Number 306. Petersburg Campaign Report of Lieutenant Charles R. Doane, Fourth New Jersey Battery, of operations August 14-18

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 306. Report of Lieutenant Charles R. Doane, Fourth New Jersey Battery, of operations August 14-18.1

FOURTH NEW JERSEY BATTERY LIGHT ARTILLERY,
August 20, 1864.

COLONEL: In obedience to your orders of this date I have the honor to report as follows:

Having crossed the river on the morning of the 14th, reported to Brigadier-General Birney, commanding Second Division, Tenth Army Corps, and on the 15th, by his order, took up the line of march. Slightly before noon of his day was ordered into position on a knoll some 800 yards from the rebel lines, and affording, though an exposed position and extremely soft soil, a fine range on their works. The enemy immediately opened with four 12-pounder guns, and being ordered to return their fire, I engaged them sharply with my full battery. Firing steadily and as rapidly as consistent with accuracy, soon had the satisfaction of seeing the shot of the opposing battery gradually decrease in frequently, and at length of knowing that it had been forced to leave its position altogether. This engagement lasted one hour and a half, and in consideration of the mask of the enemy’s guns and the perfect openness of my own position, gave abundant evidence to the oft-mentioned fact that the Confederate service can make no boast of her artillerists. I fired 120 rounds, chiefly of shell and spherical case. The ammunition exploded well and must have inflicted considerable injury. Loss, 1 lieutenant and 2 privates wounded, and 2 horses killed. The battery was supported by a portion of Colonel Pond’s brigade, number of regiment not known. My men worked splendidly and yielding soil. Toward evening a section of my command was ordered to the right and placed by the chief of artillery, who had in the meantime arrived and assumed direction of his arm of service.

Tuesday, August 16. Early on this day my remaining four guns were moved by section to the right, and placed in battery, by order of the above-mentioned officer, slightly to the left of the section drawn off the day before. The opposing line at this point presented a breast-work lined with sharpshooters, and having in its rear a house, whose shelter and elevated windows gave protection and opportunity for many more. Opened from this position on the house and work mentioned until the first had been cleared of its inmates and partially demolished. Through the entire day kept up a fire more or less frequent from all my guns,

including the section on the right, commanded by Lieutenant Morris. This section, having been advanced considerably, had taken position on an eminence and slightly enfiladed the enemy’s position. During this day fired a little over 1,000 rounds of shell, case, canister and shot, with marked effect. Loss, 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, and 5 men dangerously wounded, 5 men slightly wounded, and 11 horses disabled. Supported by the Seventh U. S. Colored Troops, stationed in rear of the right section and to the left and rear of the four guns remaining, after night-fall removed my entire battery, by command of Colonel McGilvery, and went into park a short distance to the rear, horses remaining in harness, and men sleeping by guns.

Thursday, August 18. Ordered to break park at 4 p.m., and marched again to the ground occupied on the 16th. A heavy musketry fire being in progress in the wood in my front, was ordered to fire with spherical case and opened with a good elevation and length of fuse. Fired ninety-three rounds of this ammunition and solid shot, being much interrupted by officers and men of the One hundredth New York Volunteers and [First] Maryland (dismounted) Cavalry, who persisted in getting in front of my guns as they hurried to the rear. No casualties during this engagement.

Yours, respectfully,

CHAS. R. DOANE,
First Lieutenant, Commanding Fourth New Jersey Battery Light Artillery.

Colonel F. McGILVERY,
Chief of Artillery, Tenth 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 785-786

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