Number 175. Petersburg Campaign Report of Colonel Thomas F. McCoy, One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations December 5-12

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 175. Report of Colonel Thomas F. McCoy, One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations December 5-12.1

HDQRS. 107TH PENNSYLVANIA VETERAN VOLUNTEERS,
Camp before Petersburg, Va., December 14, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with your circular of this date, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my regiment in the late movement:

On the afternoon of the 5th instant I received orders to break up camp at Fort Dushane, and, as soon as relieved, to join the brigade near the Gurley house. being relieved at once by the One hundred and nineteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, I was soon, with the other regiments composing the brigade, at the designated place. The march was continued until we reached the Jerusalem plank road, where we were offered to bivouac for the night. During the 6th we remained quietly in camp. On the evening of that day orders were received to move at daylight on the next morning. On the morning of the 7th we were on the march before daylight, with our brigade leading the column. The march was southward on the Jerusalem plank road, which we followed for thirteen miles, when the march was directed southwest toward Sussez Court-House (passing the Nottoway on pontoons), at which place we arrived at 9 p. m., and bivouacked for the night, after having marched about twenty miles. It rained some during the day; there was no fighting. At daylight of the 8th the column was on the march southward on the Sussex road, but after marching in that direction for two miles turned to the right and westward past Coman’s Well, and in the direction of the Weldon railroad at Potts’ Store. On this part of the march a body of the enemy’s cavalry was met with, and, after some skirmishing, was driven off, only serving to retard the march for a half hour. At a point near the railroad my

regiment was formed in line and across the road running parallel with the railroad to support a small body of cavalry, and to hold and defend the approach while other troops were engaged in destroying the railroad. We occupied this point until 7 p. m., when the brigade was ordered to the railroad, where we were employed in the labor of destroying the road until about 11 p. m., when we bivouacked for the night.

On the morning of the 9th the march continued southward along the railroad, destroying it as we advanced. The station at Jarratt’s was utterly destroyed by troops of the First Division. The march and the destruction was continued until evening, the enemy being met near Belville [Belfield], and after considerable cannonading and skirmishing was driven over the river. My regiment, with the other regiments of the brigade, was thrown across the roads leading from the rear, and bivouacked for the night. The weather had now become very cold and stormy; it was raining and snowing . On the morning of the 10th the return movement began at daylight. the roads were deep with mud and water. The trees were covered with ice. Our brigade was designated to cover the rear. Cannonading and skirmishing began early, mostly with the cavalry. The rear guard did not move until about 12 m. After it marched some two hours, and was so wearied as a wood. Soon after halting, and before all the flankers and skirmishers had emerged from the woods, leaving a squadron of cavalry still in their rear, the enemy’s cavalry charged, driving the squadron of Second New York Cavalry* into our infantry lines in great confusion. Brigadier-General Baxter, commanding brigade, immediately formed a line of battle across the road (my regiment being on the left of the road), part of which opened fire on the enemy as they emerged from the wood, when they quickly turned and fled. The march was continued, the men becoming very weary before reaching the camp some four miles south of Sussex Court-House, after having marched in mud, water, and show for sixteen miles. The enemy’s cavalry again attacked part of our brigade, and were repulsed with loss. It rained during the night. The line of march on the 11th was taken up nearly, our brigade leading the division. Thursday’s march brought us through Sussex croup-House, across the Nottoway, into the Jerusalem plank road, and continuity the march up to 8 p. m. brought us within ten miles of our original camp, and the next day’s march brought us to our present camp within the rear line of the army south of Petersburg.

I have to regret the loss of 7 men (see report annexed+) who I presume were not able to keep up with the column, and were dauntless captured and perhaps murdered by the enemy’s cavalry and guerrillas, who were continually hovering around our flank and rear. My men being nearly all new recruits, and this being their first hard service, I am pleased to be able to say that they conducted themselves well, exhibiting a good spirit and true soldierly qualities.

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

T. F. McCOY,

Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Captain CROWDREY,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

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* Mounted Rifles.

+ Nominal list omitted.

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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 523-524

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