Number 291. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Colonel Galusha Pennypacker, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations September 28-October 1 and October 27-28

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 291. Reports of Colonel Galusha Pennypacker, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations September 28-October 1 and October 27-28.1

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, SECOND DIV., TENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., October 3, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of instructions from headquarters Second Division, Tenth Army Corps, this brigade, consisting of the Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, Seventy-sixth, Ninety-seventh, and Two hundred and

third Pennsylvania Volunteers, left camp near Petersburg, Va., at 3 p.m. on the 28th of September, and proceeded with the corps to Deep Bottom, on the north side of the James River, where it arrived about 1 a.m. of the 29th instant, after a fatiguing march. It bivouacked at the latter place during the night, outside the entrenchments. On arriving at Deep Bottom the Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers was ordered to report to Brigadier-General Paine for duty. At about 7 a.m. of the 29th the remaining four regiments moved with the division and proceeded to the front on the New Market road toward Richmond. About 12 m. the brigade was ordered to deploy and support Colonel Daggett’s brigade, which was about to charge a position of the enemy which he held near Chaffin’s farm, which maneuver resulted in completely routing the enemy and driving him within his main work. The brigade then reformed, and at 3 p.m. was ordered to take a position on the right of the division, and to assist in the assault on the enemy’s work on Chafin’s farm, about three-quarters of a mile from the position first carried. This assault was unsuccessful, although made with great gallantry. The loss of the brigade in the two assaults was, 6 commissioned officers and 22 enlisted men wounded, 1 enlisted man killed, and 11 men missing. At dusk the brigade fell back about one mile, and was then ordered to report to Brigadier-General Heckman, commanding Eighteenth Army Corps, and was sent on picket about one mile from Aiken’s Landing, where it remained until about 9 p.m. of the 30th, when it was relieved by an order from Major-General Weitzel, commanding Eighteenth Army Corps, and ordered to report to Major-General Birney, commanding Tenth Army Corps. I reported about 11 p.m. and was ordered to bivouac in rear of the Third Brigade of the Second Division, where we remained until the afternoon of the 1st of October, when we were ordered to take position in the entrenchments on the right of General Foster’s line.

With the exception of some unnecessary and disgraceful straggling during the first day’s march, my command has conducted itself during the recent operations in such a manner as to be deserving of much credit.

The officers and men have performed their duties not only promptly, but bravely and well.

Respectfully submitted.

G. PENNYPACKER,
Colonel Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Commanding.

Captain P. A. DAVIS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Tenth Army Corps.

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, SECOND DIV., TENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., October 29, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report for the information of the brigadier-general commanding:

On the morning of the 27th instant my command, composed of the Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, Seventy-sixth and Ninety-seventh and Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, numbering in all 1,200 men, was formed in line in obedience to orders in light marching order at 5 a.m. Following the First Brigade of this division to the Darbytown road, we formed line of battle in rear of the First Brigade, right resting on the road. As soon as the line was formed the First Brigade commenced moving to the front. I war directed to move

forward at the same time. We advanced about 300 yards when we were halted, and I was ordered to deploy a strong line of skirmishers to cover our right flank, which I did by sending out the Seventy-sixth and one company of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. This latter force was deployed, moved forward, and succeeded in driving the enemy from and gaining an old line of rebel works, which was at once occupied. The right of my skirmish line was now resting at some buildings near the before-mentioned line, and the left on the Darbytown road. I then moved my command by the flank down the Darbytown road to near the woods, and then by file left down the edge of the woods and back to near its last position. My line remained here until about 3 p.m., when four companies of the Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Major Harding, were reported to Colonel Bell, commanding Third Brigade. At the same time the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers and one company of the Forty-seventh New York Volunteers were sent out as skirmishers, and deployed to the left of Colonel Curtis’ line. The remainder of the command moved forward and formed in line near the edge of the woods in rear of the First Brigade. At the time the First and Third Brigades charged the enemy’s works, the Seventy-sixth and Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers and Major Harding’s battalion, of the Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, were hotly engaged, meeting with considerable loss. About 9 p.m. the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, the one company of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, and the four companies of the Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, were relieved from duty on the right and ordered to join the brigade, which now took position in rear of the line of rebel works we were holding. It remained here until 2 p.m. of the 28th, when, in obedience to orders, we returned to camp and occupied the line of works previously held by this command. The Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers had been relieved in the meantime on the skirmish line by the Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, which latter regiment fell back as skirmishers when the main line retired.

Much credit is due Lieutenant Colonel J. S. Littell, commanding Seventy-sixth, and Captain G. W. Hawkins, commanding Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. The former was with his command during the entire day, which was holding the right of the skirmish line of this division. The latter, whose command occupied the left of the skirmish line, fell severely wounded while advancing his regiment on the left of Colonel Curtis’ line and has since died.

I deem it no injustice to others to particularly notice as worthy of mention Colonel J. W. Moore, commanding Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Captain J. M. McDonald, commanding Forty-seventh New York Volunteers.

My thanks are due to Caps. Charles W. Gallaer and Abijah S. Pell, Forty-seventh New York Volunteers; Second Lieutenant I. E. Smith, One hundred and fifteenth New York Volunteers, and First Lieutenant James Scott, Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, of my staff, for efficient services rendered. There was no straggling, and all officers and men behaved with coolness and bravery.

Respectfully submitted.

G. PENNYPACKER,
Colonel Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Commanding.

Captain T. E. LORD,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Tenth Army Corps.

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 766-768

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