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OR XL P1 #144: Report of Lieutenant Lester I. Richardson, Btty D 1st NY Lt Arty, June 12-July 31, 1864

Numbers 144. Report of Lieutenant Lester I. Richardson, Battery D, First New York Light Artillery.1

August 12, 1864.



Left camp at dark, and at daylight of the morning of June 13 found us near the Chickahominy River. Crossed the river about 7 a.m. at Long Bridge, moved on about two miles, where we camped for the day. Moved out of camp at dark, and at daylight, Tuesday, June 14, still on the march; went into camp at 10 a.m. near Charles City Court-House, and moved out of camp at 2 p.m. same day. Marched about three miles, and camped one mile from the James River, near Wilcox’s Wharf. June 15, remained in camp all day. June 16, moved out this morning before light, crossed the James River on pontoons near Wind-Mill Point, marched to near Petersburg, and at 2 p.m. camped for the night. June 17, remained in camp during the day. June 18, moved out this morning at 6 a.m.; was assigned my position about 8 a.m., 600 yards in front and some 300 to the right of headquarters. As I went in position the enemy’s batteries were firing, but with very poor effect. I remained here about half an hour, when I was ordered to advance my battery. I moved forward say 200 yards, and to my right about 100, moving only one gun at a time. During this time and before this we had failed to injure the enemy’s battery to any extent, as far as we knew. After firing a few rounds from this last position, I was ordered up still farther, and as the fire was at that time it was impossible to move my guns with horses, so I would fire my guns and then run them up a little more than the recoil, and in that manner I got my position, where we remained during the day. June 19, left the front this morning about 8 a.m., moved to the rear a short distance, and went in camp for the day. June 20 to 30, inclusive (see Lieutenant D. F. Ritchie’s report+). July 1 to 21, inclusive, remained in camp. July 22, moved out and occupied the works in rear of General Griffin’s headquarters, where we remained until the night of July 24, when I was ordered to move


* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 5 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.649.

+ Not found.


out and take my battery to the front. Two of my guns were put in Fort Tilton and two in a small redan on the right of Fort Tilton. On the evening of July 29 I received orders to remove the two guns from Fort Tilton to the redan, thus getting my battery together, in which position they were July 30.

I cannot close this hastily written report without speaking of the gallant conduct of the officers and men under my command. The duties throughout the whole campaign were most arduous, and the battles from May 5 to June 18, inclusive, were the most fearful and hardest fought of any in which this battery has been engaged. Although exposed while in action to a heavy fire of artillery and infantry, my officers and men maintained throughout a coolness and bravery worthy of all praise. Lieutenant De Mott (killed June 3), Lieutenant Fuller, and First Sergeant Babcock commanded their respective sections to my entire satisfaction, and are entitled to all honors that can be bestowed upon officers for gallant conduct; and my non-commissioned officers, to them also are entitled the same honor, and not a man but performed his duty nobly and cheerfully; not a murmur or complaints was heard either upon the tiresome marches or upon the battle-field.

Yours respectfully,


First Lieutenant, Commanding Battery D, First New York Artillery.

Lieutenant F. MORRIS,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Artillery Brigade, Fifth 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 486-487
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