Number 156. Siege of Petersburg Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. H. McCall, Two hundredth Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations March 25

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 156. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. H. McCall, Two hundredth Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations March 25.1

HDQRS. 200TH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
March 26, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the operations at Fort Stedman on the 25th instant:

Upon hearing the firing on the line in front at dawn of day I immediately formed my regiment and held it under arms awaiting orders, and in a few minutes I received an order from General Willcox, through one of his staff, to report at the Friend house (General Willcox’s headquarters) with my regiment, but upon arriving within about half way from my camp to his headquarters I saw a number of men retreating from the front, when I immediately halted my regiment and moved it forward a short distance, with my right resting near the Dunn House Battery, and attempted to drive back the men who had retired from the front. A few moments after this General Hartranft appeared on the ground in person, and ordered my regiment forward, at the same time advancing with it to the camp of the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, driving back the enemy’s skirmishers, who had advanced beyond the camp, and at the same time charging the enemy, but finding him too strong and suffering terribly from this fire my men were driven back to na old line of works a few rods in rear and right of the camp of the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, where my regiment was reformed. Another attack was ordered by General Hartranft, and my regiment moved forward handsomely and gained a position quite near the enemy. This position was held fifteen or twenty minutes, with a large loss, when the regiment again retired to the cover of the old line, where a connection was formed with the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the right. Here the left wing of my regiment inflicted severe injury on the enemy by its fire, and prevented any farther advance.

General Hartranft now directed me to hold this position, which I did, against any farther advance of the enemy. I remained in this position some time, when Major Berlolette, assistant adjutant-general, of General Hartranft’s staff, who had been rendering valuable assistance all the time informed me that an assault would soon be made by the division to retake the works, and that my regiment, with the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, would conform to the movement of the Second Brigade, which was several hundred yards to my left, and that the signal for the assault would be the advance of the Two hundred

and eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers from the high ground in rear of Stedman and the regiments on my right. I immediately prepared my command for the movement, and when the advance of the Two hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers and the troops on my left was made, Major Bertolette ordered the charge, which was made instantaneously, the men moving forward in the most gallant style, charging the right corner of Stedman and the main line of works leading from it. My regiment alone captured at least 350 prisoners and a like number of small-arms, but my men were so eager to regain the fort and works that they paid but little attention to the prisoners, telling them to pass to the rear, where they were picked up by troops of the First Division, and claimed by that division, when they were really captured by and passed to the rear through my command.

The officers and men of my command all behaved with the greatest daring and bravery. Captain F. A. Hoffman seized the colors in the hand of a rebel color bearer, but was short through the hand and knocked down with a musket, retaining a piece of the flag, which he tore from the standard.

Private Levi A. Smith, Company E, deserves particular mention. After the color bearer had been shot down I grasped the colors and called for some one to take them, this boy sprang forward and asked me to permit him to carry the flag, which he did throughout the action.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

W. H. H. McCALL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Lieutenant C. L. BUFFINGTON,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Brig., Third Div., 9th Army Corps.

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 351-352

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