Report of Colonel Charles W. Tilden, Sixteenth Maine Infantry, of operations February 5-11.1
HDQRS. SIXTEENTH MAINE INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS,
February 13, 1865.
In accordance with orders I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of my regiment in the late movements near Hatcher’s Run, Va.:
In compliance with orders from brigade headquarters the regiment, numbering 8 line officers and 223 guns (the last detachment of recruits, camp guard, and sick remaining in camp), broke camp about 7 a. m. on Sunday, February 5, moving out in light marching order and supplied with four days’ rations. Reached Weldon railroad near Hancock’s Station and moved from thence down the line of the road about two miles, then turned to the right on the Halifax road, crossed Rowanty Creek about 3 p. m., and proceeded to the Vaughan road about two miles southwest of Rowanty Creek. At this point the brigade formed a line of battle and bivouacked for the night, my regiment having the right of the line and my right resting on the road. Moved out on the Vaughan road about 4 o’clock in the morning of the 6th instant. Halted about 8 a. m. on the east side of Hatcher’s Run and remained until 2 p. m. Then moved about two miles to the right, or southwest, when the brigade was formed in two lines of battle, my regiment having the center of the first line, with the Thirty-ninth Massachusetts on my right and the Ninety-seventh New York on my left. Advanced and engaged the enemy near Burgess’ Mills, steadily driving him from his position. The left wing of my regiment became somewhat broken in advancing through the woods, owing to the dense thicket and swamp through which it was obliged to advance, but was immediately reformed on gaining the edge of the woods, and rushed forward, wresting from the enemy an elevated position formed from the debris of an old mill, which was held until the enemy came upon by left flank in strong force, compelling the line to retire some 200 yards, which it did in good order. In connection with the advance, I desire to bring to the notice of the general commanding the name of Color Sergt. Luther Bradford, who was wounded in the left arm (causing amputation of same) while gallantly bearing the colors in advance of the line, urging the men on to their work. This is the third time he has been wounded since his connection with the color guard of the regiment. Corpl. M. J. Grindle, of the color guard, is also deserving of special commendation for the bravery he displayed. Seizing the colors after Sergeant Bradford was wounded, he rushed forward in advance of the line and placed them upon the work above referred to. This act of bravery was performed in the presence of the general commanding the brigade. He, too, was wounded when we were obliged to fall back. Three times in succession the line of which my regiment comprised a part advanced, driving the enemy, and [was] as many times forced back by superior numbers. The last movement toward the rear was made late in the afternoon, and caused by the operations of the enemy in strong force on our left flank. Our line was re-established, however, after falling back a short distance, and the enemy who was just appearing at the edge of the woods driven back. This ended the operations for the day. The regiment bivouacked in the open field near Hatcher’s Run, but a short distance from the scene of action. The casualties of the 6th instant are as follows: One officer, Lieutenant Gustavus Moore, Company E, wounded; 2 enlisted men killed, 34 wounded, and 11 missing; total loss, 1 officer and 46 enlisted men.
February 7, moved about 7 a. m.; marched two miles northeast on the Vaughan road, and formed line of battle in the open field west of the road. The Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers and Thirty-ninth Massachusetts Volunteers were deployed as skirmishers and my regiment formed the first line of battle. The line advanced about 9 a. m., forcing the enemy from his temporary works, giving us possession of en elevated position running through a belt of woods some 350 or 400 yards in front of the enemy’s main line. About 11 a. m. my regiment was ordered to deploy and strengthen the skirmish line, which was done, under charge of Captain E. F. Davis, Company C. Immediately after deploying the enemy opened his artillery on the right of our line, compelling the men on this part of the line to retire. They were immediately rallied, however, and silenced the battery, holding the line until late in the afternoon, when orders were received to advance to the enemy’s main line of works. Although nearly out of ammunition my regiment moved forward steadily at the command to the edge of the woods, and within 200 yards of the enemy’s works, when we were obliged to retire (not having sufficient support to carry the same) to the position occupied during the day. About 1 o’clock February 8 the line was withdrawn. Bivouacked the day and night of the 8th about two miles from the field of battle. The casualties of the 7th instant are as follows: Enlisted men killed, 1; wounded, 25; total loss in both days, 1 officer and 73 men. February 9, the regiment was on picket near Halifax road. On the 10th returned to old quarters. On the 11th moved to the position it now occupies. It is with great pleasure that I am able to speak in commendatory terms of the officers of my command, who were constantly with their companies from the time of our breaking camp on the 5th instant. I deem it also worthy of remark to state that with two exceptions the line officers present came out with the regiment as non-commissioned officers and privates, and have earned their present positions by their meritorious conduct on former occasions, which was so nobly sustained in the late movements of the 6th and 7th instant. Especial credit is due to Captain E. F. Davis for his efficient aid in taking charge of the regiment while deployed as skirmishers on the 7th instant. I can also speak in high terms of the conduct of the non-commissioned officers and many of the men of my command, many of whom have never before been brought under fire. I should not forget to mention Corpl. James Maloney, Company H, serving on the color guard, who picked up the colors after two color-bearers had been shot in succession and borne wounded from the field, and carried them with honor and credit to himself through the subsequent movements.
CHAS. W. TILDEN,
Colonel, Sixteenth Regiment Maine Volunteers.
Lieutenant AUBREY LEAVITT, A. A. A. G., Second Brigade.