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OR XL P1 #80: Report of Lieutenant Colonel Michael W. Burns, 73rd NY, June 13-July 30, 1864

No. 80. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Michael W. Burns, Seventy-third New York Infantry.1


The Second Corps, crossing the Chickahominy at Long Bridge and marching steadily on, reached the north bank of the James River on the evening of the 13th [June]. On the morning of the 14th crossed the river of transports, this regiment being the first to land on the south side.

Started for Petersburg the morning of the 15th, arriving at 9 p. m., and taking position on the left of the line, threw up breast-works during the forenoon of the 16th, and in the afternoon relieved three regiments (our men being deployed in single line to do so) in the front line. Remained in that position under a tremendous fire whilst the First Division of the corps charged the enemy’s works. Were relieved at dark and rejoined the brigade (Excelsior), when the command moved to the right and threw up breast-


* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 3 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 503.


works. Remained until the morning of the 18th, when, the enemy having been driven back, the brigade advanced, the Seventy-third Regiment being in the advance, driving the enemy’s skirmishers before them into their works. Here formed line and again threw up works and remained until the morning of the 21st, when the march was resumed for the extreme left, near Jerusalem plank road, and again threw up works. On the evening of the 22d, a portion of the line having fallen [back], the regiment was deployed as skirmishers and held those of the enemy in check until the picket-line was re-established on the morning of the 23d. Remained in breast-works until the 29th, when the Sixth Corps was relieved by our own. Returned on the 2nd day of July and remained until the 10th, when the Second Corps again moved to the left, and tore down the breast-works of the Sixth Corps, they having left them for Maryland. On the 12th marched to the rear of the Fifth Corps and went into camp. Nothing occurred until the 26th, when the corps marched to James River, crossed on pontoons at a place called Jones’ Neck, reaching the north bank just at daylight. The Seventy-third New York was deployed as skirmishers on the left One hundred and tenth New York Regiment and connecting with the Fortieth New York Regiment and connecting with the Fortieth New York on the right. The line of skirmishers steadily advanced, driving those of the enemy back over a mile. Skirmished heavily all day, and during part of the forenoon this regiment was under a sharp artillery fire; was withdrawn at night and placed on picket. Remained there until the evening of the 28th, when the Third Division recrossed the river and marched to Petersburg, and remained in the rear of the Eighteenth Corps until the evening of the 29th, when, with the rest of this command, this regiment occupied the front line of works, which had been held by the Eighteenth Corps. Remained in them until the evening of the 30th, when we were relieved by the Eighteenth Corps and returned to our old camp.

Such is a brief account of the services of this regiment during the present campaign.

Whilst I would gladly mention by same each and every one who has distinguished himself by individual acts of daring and heroism, yet when all have done so well comparison is almost invidious. Of the officers Captain Thompson and McKenna, Adjutant Doris, and Lieutenant Potter, who were all wounded, faithfully performed their trying and arduous duties up to the time of their being disabled. Captain Bell and Lieutenant Shiel throughout the whole campaign have rendered me most signal and efficient support in the discharge of my duties, as has also Captain Manning, on each and every occasion. Of the enlisted men who have come under my personal notice may be mentioned Privates Christopher W. Wilson, Company E; Jeremiah Butler, Company B; Philip Slaughter, Company F, as worthy of especial notice. Orderly Sergt. William jones, Company A, was killed May 12, whilst seizing a rebel flag from the hands of its bearer; and in conclusion I would say that almost each and every one, both officers and soldiers, have done their duty.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.


Actg. Asst. Adgt. General, First Brigadier, Third Div., Second Corps.


  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 395-396
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