Numbers 110. Report of Lieutenant G. Lyman Dwight, Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, of operations June 8-30.1
HDQRS. BATTY. A, FIRST RHODE ISLAND LIGHT ARTY., July 1, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, from the 8th to the 30th of June, inclusive:
I assumed command of the battery on 8th of June, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Va. The strength of the company on that date was as follows: 2 commissioned officers present, 1 absent wounded, 48 enlisted men present, 12 absent wounded, 43 attached men present, 9 absent
wounded; there were 19 men temporarily attached to the battery same day and 10 men on 9th of June, 1864, from other batteries of the corps; making a total of 120 present. The battery received as thorough a reorganization as the time and circumstances would permit, and reported for duty on the evening of 10th of June, 1864. On the 12th it was assigned to duty with General Birney’s division, and the same day at 3 p. m. threw several shots at an observatory being erected by the rebels before General Birney’s left; fired slowly for two hours, causing them (the enemy) to cease their work and conceal themselves. At 10 p. m. moved with Third Division toward Chickahominy River, crossing at about noon of the 13th; two horses abandoned on the road from exhaustion during march of 12th of June. At 5.30 p. m. 13th arrived at James River and camped in rear of line established by General Birney; distance marched from Cold Harbor to the James River about twenty-five miles; six horses abandoned on the road from exhaustion and want of feed. At 6 p. m. 14th loaded the battery on transports near Wilcox’s Wharf, crossed the river, and at 4 a. m. 15th camped on opposite side, one mile above place of disembarkation, where teams unharnessed. At 11.30 a. m. moved with General Birney’s division to vicinity of Petersburg, Va., distance eighteen miles, camping at 10 p. m., teams in harness all night; unharnessed at daybreak 16th of June. At 6.30 a. m. took a position on General Birney’s line, at his order, and threw a few shot into the city. At 8 a. m., by order of General Birney, assumed position on his left, under fire, and engaged the guns of the enemy intrenched in his front. Silenced the enemy in an hour, causing their battery to be withdrawn from their works. Desultory firing during the day. Earth-works were constructed for the protection of the battery.
June 17, at 6.30 a. m. moved half a mile to front and right, by General Barlow’s order, to his line, and occupied a position of his selection. Was briskly engaged with two batteries of the enemy for half an hour, when firing ceased from both lines, and the battery was intrenched immediately. Engaged with the enemy’s batteries (at 1,000 yards distance) at intervals during the day, sustaining the loss of 7 men and 4 horses wounded.
June 18, enemy’s lines were changed during the night, rendering occupation of position by battery useless, and at 7 p. m. the battery was moved into camp, half a mile in rear. June 19 and 20, remained in same camp.
June 21, at 7.30 a. m. moved with Artillery Brigade to brigade camp, one mile to rear. At 9 a. m. rejoined Third Division and moved with it to left of army, distance five miles, camping on Jerusalem road at 7 p. m., where unharnessed horses.
June 22, remained in same camp till 5.30 p. m., when the battery was ordered to position on infantry line of Third Division. The woods occupied by the enemy were 230 yards by measurement from the front of the battery. At dark the battery was removed from the works, the position being considered too near the enemy to permit occupation during night. The night was employed in construction of works suitable for battery.
June 23 to 27, inclusive, the battery remained in same position, being withdrawn at dark nightly and resuming position at earliest light (3 a. m.) daily. On night of 27th of June the battery was relieved by Captain Edgell, commanding First New Hampshire Battery, and withdrawn to camp near Jones’ house. June 28 to 30, inclusive, in same camp.
The daily movements of the battery from 3rd of May to 8th of June, 1864, and its constant participation in the battles of that period, I am unfortunately unable to submit, as for some unknown reason they were taken away by the late commanding officer on his departure from the battery on 8th of June, 1864.
Unofficial intelligence has been received of the death of First Lieutenant Peter Hunt on 14th of June, 1864, from wounds received at Shallow Creek, Va., 30th of May, 1864, while in command of a section of this battery. The battery deeply regrets the loss of so brave, valuable, and efficient an officer.
G. L. DWIGHT,
First. Lieutenant First Rhode Island Light Arty., Commanding Co. A.
Lieutenant U. D. EDDY,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Army Corps.
- 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 438-440 ↩