No. 26. Report of Colonel George W. Scott, Sixty-first New York Infantry, commanding First Brigade.1
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, SECOND CORPS,
April 10, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report of operations-part taken by this brigade-during the recent campaign:
The command broke camp in the morning of the 29th of March, marching with the division, via Vaughan road, across and beyond Hatcher’s Run, taking position to north of the road and near Gravelly Run, Twenty-sixth Michigan and One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers deployed as skirmishers, the rest of the brigade line of battle connecting on the right with Third Division and on left with Third Brigade, First Division, keeping this connection advanced in line, halting about dark, and bivouacked. On the 30th the brigade advanced in line, the Fifth New Hampshire being advanced as skirmishers, the connections being the same as day before. About noon my skirmishers struck the enemy took refuge within his main work on the run. The One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers and Twenty-sixth Michigan were deployed, relieving the Fifth New Hampshire. These two regiments continually engaged the enemy until dark. Here the command threw up temporary works. 1 a. m. 31st of March the brigade moved by the left flank, taking up position to the west of Boydton road, and relieving a brigade of the Fifth Corps. 10 a. m. the Fifth Corps being heavily engaged with the enemy to our left, the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers were ordered to advance in our front, and moving to the left soon struck the enemy. The brigade was then advanced in line, being relieved in our old position by De Trobriand’s brigade, of the Third Brigade, First Division. After sundry changes of front and position, severe skirmishing with the enemy, and enduring heavy fire from their artillery, the brigade was finally placed in position to the left of the Fourth Brigade, and connecting with Crawford’s division, Fifth Corps, near White Oak road. Here the command threw up works.
April 1, daylight, fell back to works on Boydton road, near Gravelly Run, left resting on run, right connecting with Fourth Brigade. 5 p.
m., advanced Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers as skirmishers, brigade following in line, connecting on right with Fourth Brigade. Moved forward one mile and a half, reoccupying the works near White Oak road, Twenty-sixth Michigan being here advanced as skirmishers, and heavily engaging the enemy, my picket-line now consisting of the Twenty-sixth Michigan, part of Fifth New Hampshire, and Sixty-first New York Volunteers, while my skirmish line engaged the enemy and repulsed him.
1 a. m. April 2 the rest of the brigade, except the Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, moved, with the division, down the White Oak road (having ascertained that the road was clear of the enemy, by a scouting party from the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers), and made a junction with the Fifth Corps and cavalry under General Sheridan, the Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers following the division as rear guard. April 2, 6 a. m. returned with the division up the White Oak road to near position occupied the night previous; formed line to west of road, and on left of Fourth Brigade, the Second and Third Brigades being in the advance; soon found that the enemy was evacuating his works and was falling back. The brigade was moved by the flank, passing through the enemy’s main works. About 12 m. the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers and Second New York Artillery were detached as skirmishers, but the enemy being driven from our front by other brigades of the division, this brigade was assembled and moved rapidly forward, and covering the South Side Railroad. 4 p. m., me the advance of the Second Division. 5 p. m., marched with the division and went into bivouac near Southerland’s Station, on railroad and on the River road.
April 3, sent Twenty-sixth Michigan out on a scout; they captured 5 commissioned officers and 29 enlisted men.
April 3, 4, and 5, continued to march with the division in pursuit of Lee’s army; went into bivouac 6 p. m., near Danville railroad, night of the 5th.
April 6, marched by the flank at daybreak toward Amelia Court-House. 9 a. m., the Twenty-sixth Michigan was detached to cover a road leading from our flank. 10 a. m., brigade formed line, and under cover of our artillery fire advanced rapidly in pursuit of the enemy and their train of wagons, visible in the distance; made connection on the left with Third Division; keeping this connection the brigade made several gallant charges; finally, 5 p. m., when nearing Monkey Run, the brigade made a gallant and successful charge, capturing 4 battle-flags, 2 guns, a large wagon train, and many prisoners; immediately advanced across the run and took up position, facing the enemy, to the left, connecting on the right with the Second Division, Second Corps; bivouacked here for the night.
April 7, moved at daylight with the division, following closely the retreating enemy; crossed the Appomattox at High Bridge, and, moving to the left of the railroad, passed to the north of Farmville, the Fifth New Hampshire being deployed as skirmishers and flankers. We struck the enemy near Cumberland Church, driving in his outpost. The brigade formed line of battle connecting on the left with the Third Brigade. The Twenty-sixth Michigan and One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers were then advanced to our right and front as skirmishers; the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, having expended most of their ammunition upon the skirmish line, were now relieved by the Sixty-first New York Volunteers. About 3 p. m. the remainder of
the brigade, Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, Second New York Artillery, and six companies Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers were, by direction of the general commanding the division, moved to the right, and here made a most gallant charge upon the enemy’s works; but after repeated and persevering assaults we were, owing to the greatly superior force of the enemy, flanked and repulsed, my command at one time being within fifteen paces of the enemy’s main works. In this charge we lost many brave officers and men killed and wounded, one color (Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers), and a few men captured; the color was, however, recaptured at the surrender of Lee’s army, and is now again int he possession of the regiment. The regiments of the brigade while on the skirmish line at this time suffered severely, the Sixty-first New York Volunteers, the Twenty-sixth Michigan, and the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers losing heavily, though maintaining their ground until relieved by the Second and Third Divisions. At dark bivouacked near the battle-field.
April 8, the brigade continued the pursuit of the retreating enemy, halting at dark, but almost immediately resumed the march in pursuit. Halting about six miles beyond New Store, on Lynchburg road, bivouacked for the night.
April 9, resumed march in pursuit of the enemy. By direction of the division commander a regiment (Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers) was sent out on either flank to forage upon the country. 11 a. m., the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, being in advance as skirmishers, came upon the enemy’s pickets. The command was here halted and formed in line awaiting negotiation between the two armies, affecting a surrender of the rebel force. 2 p. m., again advanced a short distance, were again halted; here the Sixty-first New York were also deployed as skirmishers, and the Twenty-sixth Michigan as flankers. The Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers now rejoined the column, bringing in about thirty prisoners and a few broken down mules, horses, &c. 4 p. m., news of the surrender of Lee’s army was now received. This welcome intelligence was received by the troops amid acclamations of the wildest excitement and most intense joy.
The men who compose this noble old veteran brigade may well be proud of the part taken by them in this well as in each and all of the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. Our successes have cost us the loss of many good soldiers, officers and men. Prominent among the many brave, we mourn the loss of Captain I. H. Boyd, brigade inspector, killed upon the 7th instant. On the same day were wounded Captains Ricker, Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, acting aides-de-camp. These two officers were particularly distinguishable at all times for their gallantry in action.
The entire loss of the brigade during this short and decisive campaign will number in all about 650.
5 p. m., assembled the skirmish line, forming a picket-line covering the division front and left flank. Remained in this position during the night.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. SCOTT,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel R. A. BROWN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.
- 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. 714-716 ↩
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