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OR XL P1 #63: Reports of Major Timothy O’Brien, 152nd NY, June 12-July 30, 1864

No. 63. Reports of Major Timothy O’Brien, One hundred and fifty-second New York Infantry.1




June 12, at 9 p. m. started for the Chickahominy; marched all night. 13th, crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge and bivouacked near Wilcox’s Landing, on the James. June 14, crossed the James and landed at Wind-Mill Point; bivouacked about two miles from the landing. 15th, started 11 a. m. for Petersburg; a long and oppressive march. Reached first line of works in front of Petersburg at 1 a. m. 16th. At 5 p. m. advanced one-quarter of a mile and occupied a new position; under fire all night. 18th, at 5 p. m. charged enemy’s works and took them; later advanced again and were repulsed. 21st [20th], marched to the left and build breast-works at night, which we occupied the next day. 23rd [22d], rebels turned our left and we were forced to retire to second line; casualties, 50. 24th, relieved by part of the Fifth Corps. 26th, the Second Brigade (General Owen) discontinued, and this command assigned to First Brigade (General Webb).

Early part of July devoted to picket and fatigue duty; not under fire. 16th, slashed timber on the extreme left of our defenses. 21st, cut roads through the woods in rear of Fifth Corps. 26th, 4 p. m. started toward the Appomattox and James, both of which rivers we crossed early on morning of 27th, when we took position on New Market road in front of the enemy’s works and build breast-works. 28th, moved to the right and to within ten or twelve miles of Richmond, where we met the rebel skirmishers and constructed more breast-works. Retired at night to within a mile of the James, and dug rifle-pits, which we strengthened the next day (29th) in apparent expecta-


* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 4 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.442.


tion of the enemy. Recrossed the James after dark, marched very rapidly all night, and took our position at 5 p. m. July 30 in rear of Eighteenth Corps.


Major, Commanding Regiment.

Captain J. E. CURTISS,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 1st Brigadier, 2nd Div., 2nd Army Corps.

JUNE 23, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the circumstances under which my brigade [the Second] broke yesterday:

About 3 p. m. the enemy began shelling my line and kept it up for one hour. Then I discovered the enemy’s skirmishers advancing in front of my left and in front of the brigade of the Third Division which joined my left. I next discovered the enemy moving in force through the woods in front of the Third Division, and immediately men from that division began to run to the rear. I then sent a staff officer to report the fact to Major-General Gibbon. In about ten minutes the enemy advanced in line on my front. I repulsed them twice in great disorder, and would have been able to hold my position had not the enemy forced his way through the Third Division, on my left. Then the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers and One hundred and fifty-second New York Volunteers filed to the left oblique and were firing in that direction when I went to the right of my line to endeavor to save Captain McKnight’s guns. When I reached my right regiment (the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Volunteers) I found them engaged with the ememy in their front. O remained with I was engaged there the enemy occupied the works on my left (which were abandoned by the Third Division) and opened a galling flank fire on my command, and my brigade then began falling back from the left in some disorder. I remained with the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Volunteers until it was fired up from left and rear and that regiment then fell back. I am of the opinion that our corps line was turned near the left of the Third Division, because the first volley we got from the left seemed to have come a great distance. As this report was ordered to be made at once, I have had no opportunity to get any facts or information from regimental commanders; therefore what is stated here came under my own observation

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major 152nd New York Volunteers.

Major JOHN M. NORVELL, Assistant Adjutant-General.


  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 375-376
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