Report of Lieutenant Colonel John P. Spofford, Ninety-seventh New York Infantry, of operations February 5-8.1
HDQRS. 97TH REGIMENT NEW YORK STATE VOLS.,
February 15, 1865.
LIEUTENANT: In accordance with circular from your headquarters, dated February 12, 1865, I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this regiment during the recent operations near Hatcher’s Run:
The regiment broke camp on the morning of the 5th instant, marching with the column, by the Halifax road, across Rowanty Creek. The brigade halted on Gravelly Run plantation, and formed line of battle, remaining until about 4 a. m. 6th instant, when it took up the line of march on the Vaughan road, recrossing Hatcher’s Run near Dabney’s Mill, where it halted until about 1 p. m. Again crossed Hatcher’s Run and advanced toward Dabney’s Mill, near which we formed line of battle, this regiment forming in rear of the Sixteenth Maine Volunteers. The line then advanced steadily, under a heavy fire from the enemy, until we had gained the old mill, when the brigade on our right being forced back, the enemy, pressing forward, both on our right
and left, poured in a heavy cross-fire, rendering our position untenable, and we were forced to retire. The men of the different regiments, mingling together, fell back in some confusion, but soon rallied around their colors and drove the enemy back, reoccupying the former position, holding it near thirty minutes. The enemy being re-enforced, and pouring in a terrible fire both on our front and flanks, compelled us to fall back the second time. The line was again reformed, amid some confusion, and as well as possible under the circumstances, and went forward again with the brigade, and threw up temporary breast-works and held them until the Second Division fell back, leaving us unsupported on either flank; we were compelled to fall back to our line of works, where we remained during the night. On the morning of the 7th instant advanced up Hatcher’s Run toward Armstrong’s Mill and to the right of the battle-field of the 6th; formed line of battle in rear of skirmish line, and advanced, driving the enemy’s skirmishers about three-quarters of a mile, when the line halted and opened fire, remaining in this position until about 5 p. m., when the Third Brigade was ordered to charge the enemy. The ranks of this regiment having been thinned to such an extent, was ordered to advance as skirmishers in front of the charging column; were repulsed, and retired to the line which we had held during the afternoon, where we remained until 1 a. m. 8th instant, when we again moved back to the fortifications. I take especial pleasure in bringing to your notice Adjt. W. B. Judd (whose term of service had expired) for gallant conduct on both days of the fight. On the 7th, many yards in front of the line, while cheering on the men by word and act, he was struck in the knee by a musket-ball, by which he lost his leg. Many instances of noble during among the enlisted men, too numerous for this report, will be commended in regimental orders. The loss of the regiment was as follows: February 6, 1865, 9 enlisted men wounded and 6 missing; February 7, 1865, 3 commissioned officers wounded, 3 enlisted men killed and 14 wounded. Two of those reported missing we have since ascertained to have been killed.
I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, yours, &c.,
J. P. SPOFFORD,
Lieutenant A. LEAVITT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.