Number 98. Appomattox Reports of Colonel John A. Kellogg, Sixth Wisconsin Infantry, commanding First Brigade

   

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in Appomattox Campaign Reports (95)

No. 98. Reports of Colonel John A. Kellogg, Sixth Wisconsin Infantry, commanding First Brigade.1

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION,
April 27, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders, I have to make the following report of the operations of my command from the 29th of March to April 25, both inclusive:

On the morning of the 29th of March, 1865, the brigade broke camp, situated near the military railroad about two miles from Humphreys’ Station, and moved in a northwesterly direction, to a point about half a mile from the Boydton Plank road. At this point the brigade was halted and massed in column of regiments, right in front. Some firing being heard in my front the men were ordered to load, soon after which the command was moved into position in line of battle as follows: The Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers forming the front line, in rear of the Second Brigade (commanded by General Baxter); the Ninety-first New York Volunteers, divided into three battalions, moved on the left flank of the brigade, ready to be deployed either on the left flank of the line of battle or in rear of the first line, as circumstances should require. The enemy being driven from their position on the Boydton plank road by the troops in my front, my command was moved to a position near that road and crossing the same, the Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, being advanced to the road, the balance of the brigade being in line of battle about eighty rods to the rear, connecting on the right with the Second Brigade, under command of General Baxter, where we remained during the night.

On the morning of the 30th of March the brigade was moved to the Boydton plank road and threw up breast-works, remaining there during the night.

On the morning of the 31st of March, & c.*

On the morning of the 2nd of April the brigade moved to the South Side Railroad, only to find the position evacuated by the enemy. The command without halting here moved on the railroad track three or four miles, the mile-board marking thirteen miles from Petersburg, when, by command of General Crawford, commanding division, the command moved at a rapid rate in a westerly direction about five miles, when the enemy were found in strong force in an entrenched position on the Burkeville road. By order of General Crawford, commanding division, I deployed in two lines on the right of the road, my right resting on a wood, my left connecting with the Second Brigade, commanded by General Baxter. The Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, were deployed as skirmishers, with orders to cover the extreme front of the line of battle. By this time it was quite dark, and the enemy not being able to distinguish our uniforms, were at a loss to know whether we were Yankees or not, and before they had obtained the desired information the troops were in position to attack or resist the same, as circumstances would require. Upon ascertaining who we were the enemy opened fire upon my portion of the line; my men replied and immediately advanced toward the enemy, and halted within a few rods of their breast-works. The enemy ceasing to fire, I reformed my lines, and the men lay upon their arms until daylight.

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* For operations of March 31 and April 1, see pp. 883, 885.

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On the morning of the 3rd of April we again took up the line of march in pursuit of the flying enemy, who had beat a hasty retreat during the night, but failed to overtake them, and late in the evening bivouacked for the night.

On the morning of the 4th broke camp at an early hour, and took up the line of march in pursuit of the flying foe, reaching the Danville railroad at Jetersville Station in the afternoon of that day, finding it occupied by the cavalry under General Sheridan, and the enemy in strong force just beyond. Here the brigade was formed in line of battle, and the troops, weary and footsore, having traveled all day without food, labored nearly all night, throwing up breast-works, remaining in this position, resting and waiting for an attack, until the morning of the 6th, when we moved out to attack the enemy, who was found to have made another hasty retreat, but without overtaking him.

April 7, still following the enemy, the tired but gallant column pushed on, following the west side of the Appomattox to the high railroad bridge just after the enemy had crossed, the structure itself having been fired and three spans destroyed by the enemy.

On the 8th made a long forced march, the most tiresome I believe ever made by troops, being impeded by the wagon train of the Twenty-fourth Corps, the infantry being obliged either to march through the thicket or mix in promiscuously with the wagon train. Camped that night in line of battle. On the morning of the 9th again started in pursuit of the enemy, who were brought to bay near Appomattox Court-House. But before we were engaged, the enemy, tired, dispirited, harassed, and surrounded, surrendered at discretion.

A tabular and nominal list for each of the engagements, of casualties, I have already had the honor to forward. In conclusion, I beg leave to submit the following list of names of officers and men of my command who have distinguished themselves, and to ask for them a suitable recognition of their services (see regimental lists and previous reports). For further particulars, I beg leave to refer to my reports for thee 31st of March and 1st of April, already forwarded.

I have the honor to be, & c.,

J. A. KELLOGG,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain HARRISON LAMBDIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION,
April 25, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with field order of April 13, 1865, headquarters Third Division, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the action near the Boydton plank road on the 31st day of March, 1865:

On the morning of that day my command, consisting of the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry and the Ninety-first New York Veteran Volunteers, pursuant to orders from the division commander, moved from their breast-works on the Boydton plank road in a northwesterly direction, across Gravelly Run about a mile, where the brigade was massed in column of regiments, right in front, in a thick wood near an open field, and remained in this position about half an hour. The command was then ordered to deploy in line of battle on the left of the Second Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-

General Baxter. In compliance with said order I directed the brigade to deploy on the first battalion, but before the movement was completed two regiments only, to wit, the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers being in line, the Ninety-first New York being treated as three battalions, not yet having time to deploy, I was ordered to deploy the two Wisconsin regiments and arrest the troops belonging to the front line, consisting of a portion of the Second Division, who were flying in confusion from the field. This order I found myself unable to execute, the men breaking through my line and throwing my own command into confusion. I then ordered the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin to close their intervals, and formed them into line of battle, and directed them to open fire, and sent orders to the Ninety-first to deploy on second battalion (the Sixth Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers). Both of these orders were promptly executed. The brigade remained thus in line of battle, firing rapidly upon the advancing enemy until both flanks were turned and the enemy firing upon both flanks and rear of the command. I then directed Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, to change front, so as to meet the fire on his flank, which was executed, but the enemy appearing in so large force in my rear, I directed the brigade to retire across Gravelly Run in as good order as possible. In retiring to this position my command was somewhat broken up, owing to the fact that the enemy was in their rear, compelling them to fight their way back. I claim that my command were the last organized troops to leave the field.

The Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers were formed as they arrived on the front line next to the creek, near the bridge crossed by the troops in the morning. The Ninety-first New York Volunteers fell back across the creek farther to the right. One battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Denslow, formed in an interval between the troops of the Second Division, where they remained the balance of the engagement, doing good service. When the firing had ceased I reformed the brigade in the rear of their first position and ordered them to lie down. We remained in this position about one hour, were then again moved to the front across the battle-field of the morning, and went into camp about half a mile in advance of the same.

The following-named officers are entitled to special mention for gallantry, viz: Colonel Tarbell and Lieutenant-Colonel Denslow, Ninety-first New York Veteran Volunteers; Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr, commanding Sixth Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, who was badly wounded while cheering on his men; Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, commanding Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers; also First Lieutenant J. A. Watrous, acting assistant adjutant-general, Second Lieutenant C. W. Atherton, acting aide-de-camp, and Captain H. T. Garfield, brigade inspector, members of my staff. The conduct of these officers came under my immediate notice. Lieutenant Watrous was wounded and taken prisoner while discharging his duty. Lieutenant Athereton and Lieutenant Watrous each lost a horse, shot under them, which, with the horse of the orderly, make three horses lost from my headquarters on that day by the fire of the enemy.

My two orderlies, William Holloway, Company K, and Henry A. Hackett, Company H, both of the Sixth Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, behaved in the most gallant manner, Holloway having his horse shot under him.

There are others, both officers and men, deserving special mention. The names of such officers will be found submitted in my report of the 23rd instant for brevets, as recommended by their regimental commanders.

My loss in killed, wounded, and missing was large for the time engaged, amounting to 8 officers and 290 men.

I transmit herewith a tabular and nominal list of casualties occurring on that day.

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

J. A. KELLOGG,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain HARRISON LAMBDIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION,
April 10, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command on the 1st instant.

On the evening of the 31st of March the command encamped near the battle-field of that day, about one mile and a half northwest from the Boydton plank road, in column of regiments, right in front, facing the north. About daylight in the morning of the 1st instant, in accordance with orders, I changed the front of the brigade, by change of direction by the right flank, facing the east, and moved in column, faced by the rear rank, in a westerly direction about three quarters of a mile, through an open field, my right connecting with the Second Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Baxter. At this point, by direction of the general commanding the division, the command was changed from the order in column and moved left in front, in a southwesterly direction, following the Second Division, Fifth Army Corps, to a position on Gravelly Run, near the Moody house and Gravelly Run Church, where, by order of the general commanding division, the brigade was formed in two lines of battle, the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers holding the front line. The right of my line connected with General Baxter’s command, the left with the Second Division, Fifth Army Corps. Receiving orders to that effect, I advanced my command to a road about half a mile in my immediate front, at which point it executed a left wheel. Here we became engaged with the enemy, the command moving forward and firing as it advanced, driving the enemy before us. In moving through a dense thicket and wood, the connection became broken between my left and the Second Division, causing a large interval, which was taken advantage of by the enemy, who threw a force on my left flank and opened fire, evidently with the desire of arresting the forward movement of the line of battle. I ordered my front line to continue the advance, and ordered one battalion of the Ninety-first New York Veteran Volunteers, forming a portion of my second line, under command of Colonel Tarbell, to deploy on the left flank of the brigade, covering that flank, with orders to move forward and engage the enemy at short range. This order was promptly executed, holding the enemy at bay, until the Third Brigade, commanded by General Coulter, came up and filled the interval. My brigade now occupied the center of the line, between the brigades of Generals Baxter and Coulter, and continued in that position until we found the enemy entrenched. We then drove

them from their works across an open field, pursuing them closely about three-quarters of a mile, taking many prisoners and killing and wounding many of the enemy, when, in compliance with orders, the brigade was moved into camp for the night.

I cannot speak too highly of the officers and men of my command; all did their duty. I desire especially to mention Colonel Tarbell and Lieutenant-Colonel Denslow, Ninety-first New York Veteran Volunteers; Acting Major Whaley; Second Lieutenant William H. Church, acting adjutant; First Lieutenant Thomas Kelly, commanding Company H, and Lieutenant Davis, commanding Company F, of the Sixth Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers – who were conspicuous for gallantry and daring on that day. Also the members of my staff, who were all that I could desire. Every order was correctly transmitted, and no one faltered in his duty. Lieutenant Sherley, Ninety-first New York Veteran Volunteers, temporarily serving on my staff, had his horse shot under him while gallantly discharging his duty.

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

J. A. KELLOGG,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain HARRISON LAMBDIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.

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. 882-886

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