Number 241. Appomattox Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Potter, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, commanding First Brigade

   

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in Appomattox Campaign Reports (95)

No. 241. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Potter, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, commanding First Brigade.1

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., INDEPENDENT DIV., 24TH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, April 2, 1865.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the following part taken by my command in the action of this day:

The One hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry was left on the skirmish line at Hatcher’s Run, and did not join me in time to take part in the action here. It, however, did good service there, the account of which I hereby annex.*

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*See No. 242, p. 1219.

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I moved with the One hundred and sixteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry from Hatcher’s Run about 8 a. m.; came on to the field in front of Fort Gregg, a very strong position held by the enemy. My command supported General Foster’s division, of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps, advancing with him as he advanced. I found some rebel pickets behind an entrenched line,w ho annoyed my flank at first. I advanced by an oblique movement to the right, and then by a left half-wheel succeeded in placing one regiment of my command on the southern front of the fort. This gave me a direct fire on this front, and an enfilading one on the westerly front. We advanced rapidly without firing till we reached a road some fifty yards from the fort, when we lay down and poured in a rapid and accurate fire. We suffered severely in reaching this point, but once there had the best of it. After lying here some twenty-five minutes and succeeding in a great measure in silencing the enemy’s fire, we charged the works and placed our colors on the parapet among the first. The attack was gallantly made and most stubbornly resisted. The enemy refused to yield till we were fairly within their works. My loss was 1 commissioned officer and 16 men killed, and 63 men wounded. The members of my staff rendered me most efficient aid. Words of praise are unnecessary in speaking of the conduct of either officers or men; the result of their courage speaks sufficiently for them. The fort was found to contain 56 dead rebels, 2 rifled 3-inch guns with caissons and ammunition, some 250 prisoners with arms and equipments.

It gives me great pleasure to forward so good an account of the doings of Lieutenant-Colonel Kellogg, commanding One hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteers Infantry. The two guns taken by him were taken from General Milroy at Winchester. The colors of regiment were taken at the same time. The flags are old offenders, and furnish their own history.

Respectfully submitted.

A. POTTER,
Lieutenant Colonel Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, Commanding Brigade.

Captain C. H. HURD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Independent Division.

HDQRS. 1ST BRIG., INDEPENDENT DIV., 24TH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, April 4, 1865.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the night of April 2 I placed the One hundred and sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry on picket in front of my brigade. I instructed Lieutenant-Colonel Teters, commanding, to post his vedettes well up to the enemy’s works. He reports that at about 4 a. m., finding that the enemy had abandoned the works, he advanced a portion of his skirmish line into the fort. He found about sixty stand of arms and a small quantity of tobacco. He was in the works before the artillery opened.

Respectfully submitted.

A. POTTER,
Lieutenant Colonel Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, Commanding Brigade.

Captain C. H. HURD,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., SECOND DIV., 24TH ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Richmond, Va., April 25, 1865.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the part taken by my command in the several actions which occurred after leaving Petersburg until the surrender of the enemy’s forces at Appomattox Court-House, April 9:

In obedience to orders received from division headquarters, I ordered the One hundred and twenty-third Ohio, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Kellogg, to report at those headquarters at 5 a. m. April 6. The regiment with other troops was sent to High Bridge, which crosses Bush Creek in the vicinity of Farmville. When within half a mile of the bridge they were attacked in the rear by the enemy, who was near with his whole force. A sharp engagement at once began, which was continued till every round of ammunition was expended. The men fought splendidly, driving the enemy back nearly a mile. There was no thought of surrendering till the ammunition gave out, when they were compelled to yield and the whole regiment became prisoners.* A few subsequently escaped. the balance were subsequently paroled by General Lee at the time of his surrender. In this action the regiment had 1 officer, Capt J. F. Randolph, and 6 men wounded. The rest of the command moved with the division from Burkeville about 11 a. m. the same day, striking the enemy at Rice’s Station in the afternoon of the 6th. I immediately sent forward three companies as skirmishers, who were sharply engaged with the enemy’s line till dark. My loss was 1 man killed and 5 wounded. The enemy left during the night, the pursuit being resumed at daylight next morning. April 7, we encamped at Farmville. April 8, we reached the railroad near Appomattox Court-House, having marched nearly thirty miles that day. Early on the morning of the 9th we moved out and soon came upon the enemy at said court-house. The brigade was formed in line of battle, connecting with the Third Brigade on the right and the Second on the left. Two companies were sent forward as skirmishers, the brigade following in line of battle. Though under fire the brigade was not actively engaged, the enemy retreating faster than we could follow. When near Appomattox Court-House hostilities were suspended. The enemy’s force was soon after surrendered by General Lee. We remained in camp till April 12, when we moved to Lynchburg. After destroying the stores at this point we returned to Burkeville, and from thence reached this place April 25, 1865, being just one month since we broke camp on the James.

I cannot conclude this, I hope, last report without bearing testimony to the uniform good conduct of the brigade while on the march and in battle. They have marched cheerfully and without murmuring, and have fought without a suspicion of defeat. Soldiers animated by such feelings are invincible.

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

A. POTTER,
Lieutenant Colonel Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Vol. Infantry, Commanding

[Captain C. H. HURD,
Assistant Adjutant-General.]

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*The number captured is not of record, and they are not included in table, p. 595.

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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. 1216-1218

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