Number 230. Appomattox Report of Colonel Harrison S. Fairchild, Eighty-ninth New York Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade

   

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No. 230. Report of Colonel Harrison S. Fairchild, Eighty-ninth New York Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade.1

HDQRS. FOURTH BRIG., FIRST DIV., 24TH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Appomattox Court-House.

MAJOR: In pursuance to your instructions dated April 13, 1865, I have the honor to report:

This brigade left Deep Bottom, where it was encamped, on the evening of the 27th of March, crossed the James and Appomattox Rivers, and continued our march without interruption, arriving at Humphreys’ Station at about 10 a. m. March 29. I was ordered by the general commanding to relieve General Mott’s division with my brigade, and occupy his entire line and relieve his pickets. I detailed 610 privates, 87 non-commissioned officers, and 23 commissioned officers, with Colonel J. B. Murray, One hundred and forty-eighth New York Volunteers, as brigade officer of the day, in command of the line. On the morning of the 30th of March the enemy attacked the pickets of the Third Brigade and a portion of my line on the left occupied by the Fifty-fifth pennsylvania and One hundred and forty-eighth New York Volunteers. The Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania advanced gallantly through an open field, and established a new line near the enemy’s works. At evening the balance of the brigade was ordered out of the trenches, and formed line of battle at right angles with the entrenched works, connecting with General Birney’s right. On the morning of the 31st I re-enforced my picket-line

with 100 men. The picket-line of this brigade charged the enemy’s pickets, capturing their rifle-pits and 280 prisoners, mostly North Carolina troops. On the afternoon of the 31st two regiments of colored troops of General Birney’s division were ordered to report to me. They were placed in line in rear of this brigade, and 700 men, properly officered, detailed from these two regiments for fatigue duty. They immediately commenced throwing up breast-works, the balance forming in line, connecting with General Birney’s troops. My brigade was then relieved, excepting the picket-line, and returned to camp.

April 2, this brigade was ordered to fall in and march toward the lookout to support General Wright, of the Sixth Corps, who had penetrated the enemy’s lines. We marched in the following order: First Brigade, Colonel Osborn; Third Brigade, Colonel Dandy; and Fourth Brigade. I was ordered to support First and Third Brigades and General Harris, of General Turner’s division. When approaching Forts Gregg and Baldwin I formed and advanced in line of battle within 200 yards of Fort Gregg, when orders were sent to send a supporting force to assist Colonel Dandy’s (Third) brigade and Colonel Osborn’s (First) brigade to carry the fort. I immediately detached the Eighty-ninth New York, under command of Major Tremain, and One hundred and fifty-eighth New York Volunteers, under command of Major Kalt (Colonel McNary, of this regiment, being brigade officer of the day in command of the picket-line, and who had not come up). The two regiments advanced most gallantly, under a heavy fire, and deployed on the left of the fort, the Eighty-ninth leading. The officers and men of these regiments were first to enter the fort, and placed their colors on the parapet. The Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, on the left, advanced and occupied Fort Baldwin.

In this engagement I lost two efficient and brave officers-Major F. W. Tremain, Eighty-ninth New York, and Lieutenant Edward Reilly, acting adjutant One hundred and fifty-eighth New York Volunteers.

Before daylight on the morning of the 2nd, while the Sixth Corps were engaged, the picket-line of my brigade, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel McNary, One hundred and fifty-eighth New York Volunteers, advanced inside the abatis and laid down under the enemy’s works, and as the Sixth Corps advanced they charged the works, capturing 300 prisoners, one six-gun battery, horses, harness, and appurtenances, two battle-flags, all of which was turned over to the provost-marshal of the Sixth Corps.

On the morning of the 6th [3rd] of April commenced the march toward Burkeville and Lynchburg. No incident occurred until we had passed Burkeville and had arrived at Rice’s Station. This brigade leading the column, the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania was deployed as skirmishers, flankers, and advanced guard. We found the enemy had made a stand at this point. By order of the general commanding division I immediately deployed this brigade, advanced and engaged the enemy, driving their skirmishers back and holding the position, and the Sixty-seventh Ohio, Colonel Voris commanding, was ordered to report to me, who were deployed to protect my right flank. During the night I advanced the left of my line 200 yards toward the enemy’s works, and entrenched the entire line of my brigade front. On the morning of the 7th it was discovered that the enemy had evacuated their position and was it retreat. This brigade advanced in line of battle to their works and occupied them. We then marched toward Appomattox Court-House, arriving between 8 and 9 a. m. on the 9th instant. The march

being too rapid for the enemy he was obliged to make a stand at this point. This brigade participated in the action. The Eighth Maine Regiment, of this brigade, under command of Captain E. H. Reynolds, was detached, by order of the general commanding, to support the First Brigade, Colonel Osborn, and was in the advance of all troops of this division when General Lee surrendered, capturing one piece of artillery.

I inclose a list of casualties* of this brigade and the reports of regimental commanders, which give the details and incidents of the march, and who make mention of officers and men of their commands, which, with this report, is respectfully submitted.

I desire to make mention of officers and men of my brigade whose bravery and gallantry came under my immediate notice. Major Tremain, commanding Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, and killed at Fort Gregg; Actg. Adjt. J. E. Northrup, Eighty-ninth New York, who asking who would follow him into the fort, three privates responded, and they went in together, followed by the troops of both regiments; also Major H. Kalt, One hundred and fifty-eighth New York Volunteers, commanding, and Acting Adjutant Reilly, killed in the action. The officers and men of these two regiments did nobly. Also the members of my staff-Lieutenant J. E. Palmer, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain Hewett, acting assistant inspector-general; Lieutenant Horn, acting aide-de-camp. Captain Hewett was wounded at the fight at Rice’s Station, and was obliged to leave the field. Lieutenant Palmer and Lieutenant Horn performing the staff duties, hey acquitted themselves nobly, being at all points of the line under fire, displaying great courage and coolness during the engagement of the brigade. Lieutenant Palmer being taken sick on the march, on the 8th instant, Lieutenant Horn was the only staff officer in the action of the 9th.

Too much praise cannot be given to both officers and men of this command for promptness and cheerfulness in enduring the fatiguing marches, and to the commanders for keeping their men well in hand, with no straggling of any account on the march.

I am, major, very respectfully,

H. S. FAIRCHILD,
Colonel, Commanding.

Major P. A. DAVIS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

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*Embodied in table, p. 594.

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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. 1202-1204

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