Number 92. Appomattox Reports of Brigadier General Joseph Hayes, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade

   

0 comments

in Appomattox Campaign Reports (95)

No. 92. Reports of Brigadier General Joseph Hayes, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.1

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., SECOND DIV., FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Nottoway Court-House, Va., April 24, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this command from March 29 to April 9, inclusive:

The brigade, under command of Bvt. Brigadier General Fred. Winthrop, moved from camp near Hatcher’s Run at 3 o’clock the morning of the 29th ultimo, and, marching in a southerly direction, reached the Quaker road at 8.30 a. m. After resting until 2 p. m. it again advanced and marched three miles on the same road, when it halted and bivouacked for the night. The distance marched this day was fifteen

miles. On the 30th a reconnaissance was made by this command in front of the position occupied by the Third Division, the skirmishers advancing two miles and a half toward the Dabney house, on the White Oak road. Here the brigade bivouacked for the night after marching a distance of five miles. At 11 a. m. the 31st ultimo, the brigade being formed in line of battle, advanced and attacked the enemy in his entrenched position upon the White Oak road. After a gallant and most determined effort to carry the enemy’s lines it was repulsed, with heavy loss, and compelled to fall back. The line, however, being reformed, subsequently advanced with the rest of the corps and occupied the enemy’s position.

For the details of this day’s operations I have the honor to refer you to my report of the 13th [12th] instant,* from which it will appear that the regiments of the brigade on this occasion distinguished themselves by their valor and discipline under circumstances peculiarly trying.

April 1, the command having moved from camp at midnight, marched by the Boydton plank road toward Dinwiddie Court-House until 6 a. m., when, forming in line of battle, it rested until 2 p. m., at a point two miles north of the Court-House. The division was then ordered to support the cavalry, who were at this time engaged about two miles in advance. On reaching the field the division engaged the enemy, this brigade forming the left of the line of battle. The enemy’s works were carried. One thousand prisoners and four stand of colors formed the share of the fruits of this victory rightfully claimed by this command alone. Bvt. Brigadier General Fred. Winthrop fell mortally wounded while gallantly leading the brigade on this occasion, and was succeeded by Colonel James Grindlay, One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers.

My special report of this battle, dated on the 10th instant, contains a more detailed account of the part performed by this brigade, and to which report I have the honor to refer you.+

April 2, marched from Five Forks to South Side road. Distance marched, twelve miles. 3rd, marched sixteen miles and encamped. The present commander reassumed command of the brigade. 4th, marched to Jetersville, fifteen miles, and encamped. 5th, formed line of battle and entrenched. 6th, marched twelve miles and encamped. 7th, marched sixteen miles and encamped at Prince Edward Court-House. 8th, marched eighteen miles toward Appomattox Station and encamped. 9th, marched six miles toward Appomattox and formed in line of battle about 9 a. m. The cavalry, which had been engaging the enemy, were being repulsed and driven back when this brigade, which formed the head of the column of the corps, reached the field. The division forming and immediately pressing forward the enemy gradually withdrew. Soon a white flag coming from the enemy, a halt was made in our advancing lines and hostilities ceased. Subsequently during the Northern Virginia.

Nominal and tabular lists of casualties have already been forwarded to headquarters.

I desire here to mention the gentlemen of the staff who have served with the brigade through the campaign under its different commanders, each and all of whim I take pleasure in stating have ably and efficiently performed their duties; they are: James R. Campbell, acting assistant

—————

* See p. 873.

+ See next, post

—————

adjutant-general; Captain Leatz, brigade inspector; Captain E. W. Warren, commissary of subsistence; First Lieutenant R. Clark, aide-de-camp, and Second Lieutenant William Raymond, pioneer officer.

I have the honor to remain, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOSEPH HAYES,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Bvt. Major W. W. SWAN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
Camp near Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 10, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following summary of the reports of the regimental commanders of this brigade of the operations of their commands on the 1st instant:

The Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers, Captain Henry Schickhardt; One hundred and fortieth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel W. S. Grantsynn; One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, Colonel James Grindlay; Fifteenth New York Heavy Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel M. Wiedrich, the regiments composing this brigade, under command of Bvt. Brigadier General Fred. Winthrop, broke camp at 12 m. the 1st instant, and marched with the rest of the division by the Boydton plank road toward Dinwiddie Court-House. Having arrived at a point about two miles north of the Court-House, the brigade was formed in line of battle and advanced toward the enemy. The enemy retreating, the brigade rested until 12 m., when the division was again ordered forward, and moved in support of the cavalry, then engaged about two miles in the advance. On reaching the field where the later were engaged, the division was placed in column of attack, the two rear lines of which were formed of this brigade. The column advanced through the woods across an open field until the front line being engaged, the troops were deployed, and this brigade formed the left of the line of battle. Pressing forward down a hill to the edge of a swamp the enemy’s entrenchments were discovered through a dense underbrush. Undismayed by the enemy’s hot fire, and unchecked by the obstacles in the way, the brigade rushed upon the works and carried them. Quickly wheeling to the left upon the enemy’s exposed flank their utter and complete rout was effected. More than 1,000 prisoners and four stand of colors were captured.

Corporal Kauss, Company H, Fifteenth New York Heavy Artillery, Sergt. R. F. Shipley, Company A, One hundred and fortieth New York Volunteers, Sergt. Thomas J. Murphy, Company G, and Private David Edwards, Company H, One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, are entitled to the honor of capturing these flags. I would recommend that they receive medals and furloughs.*

Colonel Fred. Winthrop, Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers, and brevet brigadier-general, fell mortally wounded while gallantly leading the brigade on this occasion. The brigade feels deeply the loss of this officer, whom all had learned to love and respect as an able and faithful commander. Colonel James Grindlay, One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, succeeded General Winthrop in command upon the field. The pursuit of the enemy was continued for two miles, when the brigade bivouacked near the Five Forks. Lieutenant Colonel W. F. Drum, lately appointed to the Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers, arrived on

—————

* Medal of Honor awarded to each of the men named.

—————

the field in time to share the honors of the day. First Lieutenant Henry Loomis, One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, commanded his regiment upon Colonel Grindlay taking command of the brigade. Colonel Grindlay specially mentions his gallantry, and recommends he be appointed brevet major.

A tabular and nominal list of the casualties in this engagement has already been forwarded to headquarters.

I have the honor to remain, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOSEPH HAYES,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Bvt. Major W. W. SWAN,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Fifth Army Corps.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
Near Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 12, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that this brigade, having been encamped the night of the 30th ultimo near the Quaker road, moved out at daylight the morning of the 31st, under command of Bvt. Brigadier General Fred. Winthrop, and formed into line of battle near the Dabney house, on the White Oak road, in the following order: One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, Colonel James Grindlay, on the right; Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers, Captain Henry Shickhardt, the center; and Fifteenth New York Heavy Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel M. Wiedrich, on the left; the One hundred and fortieth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel W. S. Grantsynn being deployed as skirmishers. At 11 a. m., the order to advance being received, the brigade promptly moved to the attack. The enemy were at this time concealed along the White Oak road, and there was nothing to indicate either their number or position excepting the heavy fire with which they greeted our line as it advanced. Through this fire, over an open field for one-quarter of a mile, the brigade charged with unwavering and unbroken front. On reaching within ten or fifteen yards of the enemy’s position two lines of battle, rising from their ambush, were hurled upon the thin and already weakened single line of this brigade. To have attempted to hold the ground would have exposed the command to capture by vastly superior numbers; the order was accordingly given to face about, and the brigade retired to its former position. Subsequently the line was established along Gravelly Run, and having repulsed the enemy’s attack the brigade again moved forward with the rest of the division, recovered the lost ground, gained possession of the enemy’s works, and established itself along the White Oak road.

A tabular and nominal list of casualties has already been forwarded to headquarters, by reference to which it will be perceived the command lost heavily in officers and men.

The result of this day’s fight was most satisfactory, and shows the discipline and courage of the troops, who, though at first beaten back by overwhelming numbers, were again ready to advance and to make for themselves, instead of defeat and disaster, a record of complete success and victory.

I have the honor to remain, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOSEPH HAYES,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brevet Major SWAN,
Acting 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. 870-873

***



What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: