Number 217. Petersburg Campaign Report of Colonel William Humphrey Second Michigan Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations August 19 – 21

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

Numbers 217. Report of Colonel William Humphrey Second Michigan Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations August 19 – 21.1

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, THIRD DIV., NINTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Aiken’s House, Va., August 30, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this command in the fight at Blick’s farm on the 19th of the present month:

At 5 p. m. the enemy attacked the right of the line occupied by the Fifth Corps, driving in the skirmishers and capturing the works to the right of the Weldon railroad, with a considerable portion of the troops holding these works. As soon as the firing was commenced by the enemy, I ordered my command under arms and at once changed the front of my line so as to face toward the point at which the attack was made. Then, by order of General Willcox, commanding division, moved forward as a support to the First Brigade, but soon after was ordered to move to the left. When I had moved far enough in this direction to uncover my whole front I was again ordered to move forward. This move bringing my line in contact with the enemy just coming out of the woods, I ordered a halt and opened fire at once, which soon drove back the attacking force. I was then ordered to form the brigade in two lines, and to move some distance farther to the left, then to charge into the woods, and, if possible, drive the enemy from the works from which he had a short time before driven a portion of the Fifth Corps. As I moved into the woods without connection, either on my right or left, the advance was made cautiously until near the works occupied by the enemy.

Then the charge was ordered at the double-quick. This charge was most gallantly made, and resulted in the capture of the colors of the Forty-seventh Virginia Regiment, 100 prisoners, and the occupation of the pit by the brigade. An hour afterward a portion of the Fifth Corps (Crawford’s division, I think) moved up and occu

pied the pit on my right. The pit on my left was occupied about the same time by troops from the same corps. After this pit had been taken the enemy made three separate attacks on the part occupied by my command, but each attack was finely repulsed.

The losses of the brigade for this engagement were 12 enlisted men killed, 1 officer and 38 enlisted men wounded, and 3 enlisted men missing; total, 1 officer and 53 men.

The conduct of the officers and men of the brigade during this engagement was all that could be desired. The advance to the first attack was made coolly and in perfect order, the charge on the pits was gallantly made, and the several attacks of the enemy promptly met and repulsed.

On the morning of the 20th I set a detail of men to gather up the arms and accouterments that lay strewn along the line and through the wood. Five hundred and thirteen stand were collected. These arms were mostly found either standing along the pit, with the accouterments hanging across the muzzles of the pieces, or in a line of stacks some distance in the rear of the pits.

The brigade occupied these works till the morning of the 20th, when it was drawn back to the rear of the wood, in which position it remained until 2 a. m. of the 21st, when it was drawn still farther back and to the right and rear of the Fifth Corps. Here it remained until after the engagement of this day. On the morning of the 20th the Sixtieth Ohio Infantry was sent out to occupy the old work with a picket-line, and lost in the attack of this morning 2 enlisted men wounded and 1 officer and 54 enlisted men missing.

Attached I send a list of casualties of the brigade for the 19th, 20th, and 21st, showing a loss during the three days of 13 enlisted men killed, 2 officers and 45 enlisted men wounded, and 1 officer and 63 enlisted men missing.*

The above report is respectfully submitted.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. HUMPHREY,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain RICHARDS,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Third Division, Ninth Army Corps.

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* But see revised statement, p. 127.

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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 595-596

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