Number 106. Siege of Petersburg Report of Bvt. Brigadier General Frederick Winthrop, Fifth New York Veteran Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations February 5-7

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 106. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General Frederick Winthrop, Fifth New York Veteran Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations February 5-7.1

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
February 14, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the command during the recent movement on Hatcher’s Run:

At 8 a.m., on the 5th instant, broke camp near Gurley’s house and marched down the Halifax road to Rowanty Creek; crossed the creek and so on to the intersection of the military pike road with the Vaughan road. Here the command lay in line of battle until midnight, when it moved back on the Vaughan road and occupied a line of breast-works to the left of the road, about a mile west of the run. At 1 p.m. moved out to the support of Gregg’s cavalry, who were skirmishing heavily with the enemy some distance farther down the road. Relieved the cavalry pickets with the One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, and deployed the Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers and One hundred and fortieth New York Volunteers on the right-hand side and the Fifteenth New York Heavy Artillery on the left-hand side of the road in a large open field. These dispositions had hardly been made before our cavalry advanced to the attack with two brigades, and a third in support. They soon became actively engaged with the enemy’s infantry, and, getting rather roughly handled, retired in considerable confusion, the enemy closely following. I immediately ordered up my three regiments at a double quick, and, delivering some very fair volleys, succeeded in checking their advancing column and driving it back to its shelter in the woods. Once or twice again the enemy attempted to advance over the open, but each time were handsomely repulsed by my troops, who fought with great spirit. Finally, about 5 p.m., being relieved by the First Brigade, First Division, and having replenished our cartridge boxes, we were ordered out on picket, covering the road leading to Dabney’s Mill, where we remained until the afternoon of the 7th.

I regret to mention the loss of Captain Charles S. Montgomery, commanding Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers, who was shot through the brain during the engagement. He handled his regiment in a most creditable manner, and is a severe loss to the command. It is but simple justice to say that I have rarely seen troops fight with more animation or maintain their ground so stubbornly against such superior numbers as confronted them in the earlier part of the engagement. With such troops I shall always feel confident of success. From my staff-Lieutenant Campbell, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Leatz, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant Raymond, pioneer officer-I received the most efficient assistance, and each and all of these gentlemen were conspicuous along the line, encouraging the men by their gallant bearing.

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

FRED. WINTHROP,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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

[First indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
February 18, 1865.

Respectfully referred to Brevet Major-General Griffin.

According to the orders of the major-general commanding, Brevet Brigadier-General Winthrop came under your orders. Will you please state whether or not he received any orders from you during the afternoon of the 6th instant, and make any indorsement on this report you think called for. Please return this report with indorsement.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,
Brevet Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Second indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
March 8, 1865.

I would respectfully state that General Winthrop received no important orders from me whilst engaging the enemy. I was not aware that he was supporting the cavalry until after he had been relieved by First Brigade, First Division, and when I went on the field General Winthrop reported to me that his command had not a round of ammunition.

CHAS. GRIFFIN,
Brevet Major-General.

[Third indorsement.]
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
March 8, 1865.

Respectfully referred to Brevet Brigadier-General Winthrop, who will please state whether or not it was a fact that this command had entirely exhausted their ammunition at the time he was relieved by the First Brigade, First Division.

By command of Major-General Warren:

FRED. T. LOCKE,
Brevet Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Fourth indorsement.]
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
March 13, 1865.

Respectfully returned.

It is a fact that the brigade had certainly exhausted their ammunition at the time it was relieved by the First Brigade, First Division. For a considerable length of time before the First Brigade, First Division, came up a large number of my men had not a single round left in their boxes. So soon as I was relieved by the First Brigade, First Division, I retired 75 to 100 yards in rear of my position and replenished my boxes with the ammunition which I had just then succeeded in procuring. I received no orders of any description from Major-General Griffin during the time my troops were engaged, something over two hours, he not being on the field at that period. While I was replenishing my cartridge-boxes General Griffin rode up and, so soon as my troops were all supplied, I reported to him, as he was then the senior officer present. Shortly after this I received orders to report to Major-

General Warren with my command. Out of ammunition, is an old story, and with me has always been received with a certain amount of suspicion, but in this instance there was some merit in it.

FRED. WINTHROP,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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), pages 280-282

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