Number 213. Petersburg Campaign Report of Brigadier General Simon G. Griffin, U. S. Army, Commanding Second Brigade, of operations September 29 – October 16

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

Numbers 213. Report of Brigadier General Simon G. Griffin, U. S. Army, Commanding Second Brigade, of operations September 29 – October 16.1

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, SECOND DIV., NINTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Pegram’ House, Va., October 17, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command from the 29th of September to the 16th of October, 1864, including the engagement near the Pegram house on the 30th ultimo:

On the 29th of September I received orders to hold my command in readiness to move at 7.30 o’clock the next morning. On the morning of the 30th, in accordance with orders received from division headquarters, I moved my brigade up the road to Fort Dushane, thence through the breast-works following the First Brigade in a northeasterly direction, past the Poplar Spring Church, and took position in line of battle to the left of a line of the enemy’s works near the Peebles house, which General Warren had previously carried. After halting in this position for a short time, at about 3 p. m., in compliance with orders received from Generals Parke and Potter, I moved my command forward past the Pegram house, with a view to take possession of the main road leading to Petersburg from the southwest, in the direction of the South Side Railroad. Passing the picket of the Fifth Corps near the Pegram house, I deployed the Second New York Mounted Rifles as skirmishers and advanced cautiously toward the Jones house, with the Eleventh New Hampshire on the right and the Sixth New Hampshire on the left of the head of my column, advancing with it in line of battle. Proceeding some 400 yards beyond the Pegram house to a ravine, and finding the enemy in my front, though not apparently in strong force, I formed my command in two lines of battle, the Ninth New Hampshire on the right of the Eleventh New Hampshire, the Second Maryland on the left of the Sixth New Hampshire, with the Second New York Mounted Rifles still deployed as skirmishers, and the Seventeenth Vermont, the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Maine, the Fifty-sixth Massachusetts, and the One hundred and seventy-ninth New York in the second line. I advanced steadily, driving the enemy’s skirmishers before me, until my skirmishers reached the Jones house, which they seized and held, and my first line of battle reached the crest and edge of the woods in front of said house.

Finding the enemy disputing the ground with some stubbornness, I halted to allow other troops to come up and make connections on my right and left. The First Brigade was forming on my left, and an officer from General Willcox’s staff came to find the right of my line, saying a brigade from the First Division would form on my right, with the One hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers deployed in its front as skirmishers. That regiment came up and commenced to deploy, but I never saw the brigade which was to follow it; no brigade came to the front where my right rested. While these formations were in progress, before there was any line of battle at all on my right or one completed on my left, orders came to advance. I obeyed the order, but on arriving at the Jones house we met the enemy also advancing, with a line of battle stronger than our own, and overlapping us on both flanks. Trusting to the First Brigade to protect my left, I threw the Seventeenth Vermont forward, changing its front so as to protect my right flank, and sent all my other regiments forward to sustain the first line,

except the One hundred and seventy-ninth New York. The regiments of that line had seized the house and grounds around it and fought bravely, and with a determination to hold the position, but being furiously attacked on three sides by superior numbers they were compelled to abandon the place, losing heavily and having some of their men captured. Forced to retire in haste, they did so in some disorder, and being closely followed by the enemy in force the whole line was carried away. Every effort was made to rally the troops, and a stand was finally made at the Pegram house, and the enemy checked and repulsed. During the night the main body of the troops was withdrawn to the rebel line of works near the Peebles house, which was fortified for defense, leaving a picket-line at the Pegram house.

Early on the morning of the 1st of October that line of pickets was attacked and driven in and a few captures made. On the 2nd of October we again advanced to the Pegram house, where my command took up a position on the left of the First Brigade, where it has remained until the present time. On the 4th of October the enemy made a sudden attack on my pickets, capturing Lieutenant Monroe Evans, Second New York Mounted rifles, and 6 men, and driving the line back for a short distance. One regiment (the Second Maryland Veteran Volunteers) was promptly sent out to re-establish the line, which was immediately accomplished without loss. On the 8th of October a reconnaissance was made by General Willcox on my left, and my picket-line was advanced to correspond with that movement, supported by two regiments from the main line. The reconnaissance ended, the line was withdrawn to its previous position, and the regiments returned to camp.

I inclose herewith a list of the casualties for the time embraced in this report with names of the officers, killed, wounded, and missing.

With much respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

S. G. GRIFFIN,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Captain SAMUEL WRIGHT,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Div., Ninth Army Corps.

[Inclosure.]

Report of casualties in the Second Brigade, Second Division, Ninth Army Corps, from September 30 to October 16, 1864, inclusive.

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* But see revised statement, p. 142.

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Report of casualties in the Second Brigade, & c. – Continued.

S. G. GRIFFIN,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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* But see revised statement, p. 142.

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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 587-589

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