Number 94. Appomattox Reports of Bvt. Brigadier General James Gwyn, One hundred and eighteenth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Third Brigade

   

0 comments

in Appomattox Campaign Reports (95)

No. 94. Reports of Bvt. Brigadier General James Gwyn, One hundred and eighteenth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.1

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
April 14, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report in reference to the engagement of the 31st instant [ultimo]:

My command moved about 4 a. m., left in front, in obedience to orders from headquarters Second Division, Fifth Corps, from bivouac near the Boydton plank road to a point near the White Oak road – the Two hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Colonel William Sergeant, leading, followed by the Fourth Delaware Volunteers, under Captain William H. Maclary, and the Eighth Delaware Volunteers, under Lieutenant Curry, both under command of Captain John N. Richards; the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Captain R. M. Birkman, the One hundred and ninety-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Captain Perez L. Norton, the One hundred and fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Major E. T. Tiers, all under command of Bvt. Colonel Joseph B. Pattee; and the THird Delaware Volunteers, under Captain J. H. Cade, having been sent the evening before to establish a picket-line about 500 yards in front of the brigade. Upon arriving near the White Oak road I halted and formed each regiment into column by division – the Two hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the right, the Delaware battalion on the left, the First Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Corps, being on the left, and a dense woods on the right. We remained in this position until about 9 a. m., when an advance was ordered, the First Brigade leading. I immediately deployed the brigade and moved forward. The line had proceeded but a short distance when the enemy appeared in the front and left flank. After fighting for some time under very great odds we were forced to retire, but not until the support on the left had given away. A rebel headquarters flag, reported to have been General Pickett’s, [sic] on a line with and about fifty yards from my headquarters flag, the enemy thereby completely flanking our position. We continued to retire until I found a line formed by General Baxter’s brigade, of the Third Division, Fifth Corps, when a stand was made. The enemy continued to press

forward on our front and left flank, forcing us back. We continued to retire, forming line of battle whenever the ground would permit, until arriving near the point from which we started in the morning, when a line was formed on the crest of a hill, which was held until about 3 p. m., when the line again advanced, my brigade being formed in two lines in echelon on left of General Chamberlain’s brigade, of the First Division, Fifth Corps, driving the enemy’s skirmish line beyond the White Oak road.

Great credit is due to Bvt. Colonel Joseph B. Pattee for the able manner in which he fought his command on the skirmish line, without any support or connection with the right or left. The designs of the enemy to turn back our flanks and prevent us from reaching the Boydton plank road were effectually frustrated by the determined manner in which his men disputed their advance, thereby giving the command time to form line on the hill above mentioned.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES GWYN,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.

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

HDQR. THIRD Brigadier, SECOND DIV., FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
April 10, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report in reference to the engagement of the 1st instant:

After bivouacking until 1 p. m. this command moved up the Boydton plank road, in obedience to orders from headquarters Second Division, Fifth Corps, from a point about twelve miles from Dinwiddie Court-House, in the following order: Company A, Third Delaware Volunteers, under command of Captain D. D. Joseph, was ordered to the front as an advance guard, the Delaware battalion, under command of Captain Richards, acting as support; the head of the main column, composed of the One hundred and ninetieth, One hundred and ninety-first, and One hundred and fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Bvt. Colonel Joseph B. Pattee, and Two hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Lieutenant Colonel E. L. Witman, following at distance of 100 yards in rear of the Delaware battalion. When arriving near the Court-House we diverged to the right, following a road leading to the White Oak road. At about 8 a. m. a halt was ordered and the men allowed to rest until about 2 p. m., when the command again moved forward until reaching a point near the left of the enemy’s entrenched line on the White Oak road, when it was formed in two lines of battle – the front line composed of the Fourth Delaware Volunteers, under Captain W. H. Maclary, Third Delaware Volunteers, under Captain J. H. Cade, One hundred and ninety-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Captain Perez L. Norton, and the One hundred and fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Major E. T. Tiers, all under command of Bvt. Colonel Joseph B. Pattee, of the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers; the Two hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers forming the second line, under command of Lieutenant Colonel E. L. Witman, the right resting on a road leading at right angles with the White Oak road. The One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under command of Captain R. M. Birkman, was deployed as skirmishers, covering the brigade front. The Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Corps,

was on the left in echelon; the Third Division, Fifth Corps, on the right. At about 3 o’clock the line advanced against the enemy, forcing their skirmish line back to their main line, which was also driven back in confusion. After following them up for some distance I halted, reformed the line, and changed direction to the left, so as to be able to attack their works on the flank and rear. We again charged their line, driving it in great confusion, capturing two battle-flags and many prisoners; the color-sergeant of the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers planting the first stand of colors on the captured works.

I am unable to state the number of prisoners captured, on account of the command having pressed forward so rapidly, sending them to the rear as we advanced; I, however, sent back one squad of 300 men, under charge of Captain J. W. Scott, One hundred and fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. At this point the skirmish line of the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers extended intervals to the right, in order to keep up the connection, on account of the Third Division line having fallen back some distance. The pursuit was continued until darkness put an end to further operations.

Subjoined is a list of casualties in the command during the engagement.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES GWYN,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.

Bvt. Major W. W. 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. 875-877

***



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: