Number 250. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Maj. Gen. David B. Birney, U. S. Army, commanding Tenth Army Corps, of operations August 14-19 and October 1-2

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 250. Reports of Maj. Gen. David B. Birney, U. S. Army, commanding Tenth Army Corps, of operations August 14-19 and October 1-2.1

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

Deep Bottom, August 14, 18647.15 a. m.

I advanced at daybreak and have had sharp skirmishing up to this time driving the enemy. General Hancock has ordered me to wait until his troops can disembark, which is being done as rapidly as possible. My casualties reported about 60 killed and wounded. Telegraph is down.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Butler,

Commanding Department.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 14, 18645.05 p. m.

I have captured 6 guns and 2 mortars. I hope to bring them in after night-fall. They were taken bv General Foster’s brigade.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

General Butler.

(Same to General Hancock.)

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 14, 18645.25 p. m.

Sir: I am connecting with the battery of Second Corps and am establishing picket-line. I will have it complete. As I am now sharply engaged in trying to save the guns captured I may have to shorten my line. I have sent two staff officers to report progress. Yours, truly,

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Lieutenant-Colonel Walker,

Assistant Adjutant- GeneraI.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 14, 18645.40 p. m. Y

ou are mistaken in supposing that the enemy are withdrawing from my front. They are in force on my whole front, and with a heavy artillery fire. They are plainly to be seen. I have ordered General Terry to advance his skirmishers at once, and connect closely with the Second Corps picket line.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Hancock.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 16, 1864—9.20 a. m.

General Terry reports that General Foster’s line of skirmishers is within 200 yards of the enemy’s skirmish line. Foster will commence driving them within the next five minutes. Prisoners just brought in report that Wright’s and Lane’s brigades are directly in Foster’s front, having arrived last night.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Hancock.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 16, 18644 p. m.

I propose to attack again at 5 o’clock. General Miles has formed on my right flank, covering the road leading to my rear. The enemy seem to be in strength. I have reversed their first line.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Hancock.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 16, 1864—5.57 p. m.

General: I advanced my skirmishers, and alter a reconnaissance have concluded not to attack, The enemy have massed in my front, and in my opinion, even after taking the works, my force could not do more. Colonel Smyth, Second Division, reports troops and artillery passing two hours to my front. I send another flag captured this morning; four more are reported; I have not seen them. I would like a statement of prisoners and of flags turned over.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Hancock.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 16, 18648.45 p. m.

Craig’s brigade was not in the assault; it was used to cover the left flank. The assault was made by Terry’s division.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Hancock.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

August 19, 1864.

The enemy attacked my lines in heavy force last night and were repulsed, with great loss. In front of one colored regiment eighty-two dead bodies of the enemy were counted. The colored troops behaved handsomely and are in fine spirits. The assault was in columns, a division strong, and would have carried works not so well defended. The enemy’s loss was at least 1,000.

Respectfully,

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler,

Commanding Department.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 1, 18641.55 p. m.

General: At 1.25 the infantry column reached the Central road and is now advancing. General Kautz sends a brigade up Charles City road and the other takes the advance up the Darby or Central road. Eight guns go with the Central road column and two with Charles City column. My line here is all ready. There are no movements of enemy discovered in my front. I shall also make a demonstration on New Market road, driving in their pickets.

Yours, respectfully,

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Butler.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 1,1864—3.45 p. m.

The column on the Central road have found infantry in pretty strong force three miles from the city. A column of rebel troops seen marching from our left to right; about a brigade. This force is in plain sight in opening behind the force in our front. Shots are heard also from Charles City column. On New Market road have driven enemy’s pickets to their works with a charge.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Butler.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 1, 18644.30 p. m.

Colonel: I have driven their pickets in confusion across my right into the field up to their works, and now hold Varina road and position occupied by me day before yesterday. They ran without much fight.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Lieut. Col. E. W. Smith,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the James.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 1, 1864435 p. m. I see no reason for recalling General Terry. I am about to send a force (small) on his left to demonstrate. I have ordered him to attack any force outside main works. Prisoners all say that they have only militia on our right. If nothing can be done he will return after dark. Yours, respectfully,

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major- General.

Lieut. Col. E. W. Smith,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the James.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 1, 1864—5.45 p. m.

The enemy tried to turn my right flank of skirmish line, which was repulsed handsomely. Enemy opened on the Darby column with two heavy batteries and one field piece, but little musketry. No firing heard from Charles City road. The main line of works is in plain sight and the column is directed toward them. We have only used one section (3-inch). 1 still hold up to their works at Varina junction. Heavy skirmishing.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Lieut. Col. E. W. Smith,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

Before Richmond, October 1, 1864.

The few prisoners taken in our charge on the pickets on the New Market road are all of the militia, quartermaster, naval, &c. General Terry’s advance is at the Powell house on the Central road. A column reported to be a large one is in sight. I will be all prepared on my left near the work.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Lieut. Col. E. W. Smith,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the James.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 1, 1864.

The rebels have evacuated the small battery in front of my left, and have gone, apparently, to the next redoubt toward my right. My picket-line is being advanced. Respectfully,

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General, Commanding.

Lieut. Col. E. W. Smith,

Assistant Adjutant-General, General Butler’s Headquarters.

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps,

October 2, 1864—12.35 p. m.

The attack of the enemy on my skirmish line has been repulsed. The prisoners are from Pickett’s division and left the Bluff last night. They represent that a large force is advancing down the New Market road. Forces from Beauregard, Ewell, and under General Ewell.

D. B. BIRNEY,

Major-General.

Major-General Butler.

Addenda.

General Orders, No. 25. } Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, In the Field, Fussell’s Mill, Va., August 19,1864.

The major-general commanding congratulates the Tenth Army Corps on its success. It has on each occasion when ordered, broken the enemy’s strong lines, and has captured during this short campaign, 4

siege guns, protected by the most formidable works, 6 colors, and many prisoners. It has proved itself worthy of its old Wagner and Sumter renown.

Much fatigue, patience, and heroism may still be demanded of it, but the major-general commanding is confident of the response.

To the colored troops, recently added to us and fighting with us, the major-general commanding tenders his thanks for their uniform good conduct and soldierly bearing, setting a good example to our veterans, by the entire absence of straggling on the march.

By command of Maj. Gen. D. B. Birney:

ED. W. SMITH, 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 677-681

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