Number 174. Petersburg Campaign Report of Major Henry J. Sheafer, One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 18-21

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 174 Report of Major Henry J. Sheafer, One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 18-21.1

HDQRS. 107TH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VETERAN VOLS.,
Camp near Yellow House, Va.,

Weldon and Petersburg Railroad, September 3, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In obedience to the order of the colonel commanding the brigade, I would respectfully make the following report of the operation of my command near the Weldon railroad:

On the morning of the 18th of August, 1864, we left our camp near the Avery house, being the fifth and last regiment in the line of the

brigade, then under the command of Colonel Peter Lyle. The line of march was taken for the Jerusalem plank road, along which the column moved for several miles, when it filed to the right by a narrow road leading past the Gurley house to the Six-Mile Station, or the Yellow House, on the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad, within about six miles of the city of Petersburg. This point was reached about noon by the Third Division, of which we composed a part. The troops were massed in the field on the right of the railroad. After perhaps an hour’ rest, skirmishing began on the front in the direction of Petersburg, and along in the direction of the raid an in the wood s on the right and left of the road and beyond the fields, which extended perhaps half a mile from the Yellow House in that direction. The line of battle was soon formed and advanced near the woods, when, by order of Colonel Lyle, the regiment was advance and deployed along the front of the brigade by the line obliquing and extending the intervals. The brigade soon after advanced in line of battle into the woods, the Second and Third Brigades Froming on the right and also advancing. At this time the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Veteran Reserve Corps, “seven shooters,” were deployed as skirmishers, and subsequently, by order of General Crawford, commanding Third Division, the regiment (One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers) was ordered to be withdrawn as skirmishers, reform, and advance with the Second Brigade, which was done, and the regiment took its place in the line of battle, then skirmishing with the enemy in front. During the afternoon the line advanced some distance under a brisk fire. In the night entrenchments were thrown up.

In the early part of the day of the 19th the men were engaged in making the works more secure. At about 2 p. m. we were moved by the flank to the right with the brigade from 100 to 200 yards, and again engaged in strengthening our defenses. At about 4 p. m. an attack was made by the enemy on the line, perhaps half a mile to the right of the position we occupied. soon after the skirmish line in our immediate front was driven in, and in a few minutes, the enemy advancing upon our works. The men fought well and with confidence, until shells and bullets began to come from the rear (one of our sergeants being, it is supposed, mortally wounded by a piece of shell from that direction), and the line breaking on the left a simultaneous movement was made toward the second line of battle. By this time a column of the enemy interposed between us (in the woods and our second line of battle in the field) and captured a large number of officers and men. Late in the evening, however, with the aid of fresh troops, the enemy were driven from their advanced position and our old line of the afternoon was reoccupied.

On Sunday, the 21st, the regiment, with what was left of the first Brigade, was in support of the Ninth Massachusetts Battery on the right of the railroad, and performed its duty so far as was required in repulsing the enemy in their advance upon our works.

The following officers succeeded in escaping through the enemy’s lines on the 19th: Colonel Thomas F. McCoy, capts. T. K. Scheffer, Company A, and James Hemphill, Company B, Lieuts. O. P. Stair, Company C, while a prisoner, with perhaps 300 others of the division

(Third), all under guard of the Eighteenth North Carolina Regiment, rallied the men, demanded the surrender of their guard, seized the enemy’s colors, and safely brought them within our lines; also the color-bearer of said regiment (Eighteenth North Carolina) with them.

The regiment had in line effective men on the 19th instant, 11 commissioned officers and 170 enlisted men.

The casualties since 18th instant, are 2 enlisted men killed and 3 wounded; 6 commissioned officers and 145 enlisted men missing. The officers missing are Captain E. D. Roath, Company E, and E. E.. Ziegler. Company G; Lieuts. G. C. Stair, Company A, William Shuler, Company C, George W. Huff, Company D, and John H. Beamenderfer, Company I.

I have omitted to state above that during the operations herein mention the regiment was under the command of Colonel Thomas F. McCoy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. J. SHEAFER,

Major, Commanding Regiment.

Lieutenant J. A. GRIFFIN,

Acting 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 521-523

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