No. 87. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel William B. Neeper, Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry.1
HDQRS. FIFTY-SEVENTH Regiment PENN. VETERAN VOLS., August 10, 1864.
June 12, 10 p. m., moved out by the left flank, marched across the Peninsula, crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, arrived on the banks of the James River near Douthat’s Landing. Crossed the river June 14, moved up the river about two miles and formed line of battle.
June 15, 11 a. m., took up line of march toward Petersburg, arrived within two miles at 11 p. m., relieved the colored troops which had been engaged during the day.
June 16, moved down into a hollow in rear of the skirmish line, formed part of the line of battle was to assault the enemy’s works in front of Petersburg. The Sixty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers joined us on our right and the First Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery on our left. We moved forward, driving the rebel skirmishers before us across a ravine, through an old camp, and finally into earth-works. Our men fought well, repeatedly advancing and falling back. Our force was insufficient to scale the works. After swaying back and forth until 9 p. m., threw up a work under a heavy fire from the enemy and lay down behind it; 11 p. m. was relieved and moved back to the ground occupied the previous a. m.
June 17, 10 a. m., moved down the Petersburg road to the right in a hollow in rear of our first line of breast-works. At dusk, with the balance of the brigade, relieved the picket-line with line of battle. The enemy in front of us opened a heavy musketry fire from their works, which was not more than ten rods distant. The fire was returned briskly by our men. We then threw up breast-works during the night.
June 18, were ordered to charge the enemy’s works; did so and found the works evacuated. Pushed forward, met the line of skirmishers, drove them back to the main work on the south side of the Petersburg road. A hot fire was opened upon us from this newly-discovered work. The road and its embankments afforded us good protection. 12 m. another charge was ordered, which for some reason was not carried out.
June 19, 11 p. m., pushed forward, threw up a new line of earth-works extending across the open field in front of the Hare house.
June 20, under a brisk fire from the enemy’s sharpshooters all day. At 11 p. m. was relieved by the Ninth Corps and taken to the rear.
June 21, marched to the extreme left; our corps joined the Eighteenth Corps on the left, and threw up breast-works.
June 22, advanced three-quarters of a mile beyond our works; skirmished with the enemy. Our extreme left flank was turned by the enemy. Before we became aware of our situation was fired upon from our left and rear. We were compelled to fall back to the line of works built the previous night and remained there until June 28. We were moved out, established a new line, and built breast-works.
June 29, laid out our camp and remained quietly behind our works until about July 10. Was aroused at midnight, ordered to level our
*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 4 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 482.
works without noise, and be ready to move. Having accomplished this, at daybreak moved out to the right and encamped in the rear of the Fifth Corps. Remained in this vicinity until July 26. Received orders to be ready to move at 5 p. m.; took up line of march, crossed the Appomattox River at Point of Rocks; arrived on the banks of the James River at daybreak.
July 27, crossed over to the north side at Deep Bottom; halted for one hour; then formed line of battle, the skirmishers then being engaged with the enemy in the edge of the woods about half a mile distant; were ordered out as a support; advanced out through a ravine until within five or six rods of the skirmishers, where we remained until about 2 p. m. The enemy having fallen back we formed in line of battle along the edge of the woods; changed position several times during the day; finally got into position near and parallel with the New Market road; remained in this position until 3 p. m. July 28; were then moved back along the road about half a mile and threw up rifle-pits; got them completed at sundown; received orders to move; took up line of march shortly after dark; recrossed the James and Appomattox Rivers; marched all night. At daybreak July 29 arrived in rear of the Eighteenth Corps; filed into a pine woods; remained there until after dark; took up line of march to the front, took position in the trenches, relieving part of the Eighteenth Corps, our left joining on the right of the Ninth Corps. At 3 a. m. July 30 the bombardment commenced. We were ordered to keep up a fire of musketry to prevent the enemy’s sharpshooters from picking off the gunners; were engaged in this way all day until a severe shelling and musketry fire. At 10 p. m. were relieved by the Eighteenth Corps and marched back to our old camp in rear of Fifth Corps.
Lost in fifth epoch: Captain J. R. Lyons, Company A, wounded in arm by gunshot (severe); Adjt. C. M. Lyons, mortally wounded in head; First Lieutenant J. F. Ruger, Company F, missing; Second Lieutenant H. M. Adams, killed; 2 enlisted men killed, 15 enlisted men wounded; 8 enlisted men missing.
WM. B. NEEPER,
Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Fifty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Vet. Vols.
[Captain F. E. MARBLE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.]
HDQRS. FIFTY-SEVENTH PENNSYLVANIA VETERAN VOLS., September 24, 1864.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with circular from headquarters Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, dated September 24, 1864, I have the honor to submit the following report:
On the 26th of July, about noon, we received orders to be ready to move. At 5 p. m. took up line of march; crossed the Appomattox River at Point of Rocks, and arrived on the banks of the James River at daylight. July 27, crossed over to the north side at Deep Bottom; halted for one hour for breakfast; then formed line of battle, the skirmishers being engaged with the enemy in the edge of a woods about half a mile distant. We were ordered out as a support, and advanced through a ravine, the enemy shelling us furiously for a short time, until within five or six rods of the skirmishers, where we remained until about 2 p. m., the enemy having fallen back. We formed part of a line of battle
along the edge of the woods, changed position several times during the day, and finally formed a line parallel with and near the New Market road, where we remained during the night and until about 3 p. m. July 28, when we moved back along the New Market road about half a mile and threw up breast-works. At dark received orders to move. At about 9 p. m. took up line of march and recrossed the James and Appomattox Rivers. At daybreak arrived in rear of the Eighteenth Corps, where we remained all day July 29 until dark, and moved out into the breast-works, relieving part of the Eighteenth Corps. At about 3 a. m. July 30 the bombardment commenced and from that time until we were relieved (after dark) we were under a hot shelling and musketry fire from the enemy. We also kept up a steady fire during the day.
During this period no casualties occurred in this regiment.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. B. NEEPER,
Captain J. B. TEN EYCK,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
- 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 404-406 ↩