed. It is announced to the command that General Gregg drove the enemy’s cavalry across the Meherrin River and into their fortifications at Hicksford in a gallant manner, in which we have to lament, among others, the loss of Major Sargent.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 10.]

CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,

December 11, 1864 – 9.15 p. m.

The following will be the order of march for to-morrow:

General Mott will march at 7 a. m., followed by General Griffin, General Ayres next, who will be followed by General Crawford.

The wagons of each division will march with it.

The division and batteries will return to their old camps.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

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 491-502

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