Number 25. Siege of Petersburg Report of Bvt. Major Christian Woerner, Third Battery New Jersey Light Artillery, of operations March 25

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 25. Report of Bvt. Major Christian Woerner, Third Battery New Jersey Light Artillery, of operations March 25.1

THIRD NEW JERSEY BATTERY,
Fort Haskell, March 26, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you the following details of yesterday morning’s engagement with the enemy:

Before daylight of yesterday morning much yelling was heard from the direction of Fort Stedman, also much picket-firing from the direction of Forts McGilvery and Stedman. Soon after two guns were fired from Fort Stedman. I did not understand what was going on. Soon after I saw a strong column of infantry marching in close column from Fort Stedman on Fort Haskell, inside of our line of breast-works and between the breast-works and camps, which I supposed to be our infantry, it being still so dark that they could not be distinctly seen. There seemed to be no men along the breast-work, and the advancing column came without resistance to within 100 yards of this fort, when they broke and, covering themselves behind the tents and huts, opened a strong fire on this fort. At the same time several field and mortar batteries of the enemy commenced shelling this fort, and I immediately opened upon the above-mentioned infantry force with canister, in a short time completely silencing them. Now another infantry force was seen forming in the rear of Fort Stedman and advancing in line of battle and with waving colors on Fort Haskell. I brought one of my guns in position in the right corner of this fort, commanding our line between Forts Haskell and Stedman, and fired on them with canister rapidly, inflicting to them severe loss and forcing them to run back toward Fort Stedman and their own lines and to seek shelter behind the tents and huts. Meanwhile our infantry charged up to our breast-works from the rear, and that part of the enemy covering in and behind the huts and tents threw off their arms and surrendered, while the others were retreating in disorder and confusion from Fort Stedman and its vicinity to their lines. This retreating lasted for about half an hour, and I directed the fire of my guns on them with very good effect. At about 7.30 o’clock Fort Stedman was again in possession of our troops and the Union flags in it.

During the whole engagement Fort Haskell was vigorously shelled by severely field and mortar batteries, but I could reply with only one gun, the others being engaged with Fort Stedman and the enemy assaulting this fort. The great many shells exploding in and above this fort have done comparatively little damage to the work; of men, about forty were killed and wounded. i am happy to state that my officers and men have behaved very well and distinguished themselves by their courage and endurance.

The following is the expenditure of ammunition by my battery during the engagement: 29 rounds of solid shot, 60 rounds of spherical case, 100 rounds of shell, 117 rounds of canister.

The following is a list of casualties: killed, 1 enlisted man; wounded, 2 commissioned officers and 5 enlisted men.

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

CHRISTIAN WOERNER,
Bvt. Major, U. S. Vols., Commanding Third New Jersey Battery.

Lieutenant GEORGE W. BOOTH,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Artillery Brigade, Ninth 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), page 188

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