Number 51. Siege of Petersburg Report of Brigadier General Thomas A. Smyth, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division of operations February 5-11

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 51. Report of Brigadier General Thomas A. Smyth, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division of operations February 5-11.1

HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, SECOND ARMY CORPS,
February 13, 1865.

MAJOR: In compliance with orders from headquarters Second Corps, received the afternoon of February 4, I have the honor to report that this division marched from camp at 7 a.m. on the 5th instant in the following order: First Brigade, Colonel Olmstead; Second Brigade, Colonel Murphy; Tenth Massachusetts Battery; and Third Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel F. E. Pierce. The command was massed at the McDougall house, and a squadron of cavalry ordered to report to me was ordered to the front as an advance guard, supported by the Nineteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, belonging to the First Brigade. Upon the advance arriving at the road leading to the Armstrong house, the cavalry drove the enemy’s vedettes across Stony Creek Run, where they were checked. The Nineteenth Massachusetts then charged and drove the enemy across Hatcher’s Run. The Nineteenth Maine, of the First Brigade, and the Seventh West Virginia Volunteers, of the Third Brigade, crossed the run (Hatcher’s) and occupied the ground on the opposite side. The rest of the division was then marched up the road leading to the Armstrong house, and placed in line of battle beyond said house, in the following order; the Second Brigade, with two regiments of the Third Brigade, on the right; the First Brigade, with two regiments of the Third Brigade, on the left; the remaining regiments of the Third Brigade being on the extreme left. The right of the line, after being formed, rested upon Stony Creek, and the left upon Hatcher’s Run, after which disposition I ordered the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and the One hundred and sixty Pennsylvania Volunteers, across Stony Creek, in order to make connection with McAllister’s brigade, of the Third Division of this corps. Four guns of the Tenth Massachusetts Battery were placed in position, in rear of my line, upon an elevated piece of ground. The enemy opened upon them after being placed in position, but were not replied to as it was evident that they were only feeling our position. About 3 p.m. the enemy made an attack on the left of the R. Armstrong house also on the left of the line, which was also a feint to cover their movement on the right. About 4.30 p.m. they made a vigorous attack upon the right of my line, driving in my skirmishers, when I took the One hundred and eighth New York Volunteers and the Fourth Ohio Volunteers, of the Third Brigade, across the run to support them; at the same time I ordered the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, of the same brigade, to change front on the edge of the swamp. Upon making the above-mentioned dispositions I found McAllister’s brigade, of the Third Division, filing in to occupy the ground that I intended to occupy with those regiments, after which I ordered the Tenth Massachusetts Battery to change front and open upon the enemy, who were by this time engaged with my right and McAllister’s (of the Third Division) left. After three attacks the enemy was repulsed.

About 4 o’clock of the 6th instant the Fifth Corps advanced on the left of this division, and soon afterward appeared to be hotly engaged with the enemy; and observing that they appeared to be giving away I ordered a section of Roder’s battery, Fourth U. S. Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Smith, of the same regiment, to open, and ordered two regiments of the Third Brigade, which I had in reserve, into position on the left, covering the bridge across Hatcher’s Run.

On the 7th instant the division was not engaged, with the exception of some artillery, which opened in compliance with instructions received from headquarters Second Corps and at the request of an officer belonging to the Fifth Corps, which corps, at that time, was advancing.

On the 8th, 9th, and 10th instant nothing of importance transpired. At daylight on the 11th instant the division moved to the position it now occupies.

Herewith please find inclosed the reports of the brigade commanders.

The conduct of both officers and men was good.

Respectfully submitted.

THOS. A. SMYTH.
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding Division.

Major S. CARNCROSS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second 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 212-213

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