Number 94. Siege of Petersburg Report of Brigadier General Joshua L. Chamberlain, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of operations March 25

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 94. Report of Brigadier General Joshua L. Chamberlain, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of operations March 25.1

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, FIFTH CORPS,
Near Hatcher’s Run, Va., March 28, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders this day received, I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of this command on the 25th instant.

The First Brigade moved out at about 8 o’clock a.m. (following the Third Brigade) in the direction of Third Division headquarters. Remaining massed in that vicinity for a few hours, we then moved to our left, passed the line of works occupied by the Second Division, Second Corps, and massed near a house, known as Mrs. Warren’s. Soon after, we moved to the right and massed in rear of General Miles’ division of the Second Corps. At about 3 p.m. I was ordered to return to the Warren house and report to Major-General Mott. Arriving there I received the order from Major-General Humphreys to move directly to

the front. I moved by the right flank along a narrow road through the slashing, and on reaching the thin belt of woods in front of which General Mott’s line was formed and in a position to overlook this line, mained for about two hours, during which there was some skirmishing along the line, with some artillery firing from the right and left and from a battery directly in our front. I could distinctly see the men working at one of their guns.

At about dusk there was very heavy firing to the right of our position, and in the midst of this and advance was made by the enemy in our front with great vigor and boldness, though not in heavy force. Our skirmishers were driven back in confusion, and the enemy were close upon the main line and advancing with spirit. As I feared they might follow up their attack with sufficient force to break through the main line, I immediately ordered Brevet Brigadier-General Sickel to form “forward into line” at a double-quick with his two battalions of the One hundred and ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and to occupy the edge of woods close in rear of General Mott’s line, and in full sight of the enemy, which was promptly done. At the same time General Humphreys requested me to strengthen General Mott’s right, which was then very hard pressed. I directed Colonel Sniper, commanding the One hundred and eighty-fifth New York Volunteers, to move up rapidly to the front line and occupy the space between General Mott’s and General Miles’ divisions, which he did, his center being nearly in front of the Watkins house.

Simultaneously with these movements of General Sickel and Colonel Sniper, the troops of General Mott opened a vigorous fire on the enemy’s advancing line, followed by a gallant charge, in which the rebels were handsomely repulsed, with considerable loss on their part in killed, wounded, and prisoners.

My regiment remained in the position last indicated until 9 p.m., when I was ordered to withdraw and to report to Major-General Griffin in camp.

The casualties in my command were as follows: Wounded, 2 privates One hundred and ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers. The captures from the enemy, 1 lieutenant-colonel, 1 sergeant, 8 privates. These were turned over to the provost-marshal of General Mott’s division. The lieutenant-colonel (who was wounded) stated that he was in command of the portion of the attacking party in Colonel Sniper’s front, and that it consisted of the Forty-third, Fifty-ninth, and Sixtieth Alabama Regiments.

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

J. L. CHAMBERLAIN,
Brigadier-General.

Captain WILLIAM FOWLER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, First Div., Fifth 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 267-268

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