Report of Colonel Robert Nugent, Sixty-ninth New York Infantry, commanding brigade, of operations March 25.1
HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., FIRST DIV., 2nd ARMY CORPS,
March 26, 1865
COLONEL: In compliance with instructions from headquarters First Division, I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of this command on the 25th instant:
About 6.30 a. M. I received orders to strike tents and hold my command in readiness to march at a moment’s notice. At 9 a. M. we moved into the breast-works vacated by the First Brigade and remained in them until about 2.15 p. M., when I received orders from the major-general commanding the division to advance about half a mile in front of the works and form line of battle in front of the Skinner house. The line was then advanced into the woods about fifty paces in front of the captured rebel picket-line, my left connecting with the right of the First Brigade, but was subsequently retired about twenty paces in rear of the woods. We remained in this position until about 4.10 p. M., when a bugler on the rebel side sounded the charge the enemy advancing on us at the same time with a yell and at the double-quick. We opened a terrific musketry fire on them; they made several persistent attempts to break through my line, but were repulsed in every instance. My command held their ground with unflinching bravery, not yielding an inch. Failing to drive us in front, the enemy moved to our right, doubtless with the intention of turning my right flank, which was protected only by a line of skirmishers, who kept back the rebel skirmish line but were forced to retire before their line of battle. Perceiving their object, I immediately swung the right wing of the Sixty-
ninth New York Volunteers around, and gave instructions at the same time to the other regiments of the brigade to oblique their fire to the right, and succeeded in driving them back, but not before they had inflicted a severe loss on us by an enfilading fire which they kept up while they held this ground. I was relieved at 6.30 p. M. by a portion of the Fifth Corps. Retiring about fifty paces I reformed line and awaited orders. I remained in this position for about twenty minutes when I was ordered still farther to the rear and instructed to stack arms, allow the men to rest, and replenish the supply of ammunition. About 11 p. M. received orders to place a regiment in the interval between the left of the First Division and the right of the Third Division, which was executed. About 12 o’clock the regiment was withdrawn, leaving sufficient pickets to cover their front, and the brigade was ordered to march back to the old camp. I have great pleasure in reporting that the officers and men behaved in a most gallant manner. Where all performed their duty so faithfully it is almost impossible to particularize, yet I cannot help mentioning the commanding officer of the different regiments, viz: Lieutenant Colonel Smith, Sixty-ninth New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Fleming, Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, who, I regret to say, was severely wounded; Captain smith, Eighty-eighth, and Captain Terwilliger, Sixty-third New York Volunteers; also Capt Murtha Murphy, Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, who was in command of the skirmishers. This officer checked the advance of the rebels on my right with the most commendable tenacity, disputing every inch of the ground, until he finally formed his men on the right of the brigade. I am deeply indebted to the members of my staff, viz, Captains Oldershaw and Foley and Lieutenant Granger, for the able assistance they so willingly rendered me. I will particularize Captain Oldershaw for the cool bravery exhibited by him throughout the engagement. I will also mention Lieutenant-Colonel Gleason, Sixty-third New York Volunteers, who, although under arrest, rendered me great assistance in carrying orders at different times.
Accompanying I send a nominal list of the casualties.*
I am, colonel, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel R. A. BROWN.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, first Division.
*Embraced in tables, VOL. XLVI, Part I. [SOPO Editor’s Note: No casualty returns found for Second Corps for March 25, 1865 in Volume VLVI, Part I. Where are they?]