Number 80. Siege of Petersburg Report of Captain James F. Mansfield, Eleventh Massachusetts Infantry, of operations February 5-7

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 80. Report of Captain James F. Mansfield, Eleventh Massachusetts Infantry, of operations February 5-7.1

HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH MASSACHUSETTS BATTALION,
February 13, 1865.

SIR: In compliance with circular from headquarters Army of the Potomac, dated February 11, 1865, I have the honor to forward the following report of the proceedings of this command during the operations of the 5th, 6th, and 7th instant:

At 6 o’clock on the morning of the 5th instant the Eleventh Battalion Massachusetts Volunteers, under commanding of Captain Thomas H. Dunham, left their camp near the Halifax road, and took up their line of march in the direction of Hatcher’s Run. The men were provided with five days’ rations. The battalion marched about three miles, to the vicinity of Rowanty Creek, where a line of battle was formed in a pine woods to the left of the Vaughan road, and a breast-work thrown up in front of the position. We remained there until about 4 o’clock, when the troops were withdrawn from the breast-works and the Third Brigade massed in a field about 200 yards in the rear. After remaining there a short time ordered to resume position behind the works, and had only time to do so before firing began on the left, and a line of skirmishers belonging to the Second Division, Second Army Corps, that had been out in front fell back inside our works, and reported the enemy advancing in force. The skirmishers of the enemy being discovered in front, our battalion received orders to commence firing, and the advance [was] checked. The firing was continued for an hour and a half, with more or less spirit, as the enemy advanced or fell back, but at no time did he reach a point nearer than 100 yards to our line of works. After the firing ceased the works were strengthened; pickets thrown out 100 yards in advance of the line. The command laid on their arms all night. No one was injured during the day in the battalion.

On the morning of February 6 picket-line was advanced. Two of the enemy’s dead were found in our front, and indications of the removal of many wounded. In the afternoon the battalion took part in a reconnaissance toward the enemy’s line of works, which were discovered about two miles from our own. At sunset returned to our original position. Slashed the woods fifty yards in front during the night.

February 7, packed up and remained under arms until dark; one-fourth of the command remained under arms all night.

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

JAMES F. MANSFIELD,
Captain, Commanding Battalion.

Captain J. P. FINKELMEIER,
Asst. Adjt. General, Third 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), page 242

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