Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Bryce Suderow and is included in a collection of Union and Confederate accounts of the fighting on July 27, 1864 at the First Battle of Deep Bottom. His transcription of this article is published here with his written permission.
Mr. Finley Anderson’s Dispatch
Headquarters, in the Field North Side of the James River
July 27 – Evening
A portion of the troops in the Army of the Potomac, under the immediate command of Major General Hancock, having quickly crossed from the south to the north bank of the James River, drove the enemy from a strong line of intrenchments this morning and captured four pieces of artillery.
The forces forming the expedition moved yesterday afternoon. Marching all night the command crossed the Appomattox on a pontoon bridge at Point of Rocks and the place called Broadway and crossed the James on the bridges near Deep Bottom. The movement was executed secretly and silently, and in fourteen hours from the time of starting the command had marched about twenty miles, crossed two rivers and captured a rebel works with its artillery from the enemy.
Forming the Line
Having effected a lodgement on the north bank of the James where however a force under General Foster had been already stationed, General Hancock’s command formed in the open fields near the border of the river. The enemy occupied a fortified position along a road running mostly on the edge of an extensive piece of timber and at that point nearly parallel to the river.
“Skirmishers Forward” – the Rebels Flanked
After our troops had formed on the open plain, a strong skirmish line was thrown forward, and it soon came in contact with the enemy. In front of the point where the enemy’s heavy guns were posted our skirmish line consisted of detachments from General Miles’ Brigade, in General Barlow’s Division. The regiments from which detachments were taken to furnish skirmishers for that portion of the line were the 183rd Pa., 5th New Hampshire, and 26th Michigan. Colonel J.C. Lynch of the 183rd Pennsylvania, having more? immediate supervision of General Miles’ skirmish line, finding it becoming costly to persist in attempting to take the guns in front, moved a portion of his men by the flank to the right, and soon crossing the road held by the enemy, was enabled to enfilade the rebel line.
Capture of the Works and Guns
The consequence was that with our skirmishers from other brigades advancing at other points the enemy was compelled to abandon that fortified position, leaving four twenty pounder Parrot guns with limbers, two caissons filled with ammunition, and a small number of prisoners in the hands of Colonel Lynch. Colonel Lynch escaped uninjured, although two bullets passed through his hat and another hit his horse. Captain Cassidy, ? Coperin, and Lieutenant Miller of the 110th Pennsylvania were wounded on the extreme right of the skirmish line where the regiment lost a number of men. Captain Cassidy had been wounded in two places at Coal Harbor, had returned in time to take command of the regiment in the movement yesterday and in the skirmish this morning was wounded again.
The Rebels’ Second Position
After the enemy had been driven from that first position he retired to a commanding crest about a mile behind. That point is about three miles from Malvern Hill. Reconnoitering parties soon ascertained the fact that the naturally formidable defensive position was being rendered stronger still by the enemy, whose reserves were busy completing intrenchments which had been previously commenced. From information then in our possession it was believed that the force of the enemy in our immediate front consisted of Kershaw’s division and an additional brigade of infantry, with a considerable force of cavalry, which appeared on our right. Reinforcements too were rapidly arriving by railroad, twenty nine car loads having passed up from Petersburg during the afternoon. Our skirmishers were cautiously sent forward until they came in contact with those of the enemy in the fields which spread out from the foot of that commanding crest.
A portion of General Barlows infantry division pushed forward for the purpose of developing the left of the enemy’s line and had a handsome and successful little skirmish. With the same object in view a portion of our cavalry which is under the command of General Sheridan advanced on the Malvern Hill and New Market Road and on the right of the infantry and dashed in with the sabre, pushed in the left of the enemy’s line and captured a small number of prisoners.
About three weeks ago when General Hancock resumed command of his corps after a temporary absence during which it lost four guns and with them a portion of the prestige insperably associated with its name, he issued an order to his troops, in which he told them that when they met the enemy again he would expect them to fully redeem what they had lost. It is an interesting coincidence that this morning, the first occasion on which they had met the enemy since, they have gotten four guns of heavier caliber than those which they lost and more than re-established their honorable name. Upon receiving the announcement of the capture of the guns this morning General Meade immediately dispatched these brief congratulatory lines.
Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
Nine a.m. July 27, 1864
General Hancock –
Your dispatch of twenty minutes past just received. I congratulate you and your gallant corps on your success and trust it will be cotinued.
George G. Meade, Major General
During the evening our lines have been well established in accordance with General Grant’s design and the object of our operations which must be left to future developments to disclose.
Our loss in killed and wounded during the day was, perhaps, pretty near one hundred.
The following are the names of nearly all the wounded:
1. John James, Company E, 5th New Hampshire, shoulder
2. Charles W. Brown, Co. I, 5th 5th N.H., thumb
3. Arthur Talbot, Co. K, 183rd Pa., finger
4. Leroy Pinkhan, Co. I, 5th N.H., sholder
5. Henry K. Westman, Co. K, 5th N.H., jaw
6. Sergt. Daniel Shear, Co. K, 28th Mass., thorax
7. Wm. P. Hiller, Co. H, 2nd N.H., left leg, amputated
8. Sergt. P.H. McGowan, Co. A, 183rd Pa., shoulder
9. Geo. W. Stinman, Co. F, 83rd Pa., thigh, flesh
10. Thos. Wormley, Co. K, 61st NY, arm, flesh
11. Thos. Fay, Co A, 183rd Pa., slight contusion
12. Thomas H. Fenton, Co. F, 183rd Pa., leg, flesh
13. Charles Golstien, Co. K, 183rd Pa., abdomen
14. Geo. Stanton, Co. F?, 5th N.H., thigh, flesh
15. Wm. B. Berns, Co. B, 28th Mass., left leg, amputated
16. Robert Ellingsworth, Co. A, 183rd Pa., right arm & abdomen
17. Joseph Flavers, Co. G, 5th N.H., hand
18. Charles Pippet, Co. K, 183rd Pa., thigh and wrist
19. Dunn Smith, Co. H, 5th N.H., left thigh and right leg
20. Chas. Orrey, Co. H, 5th N.H., shoulder
21. Nathan Marser, Co. A, 5th NH, right leg, amputated
22. Chas. Davis, Co. F, 5th N.H., thigh and right hip
23. Sergt. H.C. Duke, Co. F, 39th NY, left foot
24. Alford Sharbocker, Co. F, 183rd Pa., head, slightly
25. Sam. Smith, Co. K, 74th NY, leg
26. A.L. Chamberlain, 74th NY, neck
27. Wm. Spelager, Co. H, 83rd Pa., hip
28. Sergt. Elisha McGrew, Co. H, 99th Pa., leg fractured, died in hospital
29. Chas. Winner, 99th Pa., both thighs
30. Edwd. Allen, Co. A, 99th Pa., thigh
31. Anthony Tetwiller, Co. E, 84th Pa., arm
32. Werbur Schmitz, Co. I, 73rd NY, thorax, died in hospital
The following belong to the 110th Pennsylvania Volunteers:
1. Sergt. J.C. Bell, Co. C, arm
2. John Atwell, Co. C, face
3. George Dearmott, Co. A. flesh wound
4. Jacob Shurick, Co. K, arm
5. J.A. Sutton, Co. C, shoulder
6. John Lockman, Co. C, abdomen
7. Francis Crowell, Co. A, throat
8. George W. Smith, Co. C, leg
9. Sergt. Charles Eckley, Co. K, face
10. Corp. Andrew Cullen, Co. F, arm
11. Sergt. Andrew J. Miller, Co. B, leg, slightly
12. Corp. George Maxwell, Co. C, thigh, died
13. Capt. Francis Cassidy, Co. H, leg, slightly
14. Capt. Charles Copelon, Co. C, thigh, severely
15. Corp. Wm. Lyttle, Co. A, thorax and thigh
16. James Irwin, Co. C, arm and thorax
17. David Bowman, Co. C, thigh
18. John Davis, Co. C, thigh
19. Corp. Henry Miller, Co. H, wrist
20. Horace Spitzer, Co. A, thigh, amputated
21. George Wright, Co. A, body
Corporal John W. Buchanan, 1st Mass., face
The names of those killed on the field have not been ascertained up to the present hour.1
- “Mr. Finley Anderson’s Dispatch,” New York Herald, July 30, 1864, p. 1 ↩