No. 140. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Hill, Sixth Maryland Infantry.1
HDQRS. SIXTH REGIMENT MARYLAND VOLUNTEERS,
April 16, 1865
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to transmit the following detailed report of the operations of this command from the storming of the enemy’s works south of Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865, to the 13th instant, when the corps arrived at this place and encamped;
On the morning of the 2nd instant we filed out of our main works and formed the center of the first battle line of the Second Brigade, the One hundred and tenth Ohio Volunteers, on our right and the One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, on our left. At our about 5 a.m. the command to advance was given, and the line moved forward, completely routing and capturing the entire picket-line of the enemy in our front, after which this command dashed forward and succeeded in planting the first colors on the enemy’s works in our front, supported for some minutes by a small band, consisting of six officers and about twenty men, during which time Major C. K. Prentiss, Captain Thomas Ocker, First Lieutenant Thomas Duff, and Second Lieutenant Thomas H. Goldsborough were severely wounded. The regiment being formed, we charged straight down the enemy’s works, capturing many prisoners and assisted in capturing a battery of four guns, which were immediately turned upon capturing a battery of four guns, which were immediately turned upon the flying foe. The colors of the above-named battery were surrendered to First Lieutenant Samuel W. Angel, of this command. We then charged the second battery, and, in conjunction with parts of many different commands, succeeded in driving the enemy from their guns, but being unsupported were driven from their works, after a stubborn resistance, and were compelled to fall back to the battery being worked by a detachment of the Ninth New York Artillery. During this temporary reverse First Lieutenant Samuel W. Angel was mortally wounded while attempting to rally his men. We again formed, with other portions of the brigade, and retook the above-named battery. While forming the line for this charge First Lieutenant A. F. Rittenhouse was severely wounded in the leg. Our total loss during this engagement was, 6 officers wounded, 3 enlisted men killed, and 19 enlisted men wounded.
I take great pleasure in calling attention to the gallant and meritorious conduct of both officers and men of this command on that momentous occasion. I cannot close this report without calling your attention to the gallant and meritorious conduct of the following-named officers and soldiers on that occasion; Major C. K. Prentiss, Adjt. J. L. Mahan, Captain John J. Bradshaw, they being the first officers in the enemy’s works; also Captain John G. Simpers, Captain Thomas Ocker, First Lieutenant Thomas Duff, First Lieutenant Samuel W. Angel, First Lieutenant Charles G. Feichtner, First Lieutenant A. F. Rittenhouse, Second Lieutenant Thomas H. Goldsborough, Second Lieutenant O. H. P. Mathias; also Color-Sergt. Daniel Tatum, Company I, Color-Corpl. William J. Brown, Company K, Color-Corpl. Jesse Arnold, Company C, for planting the first colors on the enemy’s works; First Sergt. Samuel Kearney, Company I, for picking up the State colors after Corporal Brown was wounded and planting them on the enemy’s fort; Private Alexander Burleigh, Company B, for shooting down a rebel engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Captain John J. Bradshaw. There are many other instances of courage and bravery displayed by the offices and men of this command, but time and space will not permit of noticing them.
We then formed with our brigade and moved to the right of our line and took position; remained in line until the morning of the 3rd, when we took up line of march with our gallant corps in pursuit of the fleeing enemy.
On the afternoon of the 6th instant, after a hard days’ march, found the enemy at Sailor’s Creek. This command, in connection with the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, charged the enemy’s skirmish line and drove them through the swamp across the creek, capturing a number of prisoners. We then formed for the grand charge in rear of the First Division of our corps. The command forward was given, and we plunged into the swamp, driving the enemy before us. For a short time there was a temporary reverse, owing to a portion of the line of the First Division breaking, and several of this command were captured by the enemy, including myself, but, owing to the cavalry getting in the rear of the enemy, we succeeded in escaping, capturing our captors and bringing them into our lines. The prisoners thus captured were 5 field officers, several line officers, and about 150 men. In this engagement we lost, in killed none, 4 enlisted men wounded.
I take great pleasure in calling attention to the distinguished bravery of the following-named officers and soldiers during this engagement: Captain John J. Bradshaw, Adjt. Joseph L. Mahan, Captain John G. Simpers, Captain Charles A. Damuth, First Lieutenant Charles G. Feichtner, First Lieutenant Nelson McDowell, Second Lieutenant O. H. P. Mathias; also Color-Sergt. Daniel Tatum, Color-Corpl. Jesse Arnold, Sergt. Major Frederick Boltze, Corpl. John Traver, Corpl. William Freeze, Corpl. Joseph Baxter, Private Peter Staup, Private Josiah E. Willhide, Company D, Sergt. John E. Buffington, Company C, First Sergt. John D. Hall, Company B, Corpl. Henry Clinton, Company F, Sergt. Peter Stone, Company I, Privates Samuel F. Barrett, Albert T. Gregg, and Nathan Tyson, Company G-for unsurpassed bravery in rushing forward into the enemy’s lines and capturing many prisoners. In fact, the entire command behaved in a manner worthy of praise and admiration.
After our brigade was formed we rested for the night near the scene of our great conquest.
On the morning of the 7th took up line of march with our corps in pursuit of the enemy, nothing of importance transpiring until the afternoon of the 9th, when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Lieutenant-General Grant, near Appomattox Court-House. We remained in camp rejoicing over our brilliant series of victories until the evening of the 10th, when we were ordered to guard the ammunition train back to Burkville Station, at which place we arrived on the morning of the 13th instant and went into camp.
In conclusion, allow me to say I am proud of the little band I have the honor to command, and I am sure the State and country at large has reason to be proud of such a brave and noble set of men.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully,
J. C. HILL,
Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Sixth Regiment Maryland Volunteers.
Captain W. L. SHAW,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
- 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. 1000-1001 ↩
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