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OR XL P1 #151: Report of Colonel Oliver Edwards, 37th MA, commanding 3/1/VI/AotP, June 12-July 10, 1864

Numbers 151. Report of Colonel Oliver Edwards, Thirty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations June 12-July 10.1

August 31, 1864.

SIR: *


On the night of the 12th [June] the lines are withdrawn from the vicinity of Cold Harbor, and the march taken up in the direction of the Chickahominy. The movement continues all day on the 13th, and that stream is crossed near Jones’ Bridge; bivouac for the night on its west bank; march resumed at 5 a.m. on the 14th as rear guard to the train; reach Charles City Court-House at 11 o’clock, and the vicinity of James River shortly afterward. The brigade detailed on fatigue duty, repairing roads leading to the pontoon that was about to be laid across the river near Powhatan. On the evening of the 16th took transport and landed at Bermuda Hundred shortly before daylight. On the 17th march out in the direction of the works occupied by Major-General Butler’s forces, where remained until the morning of the 19th, when the brigade moved to the vicinity of Petersburg, crossing the Appomattox at the upper pontoon. On picket along the banks of that stream; re-


* For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.672.


mained in that position until the evening of the 21st, when, with the rest of the corps, moved to the extreme left of the army. On the 22nd move forward with the rest of the corps to attack. Skirmishers meet the enemy and become engaged, but no general attack is made in our front. At 3 p.m. on the 23rd the brigade is detached from the corps and ordered to the left, which is supposed to be threatened. At night withdraw from that position and take up a new line. On the 24th the command throws up another line of earth-works, lays out its camps, orders having come to band to the effect that the corps may retain its position for a few days. The command remained in the same position until the afternoon of the 29th instant, when it commenced a hot and dusty march toward Reams’ Station, reaching that point and going into position in its vicinity some time after dark, where it remained until the afternoon of the 30th, with no enemy in its immediate front. The brigade here assisted in destroying several miles of the Weldon railroad in the direction of Stony Creek. The cross-ties were thoroughly burned, and the rails so effectually destroyed by the application of the heat from the burning of the ties as to render them wholly unfit for immediate use. On the afternoon of the 30th move back over the same route, under orders to resume the old position near the Wiliams house, but the orders were subsequently countermanded, and the command halts and bivouac for the night on the Jerusalem plank road, where it remains until the 2nd at daylight, when it moves back to the main lines of the army, taking a position a short distance to the left of that which it left on the 29th. Nothing occurred of any importance or worthy of note until the 7th, when the Thirty-seventh <Massachusetts, from the Fourth Brigade, Second Division, and the Eighty-second and Twenty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, from the Fourth Brigade of the First Division, were attached to the command, and Colonel O. Edwards, Thirty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, assigned to the command of the brigade. On the evening of the 9th the command, with the First and Second Divisions of the corps, moved to City Point, taking transports on the 10th en route for Washington.

It is impossible at present to give complete lists of the casualties, and the attention of higher commanders is called to the nominal statements thereof, which are as complete as can be furnished, and which accompany this report.


Colonel, Commanding.

Major HENRY R. DALTON, 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 493-494
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