Number 104. Appomattox Report of Bvt. Brigadier General Charles S. Wainwright, First New York Light Artillery, commanding Artillery Brigade

   

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No. 104. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General Charles S. Wainwright, First New York Light Artillery, commanding Artillery Brigade.1

HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY BRIGADE,
April 21, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit herewith my report of the part taken by this command in the campaign ending with the surrender of the rebel Army of Northern Virginia.

In accordance with orders four batteries – Fifth Massachusetts, C, E, and L, First New York – were detached from the brigade, with their proportion of the quartermaster and ordnance train, and placed under the immediate command of Bvt. Major Charles A. Phillips, with directions to report to General Tidball on the morning of the 29th of March. No

report of the part taken by these batteries in the assault on the enemy’s lines in front of Petersburg has yet been received at these headquarters. On the morning of the 29th of March the remaining five batteries – viz, B, Fourth United States, D and G, Fifth United States; B, D, and H, First New York Artillery – moved with the corps, at 3 a. m., from the neighborhood of the Armstrong house, taking the old stage road to thee crossing of Rowanty Creek, near the Perkins house, and then to the junction of the Vaughan and Quaker roads. In the afternoon the corps moved down the Quaker road toward the Boydton plank road, the First Division leading, with Mitchell’s battery (B, Fourth United States) and Rawles’ (D and G, Fifth United States) following the Second Brigade. The two leading brigades had just entered the wood beyond the Lewis house, about one mile from the junction of the Quaker and Boydton roads, when the enemy charged and drove our men from the cover after a protracted resistance. The two batteries following were detained by timber felled in the road, but this was removed sufficiently to enable Lieutenant Mitchell to get his four guns through just as our men fell back. Lieutenant Mitchell brought his battery into position at a gallop, placing two pieces on each side of the Lewis house, and contributed materially to the repulse of the enemy, with heavy loss. His two left pieces came into position within close canister range of the enemy’s advancing lines.

I regret to report that Lieutenant Mitchell was severely wounded in the right arm during the engagement. The battery also lost 1 man killed and 3 wounded. None of the other batteries were engaged this day.

March 30, before daylight the line held by the corps was pushed forward to the junction of the Boydton and Quaker roads, Rawles’ and Vose’s (late Mitchell’s) batteries being placed in position at the junction. During the day Battery D, First New York, under Lieutenant Johnson, was posted on the left of the Rainey house, so as to cover that part of our line extending along the Boydton plank road. The right of the line being thrown forward on the Boydton road some 600 yards, Rawles’ and Vose’s were moved with it and posted to command a small wood road which came in from the left. In the afternoon the enemy made an attempt at this point, but were easily repulsed, the two batteries doing efficient service.

March 31. The line held by the Fifth Corps was this morning taken up by a portion of the Second Corps, and the Second and Third Divisions were pushed out across the country to the White Oak road. Mink’s battery (H, First New York) and Johnson’s (D, First New York) were placed in position on the left of the line, to command the crossing of Gravelly Run by the Boydton road, Rawles and Vose remaining on the Second Corps line. The Second and Third Divisions being driven back in considerable confusion from the White Oak road, Mink and Johnson were advanced as rapidly as possible through the woods to positions commanding the crossing of two small streams. The position taken up by Major Mink was an excellent one, commanding a small open field and the woods beyond, through which the enemy were advancing. His practice was most admirable, and inflicted severe loss on the enemy. That of Johnson’s battery was almost completely in the woods, and the enemy did not come within fair view of his pieces.

April 1 to 9. On the 1st the Fifth Corps joined Sheridan’s cavalry and fought the battle of Five Forks. Neither in this action nor at any time since have any of the batteries been engaged. On the 9th Rogers and Mink were just going into position to open on the enemy’s trains when the white flag was seen coming into our lines.

The marching during these nine days was the most severe I have known in all the campaigns of this army. The roads were for the most part deep with mud; and the Fifth Corps, operating most of the time with the cavalry, constantly traversed the country by by-roads, on marches averaging from twenty to thirty miles a day.

Though the events of the campaign have called for but little use of artillery in action, the rapid marching and bad roads have necessitated incessant labor on the part of the battery officers, and still more on the part of those of my staff, to all of whom I am indebted for valuable services rendered.

Following in support of the cavalry, this corps has done little in the way of picking up abandoned guns and material. At the battle of Five Forks the united corps captured five 3-inch regulation guns of United States manufacture and three caissons. These guns I had hauled to Warren’s Station, and turned over to the quartermaster there for transportation to City Point. The caissons were destroyed.

On the 3rd of April three light 12-pounder guns were found abandoned in a swamp near Namozine Creek, which I hauled up to General Sheridan’s headquarters and turned over to his quartermaster.

I submit herewith report of casualties, losses, and expenditures on the campaign.*

Report of expenditures of ammunition in Artillery Brigade, Fifth Army Corps, from March 28, 1865, to April 10, 1865.

a No material lost.

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* Nominal list of casualties (here omitted) shows 3 men killed and 1 officer and 9 men wounded. Loss of horses reported as follows: 7 killed, 1 wounded, 2 stolen, 29 abandoned, and 36 died of disease; total, 75.

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Report of material lost from March 28 to April 10, 1865, &c.-Continued.

a No material lost.

I remain, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. S. WAINWRIGHT,
Brevet Brigadier-General.

Bvt. Major JOHN N. CRAIG,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), pp. 898-901

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