Number 140. Siege of Petersburg Report of Captain Albert A. Day, Twentieth Michigan Infantry, of operations March 25

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 140. Report of Captain Albert A. Day, Twentieth Michigan Infantry, of operations March 25.1

HDQRS. TWENTIETH MICHIGAN VOLS., BATTERY Numbers 9,
Before Petersburg, Va., March 27, 1865.

MAJOR: With regard to the part sustained by this regiment in the recent action of March 25, 1865, on this front, I would respectfully report as follows:

At 4 a.m. March 25, my alarm guard having notified me of rapid firing in front of Fort Stedman, I caused the command to be turned out

under arms. The firing soon being discontinued I returned the men to quarters, with instructions to keep their accouterments on and to remain awake and on the alert. At 4.30 a.m. the firing commenced with renewed vigor and rapidity and the men were again turned out. Nothing of marked importance occurred at this time on my immediate front. At 5 a.m. the fort on my left (Stedman) was carried by the enemy by assault, the artillery captured in the works and turned on this battery, and the enemy thrown rapidly down the road in rear of our lines in such dispositions as threatened the left and rear of this work. I immediately moved my two right consolidated companies behind the left and the Second Michigan Volunteers, a part of which regiment had been driven inside of this battery, behind the rear face of this work, leaving the other four consolidated companies in a position to defend the front and right, which were at the same time threatened by two lines of the enemy perfectly distinguishable, but not as yet out of cover of their works.

My officers report to me that these lines were about to be charged upon just before the final repulse of the enemy on their right, but being instantly met by a well-directed volley from this battery, their officers appeared unable to get the men over their works; meantime, it having grown sufficiently light to disclose the enemy in heavy mass on the slope of a hill to the right of Fort Stedman, and also in the road in rear of same, I immediately caused the men, about 150 in number, to open a rapid musketry fire on those of their troops who occupied these positions: I have reason to believe that this firing was very effective, being at easy long range, well directed, and its object being a body of men in heavy mass, occupying a side hill, the face of which was presented to this battery. This firing was continued throughout the engagement. At 7.30 a.m., the enemy being completely broken and retreating rapidly in disorder, I threw a part of my regiment into the skirmish line on the left of this battery, in order to check them as they attempted to cross the main line on their retreat. Three hundred and fifteen men and their officers were thus captured and forwarded to brigade headquarters under guard. A large number of small-arms were also captured and have this day been turned over to the proper ordnance officer. It having been reported to the general commanding that Battery Numbers 9 was captured, several shots were fired from Battery Dunn, taking effect in the quarters of my second consolidated company. Fortunately no lives were lost through this error, and upon the colors being promptly placed in a conspicuous place this firing from the rear ceased. Nine men belonging to this regiment were wounded during the engagement.

I have only to add that Batteries C and I, Fifth United States, commanded by Lieutenant Huysman, and a section of Company K, First Connecticut Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Drown, deserve much credit for the part sustained by their men in the defense of this fort. The officers and men of this command acted throughout with perfect coolness and regularity.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALBERT A. DAY,
Captain, Commanding Twentieth Michigan Volunteer Infantry.

Bvt. Major C. A. LOUNSBERRY,
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), pages 328-329

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