Number 176. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Bvt. Brigadier General J. William Hofmann, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations October 27-28 and December 7-12

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 176. Reports of Bvt. Brigadier General J. William Hofmann, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations October 27-28 and December 7-12.1

HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, THIRD DIV., FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Petersburg, October 31, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this brigade in the operations of the corps on the 27th and 28th instant:

The brigade under my command left camp at 4 a. m. on the 27th instant. It consisted of the Fifty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, 200 muskets, commanded by Major Jack; One hundred and twenty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, 58 muskets, commanded by Captain Barlow; One hundred and forty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, 159 muskets, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Warren; Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, 133 muskets, commanded by Colonel Livingston; Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers, 213 muskets, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Harney, and the headquarters guard and pioneers, 43 muskets; total, 1,013 muskets. The brigade joined the division on the Vaughan road near battery, and moved with it to Fort Cummings, then to Hatcher’s Run, which was crossed at Armstrong’s Mill. The line of battle was then formed, facing southwest, the right of the line resting on the creek. the One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers was detailed to act as flankers. The instructions were to follow the Brigade of General Bragg, then in our front, to move parallel with and our right resting on the creek. Aftger moving a short distance it was found necessary to change the direction of the line of march form southwest to northwest. The route was through a very dense wood . It was with great difficulty that even an approximation to an alignment could be preserved. Permission was obtained from the general commanding the division to move by the right flank along the bank of the creek. After moving in this manner for about one mils, serious doubts arose whether or no General Bragg’s brigade was still in our front, as it was impossible to see far ahead. The head of the column was then covered by a line of skirmishers. After moving a short distance the brigade was halted and again formed in line of battle and a line of skirmishers thrown forward. Advancing in this manner for about 200 yards a heavy line of skirmishers of the enemy was met. They opened fire upon us, but were driven across the creek. the action was hort, with light loss to us. An aide from General Bragg arrived with directions to retire to where his brigade was then in line; this was about 500 yards in our rear. We had passed his brigade whilst we were marching by the flank. Before the order to retire could be executed it was countermanded. Subsequently the order was renewed and the brigade moved back. It was, however, in the course of an hour, again moved forward to the nine of had formerly occupied and threw up a light line of works.

At 2 a. m. on the 28th the brigade was, by order of the general commanding the division, withdrawn and moved across the creek, and the line of battle formed facing nearly southwest, near the Armstrong house. At 10 a. m. the brigade moved to Fort cummings, and then to camp. When the direction of the line of march was changed the line

of flankers became detached. In his efforts to regain his proper position Colonel Harney became lost – supposed to have been captured by the enemy.

The report of the officer upon whom the command of the regiment devolved is appended, also a tabular list of casualties.*

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. HOFMANN,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Major E. C. BAIRD,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.

The number of prisoners captured by my command was between 50 and 60. The exact number I am not able to give, as they were immediately turned over to the provost-marshal of the division, no receipt being taken. The above were brought in by Captain E. Samck, Ninety-fifth Regiment New York Volunteers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. HOFMANN,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, THIRD DIV., FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Petersburg, December 16, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report the part taken by this brigade in the recent movement on Hicksford.

The brigade broke camp on the morning of the 7th instant and joined the division on the Jerusalem plank road. The brigade consisted of the following regiments: Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Major Jack commanding; One hundred and twenty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Warren commanding, two companies of the late Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, Captain Fish commanding; Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Creney commanding, and the headquarters guard; total, 1,328 muskets. The brigade crossed the Nottoway River at Freeman’s Bridge and moved to and bivouacked at Sussex Court-House at 9 a. m.

On the 8th, and 7 a. m., moved toward the Weldon railroad via coman’s Well. When about two miles beyond this place, this brigade leading the column, a small force of the enemy’s cavalry endeavored to cut through the column, but were driven off, without loss to us. At 7 p. m. the brigade commenced destroying the railroad. By 11 p. m. about one mile of it was destroyed. Bivouacked, and at 7 a. m. on the 9th moved to about four miles below Jarratt’s Station. Here the brigade destroyed about three-fourths of a mile of the road, then moved to beyond Three Creek, where about half a mile of the road was destroyed; then went into bivouac. At 9 a. m. on the 10th instant moved on Sussex Court-House. Bivouacked at 5 p. m. when within about five miles of it. Resumed the march at 8 a. m. on the 11th instant, and when within one mile of Sussex Court-House formed line of battle and erected breast-works to resist a threatened attack on the rear of the column. Subsequently

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* Embodied in table, p. 157.

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moved on and recrossed the Nottoway River at Freeman’s Bridge, and bivouacked at 6 p. m. near —. Resumed the march at 9 a. m. on the 12th instant and arrived in camp at 4 p. m. The work of destroying the railroad was done in a very thorough manner – all the ties burns and all the rails bent. The conduct of the officers and men on this expedition is deserving of praise. There was very little straggling. The few who straggled gel into the hands of the enemy. A nominal list* of them is herewith sent, showing a loss of 9 men.

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

J. W. HOFMANN,

Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.

Major E. C. BAIRD,

Asst. Adjt. General, Third Division, Fifth Army Corps.

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* 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 525-527

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