Number 69. Siege of Petersburg Report of Captain John W. Shafer, Twentieth Indiana Infantry, of operations March 25

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 69. Report of Captain John W. Shafer, Twentieth Indiana Infantry, of operations March 25.1

HEADQUARTERS TWENTIETH INDIANA VOLUNTEERS.
March 26, 1865.

CAPTAIN; In compliance with circular from headquarters First Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps, just received, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken, by the Twentieth Indiana Volunteers in the engagement on the 25th instant;

At about 9 a.m. the regiment was advanced to the picket-line of this brigade, and there formed with the Seventy-third New York Volunteers on its left flank, both regiments being under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews. Orders were at once given to advance and occupy the picket-line of the enemy. We met with a sharp infantry fire from the enemy’s picket-line strongly posted behind earth-works but gained the position with but slight loss, capturing a number of prisoners. Finding no connection on the right, and discovering the enemy moving from their works with the probable intention of getting on the flank of the regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews ordered the right wing of the regiment deployed to form connection with troops of the First Division. This movement was executed under a sharp fire of infantry and artillery. The picket-line on the left was still occupied by the enemy, but an incessant fire from this regiment and the Seventy-third New York Volunteers kept under the cover of their works until about 2 p.m., when the Third Brigade of this division captured the rebel line about 500 yards to the left, which being accomplished, this regiment, accompanied by the Seventy-third New York Volunteers, had no difficulty in occupying their works, taking a large number of prisoners. About 3 p.m. the Third Brigade, on our left was driven back in apparent confusion, necessitating the withdrawal of the Seventy-third New York Volunteers and a part of this regiment to the corner of the woods, a few yards to the rear. The Third Brigade rallied and recaptured the line they had lost a few moments before and this regiment at once occupied its old position, which it held until relieved after night. About 6 p.m. the right wing of the regiment was attacked with considerable impetuosity by part of the force which struck the First Division. They, being opportunely re-enforced at this time by the picket forces of this brigade, held their ground manfully, and rendered material aid in repulsing the attack of the enemy.

The loss during the day was 4 commissioned officers wounded, 2 enlisted men killed, and 17 enlisted men wounded. The regiment captured 1 officer and 46 men during the day.

In closing this brief report of the operations of this regiment I cannot speak too highly of the good conduct of both officers and men. When all did so well I refrain from making discriminations. Especial mention is made, however, of the conspicuous gallantry of Sergt. Major Hiram B. Johnston and First Sergt. William A. Chapman, Company F, both of whom lost their lives.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN W. SHAFER,
Captain, Twentieth Indiana Volunteers, Commanding Regiment.

Captain J. M. LINNARD,
Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigadier, Third Div., Second 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 229-230

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