Report of Major James E. Larkin, Fifth New Hampshire Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH NEW HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTEERS,
Near Petersburg, Va., August 9, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Fifth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the operations of the fifth epoch, indicated in Special Orders, No. 209, headquarters Army of the Potomac:
About 9 o’clock of the night of the 12th of June the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers left their works at Cold harbor and took up the line of march for the Chickahominy River.
On the morning of the 13th the regiment relieved a portion of the Sixth Corps as guard at Bottom’s Bridge. After the passage of the Second Corps, the Fifth New Hampshire, following in rear of the corps crossed the river at Long Bridge and arrived at Wilcox’s Landing, on the James River, about 7 o’clock on the night of the 14th the Fifth crossed the James arriving in front of Petersburg on the morning of the 16th of June. About 3 p. m. the Fifth New Hampshire formed line of battle on the extreme right of the First Division and on the left of the Third Division. In the engagement which followed Colonel Charles E. Hapgood was wounded and the command of the regiment devolved on Major J. E. Larkin. In the evening a line of rifle-pits was thrown up.
During a charge made by a portion of the Ninth Corps on the 17th I was ordered by the brigade commander to move my regiment forward. In the execution of this order the regiment moved out of its breast works in line of battle and making a half-wheel to the right occupied a rise of ground in front of the enemy’s earth-works, commanding the rebel works, for two hours and a half and expending 160 rounds of ammunition per man. While all did well, I beg leave to make special mention of First Sergt. R. H. Chase, Company C, for his bravery and coolness throughout this action. There times through the heavy fire he carried communications to the brigade commander and with his own hands brought cartridges from the breast-works to his regiment.
On the 18th instant the Fifth moved forward and took a position now held by a part of the Ninth Corps near the Petersburg and Norfolk Railroad. In gaining the railroad 6 men were wounded on the skirmish line. The regiment remained in the second line of battle till the night of the 20th of June.
On the 21st of June the regiment moved to the left toward the Jerusalem plank road, crossed that road, and proceeded toward the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad. At night the regiment went on picket. The next morning it was withdrawn, and rejoining the division marched to the right in front of a line of works which had been thrown up the night before by a portion of the division. After proceeding for a short distance we were countermarched and occupied the breast-works just in time to repel an attack from a rebel force in our front.
On the 24th of June the regiment moved to the second line, where it remained till July 9.
During the night of the 9th the Fifth moved to the left and relieved a portion of the picket of the Sixth Corps, where we remained till July 12. At that date the regiment was withdrawn from the picket-line and moved some three miles farther to the left down the Jerusalem road to the cavalry’s support.
On the morning of the 13th camped in rear of the Fifth Corps, where we remained till July 26, performing our part of the arduous fatigue duty required in the prosecution of the siege.
On the afternoon of July 26 took up line of march for Deep Bottom, crossed the James about 3 a. m. of the 27th, and rested a short time on the north bank. Line of battle was formed, the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers on the right, the One hundred and eighty-third Pennsylvania in the center, the Fifth New Hampshire on the left. The left wing of the Fifth was then deployed as skirmishers the right wing being in reserve. The line moved upon the enemy’s works, driving him out and capturing 4 Parrott guns and a number of small-arms and prisoners.
During the affair on the 30th the regiment was held in reserve.
A list of casualties* during these operations is herewith respectfully transmitted.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. E. LARKIN,
Major, Commanding Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers.
Captain G. H. CALDWELL,
- 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 338-340 ↩