Number 292. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Colonel Louis Bell, Fourth New Hampshire Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations September 28-October 1 and October 27-28

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 292. Reports of Colonel Louis Bell, Fourth New Hampshire Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations September 28-October 1 and October 27-28.1

HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, SECOND DIV., TENTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Richmond, Va., October 3, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In accordance with circular dated headquarters Second Division, Tenth Army Corps, before Richmond, Va., October 3, 1864, I have the honor to report the operations of this command from the 28th day of September to October 1, 1864.

The Third Brigade, Second Division, Tenth Army Corps, left position near Petersburg September 28, at 3 p.m., and reached Deep Bottom at 3 a.m. September 29. At 5 a.m. same day followed Second Brigade on the New Market road. At about 9 a.m. formed brigade line of battle and followed Second Brigade in an assault on a section of the enemy’s artillery and the supporting troops. This force having been scattered, I moved to the left and formed line at right angles to the line of our previous advance. At 3 p.m. received an order to assault a work in our front, moving on the left of First Brigade. The distance to the fort was over half a mile, across three ravines, filled with fallen trees. Along the whole distance two works of the enemy on our right enfiladed our line with artillery. When we had nearly reached the fort we received so severe and continuous a fire of musketry and canister shot that we were driven back about 200 yards. A colored regiment joining us, I advanced my force again and was again repulsed. I moved back to my position before the assault, sending out skirmishers to cover the parties bringing off the wounded. Casualties, 11 officers and 132 enlisted men. At dark I moved back to the right of the position the brigade now occupies. September 30, I moved to my present position. Since then have been employed in strengthening the works along my front. During the day I advanced my picket-line. Casualties, 4.

I have the honor to be, captain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

LOUIS BELL,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain B. B. KEELER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Tenth Army Corps.

HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, SECOND DIV., TENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Richmond, October 29, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with order from division headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the operations of October 27 and 28:

My command moved at 5 a.m. October 27, following the Second Brigade, and first formed line of battle, the right resting on the Darbytown road. After moving twice to avoid the artillery fire of the enemy, I sent all my command, except the Ninth Maine Volunteers, out as skirmishers, keeping up a heavy fire on the enemy, who was in gopher holes some 400 yards in front of his main works. At 4 p.m. I received orders to advance my skirmish line and drive the enemy from the gopher holes,

and in case I did not develop a heavy fire from the enemy’s main works I should attack the main line. I formed the Ninth Maine Volunteers, supported by four companies of the Two hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, to assault the main works, and ordered the left of the skirmish line (composed of the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers and a part of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers) forward three different times before they moved. I then ordered the right of the skirmish line forward and carried the line of gopher holes, meeting little resistance from the enemy, and developing but a small fire from the main line. The assaulting party moved forward till it reached the best of woods in front of the enemy’s line where it was met by a fire from four pieces of artillery and a sharp musketry fire, which increased in severity as we approached the works. Keeping on we carried a second line of gopher holes, but were here met by a fire of such severity as to break the assaulting force, which fell back in confusion. We rallied the men after falling back to the first line of gopher holes taken form the enemy, and there, in obedience to orders, after bringing off the dead and wounded, moved back the line of works near corps headquarters, where we remained through the night, our picket occupying the captured gopher holes. It is proper to state that the assaulting force was composed of men who had never been under fire before, with the exception of a very few of the Ninth Maine Volunteers.

On the 28th my command remained where it passed the night. When the corps moved back to our lines my command acted as rear guard.

Total number of casualties killed and wounded: Killed, 8; wounded, 58.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

LOUIS BELL,
Colonel Fourth New Hampshire Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.

Captain T. E. LORD,
Acting 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 769-770

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