Editor’s Note: Base transcription is from the CD-ROM version of The Confederate Veteran at Eastern Digital. Minor corrections were made by Brett Schulte.
Judge Martin’s Report Approved.1
Capt. J. R. Winder writes from Fort Smith, Ark.:
I have read several accounts of the Federal assault on Fort Gilmer September 29, 1864, in front of Richmond, Va. Your June number of the VETERAN contains an account by Judge [John H.] Martin, of Hawkinsville, Ga., which I believe to be very near correct.
Gen. [Edward O. C.] Ord’s forces moved out from near Petersburg, Va., on September 28, 1864, and crossed the north side of the James River that night and appeared in our front the next morning. They attempted to penetrate our lines at several points, but were repulsed. I was stationed at the Darbytown road, not far from Fort Gilmer, having charge of several heavy guns and using them with good effect on September 29. Having subsequently made reconnoissance, I saw the result. I had occasion also to go over to Fort Gilmer after the attack, and found that many negroes had been killed in front and around the fort. As they had gotten in the ditch and were attempting to scale the parapet they were shot in the head. Many evidently were drunk, as liquor was found in all their canteens. A ‘Corporal Dick’ among their killed I supposed to be a preacher and popular, as they would exclaim: Poor “Corporal Dick” is killed!’ The Federals held Fort Harrison two miles away and reenforced it with guns and mortars. We had rifle pits just below the fort under the hill, and were subject to their incessant fire. Prior to this attack I had command of Long Tom, a heavy gun mounted on an ironclad car with engine attached, and ran up and down the railroad to Chickahominy swamp to stir up the Yankees.”
In a personal note Capt. Winder states: “Fort Gilmer was near Richmond. Gilmer and Gregg, however, were practically redoubts with small force and two or three guns, while Fort Harrison was larger.”
Judge John H. Martin corrects an error as to his official command at Fort Gilmer. He was captain of Company D and not of Company C, of the 17th Regiment, Georgia Volunteers, as stated in the June VETERAN, page 268, in which regiment he was mustered into the Confederate service at Lynchburg, Va., in August, 1861. He is now believed to be the senior surviving officer of that regiment. He writes that Maj. J[ames]. B. Moore [of the 17th Georgia], who removed from Georgia to Texas after the war, may still be alive. Jesse A. Johnson, a member of the company, was captured at Fort Harrison on the 29th of September, 1864.
- Winder, J. R. “Judge Martin’s Report Approved.” Confederate Veteran, Volume 13, Number 9, p. 417 ↩