Number 77. Siege of Petersburg Report of Bvt. Brigadier General George W. West, Seventeenth Maine Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations February 5-7

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 77. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General George W. West, Seventeenth Maine Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations February 5-7.1

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SECOND CORPS,
February 13, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this command in the operations of the 5th, 6th, and 7th instant:

In obedience to orders, the brigade broke camp at 7 a.m. and marched on the Vaughan road, following the First Brigade, to near the point where the picket-line crosses the road, when I received orders to follow the ambulance train of the Second Division. Marched in this order until arriving at Hatcher’s Run, where the brigade was placed in line of battle across the Vaughan road, on the north side of the run. At 2 p.m. I received orders to move my brigade across the creek and form line of battle to the left of the road, my right resting on the road, and left, refusing rested on the creek. I then advanced a strong skirmish line and threw up a temporary line of work. While executing the above I received an order from the brevet major-general commanding the division to send a regiment to support the cavalry, which had advanced on the Vaughan road. The One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers accordingly, was ordered to report to a division staff officer. Heavy firing being heard on the right, about 5 p.m., I received an order for two regiments to report to General McAllister. In obedience to this order I immediately sent the One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, which reported as directed. Soon after I received orders to report in person with the balance of the brigade and assume command of the whole. On arriving near the battle-field the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers (leading regiment) was formed in line of battle, in a small ravine, in rear of General McAllister’s left, and gallantly charged, under direction of Captain

E. H. Shook, acting brigade inspector. The Fifth Michigan as soon as formed also charged and formed on the left of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, filling the gap between General McAllister and General Smyth, Second Division. These troops arrived just in season to check the enemy, who were making a desperate effort to make a break at this point. The ground occupied by the Fifth Michigan was for a time held by troops of the Second Division, who had retired under the heavy fire of the enemy. Night coming on the fighting ceased and the enemy retreated. I immediately proceeded to straighten the line, throwing forward a strong picket-line, and at the same time threw up strong works. During the night some sixteen prisoners were brought in.

The One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Tyler commanding, which was the first to arrive upon the ground in the afternoon deserve special mention for the gallant manner in which they went into the fight, under a most severe musketry fire from the enemy, fighting in an open field, without any works whatever for protection.

6th, occupied the same ground as on the evening of the 5th. I sent ou the pioneers, of the brigade to assist in burying the dead of the enemy which were left on my front. In the early part of the evening I received orders to move to the left to support a portion of the Fifth Corps; after from the brevet major-general commanding the division, the brigade was massed in the woods on the right of the Second Division, where it remained until coming into its present camp, furnishing large details for fatigue duty.

The casualties during the brief engagement on Sunday evening were small, a report of which has already been forwarded.

The conduct of the officers and men of the entire command was all that could, be desired. Thanks are due to the staff of this brigade for the prompt and cordial manner in which they executed my orders.

Respectfully submitted.

GEO. W. WEST,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major WILLIAM R. DRIVER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division, 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 235-236

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