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OR XL P1 #23: Reports of Captain James Fleming, 28th MA, June 13-July 31, 1864

No. 23.

Reports of Captain James Fleming, Twenty-eight Massachusetts Infantry.*1


The march from Cold Harbor across the Chickahominy River and the James River, with the operations before Petersburg, Va., Deep Bottom and vicinity, from June 16 to August 1, 1864.

Marched on the night of June 13, 1864, and with short halts reached the Chickahominy, and thence to James River. The regiment lost but few men as stragglers considering the long, rapid, and dusty march ; the heat was intense.

Arrived before Petersburg, Va., on the morning of June 16, 1864. The division (Third, First, and Fourth Brigades) was massed on the right and our Second Brigade charged independently on the left. In this charge the brigade lost another commanding officer in Colonel Kelly, Eighth New York Volunteers, and lost some men. We charged and drove the enemy from their first line of pits and occupied them that night. The men were utterly used up, and dropped asleep in the pits. The most exertions of the officers were almost ineffectual in keeping them in a wakeful condition. Remained there until noon of June 17, and were relieved, having been exposed to an enfilading fire from the enemy. Our loss on 16th, 17th, and 18th of June-enlisted men killed, 4; wounded, 11; missing, 3.


* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 4 to June 12 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 388.


Ordered to report duty to Colonel N. A. Miles, commanding First Brigade, and moved to the right on the night of June 20 and rested until 8 a. m. on June 22[21]2. Left and marched until 2 p. m. Threw out this regiment as flankers in the afternoon, and were shelled by the enemy while deployed in the woods and again thrown out as skirmishers.

June 23 [22]3, received and kept at bay the enemy’s approach until not a cartridge was left, when we fell back, and received the compliments of General Barlow upon the ground. In these two skirmishes we lost 1 killed, 5 wounded, and 1 missing, 11 prisoners.

Encamped in woods, built bower until July 5, 1864; general muster and pay-rolls, reports, and returns made out. Marched to left and occupied works built by the Sixth Corps, which was supposed to have gone to Washington. Remained here several days and moved to this position, where we again encamped until the 26th.

Evening of 26th of July formed in line and marched all night until 2 o’clock, crossing the appomattox and James Rivers to near Deep Bottom; bivouacked in field on edge of heavy woods until 5 a. m. [27th]; formed in the woods, General Miles, First brigade, in advance; deployed as skirmishers and advanced, covered by Captain Sleeper’s battery, the skirmish line of this brigade being under the immediate command of Colonel James C. Lynch, this regiment having the right of the line, each regiment leaving its colors and color company 150 paces in the rear of the skirmish line as a reserve under charge of Colonel Lynch, One hundred and eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers. The order being given to advance, the line moved forward over an open field until within about fifty yards of the enemy’s line, when skirmishing commenced and the enemy opened his battery of four 20-pounder Parrot guns. Captain Fleming advanced his line at a left half-wheel, thus throwing an enfilading fire into the enemy, and being the first to strike the enemy’s line, causing them to abandon the guns, which were taken safely to the rear. There were but ninety-four men in this regiment, and the movement of the regiment at a half-wheel enabled them to pour in a flank fire, which was the immediate cause of the enemy abandoning the guns and position. In this affair the regiment lost but 3 men wounded and 1 killed.

Relieved from the picket-line at 7 p. m. on the 27th and marched back to works captured in the morning. Worked that night on improving the works for our own defense and remained there felling trees and building earth-work until evening of the 29th July, when we packed up and marched back, recrossing the James and Appomattox Rivers, and July 30 arrived in front of Petersburg at 3.30 a. m., when the general assault commenced on the enemy’s line. Formed under a high bluff in support to the Ninth Corps. Remained until evening when the corps was again marched to camp occupied July 26 previous to moving across the James, where this regiment is now encamped. The men of this regiment were much exhausted from fatigue, but there was not much straggling, all being within the encampment on August 1, 1864, or accounted for otherwise.

In this last affair some credit is felt to be due the regiment, and the officers and men are satisfied that their services are appreciated.

Casualties during fifth epoch from July 14 to August 1, 1864-6 enlisted men killed, 19 enlisted men wounded, 2 enlisted men missing, and 2 enlisted men prisoners.



August 9, 1864.

Respectfully submitted.

The above list of casualties and brief history of the part taken by this regiment has been compiled very hastily from a diary kept by First Lieutenant M. Binney, and the haste in which it was made up must excuse many imperfections in grammar and chirography; chronologically it is believed to be correct, and the casualties also correct.

Captain, Commanding Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers.


Report of operations on the north bank of the James River by the Twenty-eighth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, from the 26th to the 30th of July, and from the 13th to the of August, 1864, with a list of casualties in each case, in compliance with circular from headquarters First Brigade.

About 3 p. m. of the 26th of July, 1864, the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Major James Fleming commanding, broke camp before Petersburg, Va., marched with the brigade (the First of the First Division. Second Army Corps) to Deep Bottom, Va. Arrived there about 2 a. m. of the 27th instant. The march was very hurried and exhausting. Shortly after daybreak the regiment was deployed as skirmishers, occupying the right of the line the One hundred and eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers being in the center, and the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers on the left. While the Fifth New Hampshire and One hundred and eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers were hotly engaged with the enemy in front the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers succeed in on their flank, causing them to retire in confusion from their breast-works, leaving in our hands four 24-pounder Parrot guns [SOPO Ed. Note: This is one of the few cases where I’ve caught a mistake in the Official Records.  The First Brigade captured 4 20-lb., not 24-lb., Parrot rifles.  There was no such thing as a “24-lb.” Parrot rifle.] with caissons and ammunition. This command also captured several prisoners, among them one commissioned officer. During the remainder of the day the regiment was on picket till evening, when it was relieved.

Just before dark the 28th instant the regiment moved back to the New Market road and assisted in throwing up a line of works.

At dark on the 29th instant the regiment, with the corps, marched back to before Petersburg, arriving there about daybreak of the 30th, and acted as a support to the Ninth Army Corps during the day.

Casualties the period – 2 enlisted men killed and 2 wounded.*

Major Twenty-eight Massachusetts Volunteers, Commanding Regiment.


* For continuation of report, see Vol. XLII, Part I.



  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 334-337
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: The date in parentheses is the correct date and was added by the editors of the Official Records.  The date as listed is what the officer originally, mistakenly, wrote.  This is true throughout the Official Records.
  3. SOPO Editor’s Note: The date in parentheses is the correct date and was added by the editors of the Official Records.  The date as listed is what the officer originally, mistakenly, wrote.  This is true throughout the Official Records.
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