Numbers 153. Report of Brigadier General Frank Wheaton, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of operations June 13-July 10.1
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS,
September 1, 1864.
June 13, a.m., moved from the vicinity of Cold Harbor by the left, flank, following the Second Brigade. Marched east to Hopkins’ Mill, then southeast, via Providence Meeting House, Emmaus Church, and Forge Mill to Jones’ Bridge, on the Chickahominy, over which we crossed at 7.30 p.m. and bivouacked at the road, leading west to Long Bridge. (General Neill being indisposed, I had command of the division during the night. He resumed command of it in the morning.)
June 14, marched at 4 a.m., this brigade leading the corps, toward Charles City Court-House, via Vaiden’s Store. When within a mile of that town turned southeast a mile and formed on the right of division and corps, facing northeast, within a mile of Tyler’s Mill, near the James River.
June 15, moved southeast a mile and formed line on right of division and left of Third Division, facing north, covering the movement of trains from Cole’s Ferry, on the Chickahominy, to the pontoon bridge across the James at Powhatan Point.
June 16, moved still farther south and west, the left of the division resting on the James opposite Wind-Mill Point, which position we intrenched, the corps line crossing the peninsula at that locality. At 5 p.m. were relieved by brigade of colored troops. The trains accompanying the corps, with the artillery and the Second Division, being ordered to Petersburg (the First and Third Divisions having embarked for Bermuda Hundred), we crossed the pontoon at 9 p.m., and marched all night in the direction of that city.
June 17, passed Old Court-House, near Baily’s Creek, at 1 p.m. and halted in rear of the Eighteenth Corps in the evening, within three miles of Petersburg. Held in reserve all night, the balance of the division, having relieved Brooks’ division, of the Eighteenth Corps. The brigade was under arms several times in the night in consequence of heavy firing at the front.
June 18, moved to the front at 7. Crossed the outer works of Petersburg. Formed on the right of Gibbon’s division, of Second Corps, and on the left of Edwards’ brigade. Moved forward with the Second Corps at 11 and attacked the enemy behind small earth-work, brush, and fences, with but partial success, however. The enemy retired to his main line of works, three-quarters of a mile from Petersburg, which necessitated a contraction of the line. Edwards’ brigade went into the second line, and my brigade then formed the front line, with Martindale’s division, of Eighteenth Corps, on the right and Gibbon on the left. At 2 moved forward in conjunction with them, but could not go more than 150 yards, being exposed to a severe front and cross-fire of musketry and canister. Remained all night in that position and intrenched it.
*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 4 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.681.
June 19, remained all day in same position, exposed to musketry and artillery fire. At dark relieved by Vermont Brigade, and retired to open ground near the outer works of Petersburg and camped.
June 20, exposed to fire of rebel batteries on the north bank of Appomattox, without any casualties, however. At 10 p.m. sent out Ninety-third Pennsylvania Volunteers to fill up the second line in connection with Third Brigade, which was relieving a part of the Second Corps.
June 21, assumed the command of the Second Division, General Neill being relieved by order of Lieutenant-General Grant, and General Getty not yet returned. 9 p.m., the brigade, now in command of Colonel J. F. Ballier, Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, with the balance of the division, was relieved by a part of the Eighteenth Corps, General Smith, and marched all night to the left in the direction of the Jerusalem plank road.
June 22, at 2 a.m. crossed the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad and halted at 4 o’clock near the Jones’ house, on the Jerusalem plank road, for breakfast and rest. Followed the plank south to the road running northwest, intersecting at the Wiliams house, and formed in rear of the Third Division, which had gone there the day before and intrenched a position. Upon our arrival the Third Division advanced in the direction of the Aiken house and Weldon railroad. 4 p.m., this brigade was ordered to the right in reserve to First Division, and was not engaged in any way with the enemy.
June 23, early in the morning the brigade was ordered to fill a gap between the First and Third Divisions. After moving to the point designated, General Russell, commanding First Division, sent word that his division and the Third Division had been advanced so as to fill the gap. The brigade reported back to the Second Division, on the left of the Third, at 4 p.m., and formed on the left of Grant’s brigade, facing west and within a quarter of a mile of the Aiken house. Sent out the Sixty-second New York Volunteers to extend the skirmish line, while the main line was engaged in building breast-works. At 5 p.m. the cavalry came in in disorder from the direction of the Weldon railroad, and soon after the picket-line was vigorously attacked and driven nearly to the main line. The enemy (afterward known to be Hill’s corps) deployed to the front and left and made dispositions apparently for attack, but night came on without further demonstrations. At 9 p.m. received orders to be ready to attack the rebels, but at 10 o’clock this order was countermanded, and instead we retired to the first line occupied on the morning of the 22d, near the Wiliams house, and intrenched on the left, including to and covering the Jerusalem plank, facing south and southwest. From this date till the 29th received frequent orders to be ready for a movement against the enemy, but was not required to leave the camp of the 24th.
On the 28th General Getty returned and resumed command of the division.
June 29, moved at 2 p.m. with the balance of the corps to the support of Wilson’s cavalry at Reams’ Station, on the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad; arrived there at 7.30 p.m., but too late to assist him. Formed lines, facing west, and after intrenching went into bivouac.
Remained until 6 p.m. of June 30 engaged in destroying the railroad, when we were relieved by General Sheridan’s cavalry, and returned during the night to the Jerusalem plank road, four miles south
of the camps of the 28th; went into bivouac. Remained there until July 2, when we returned to the Wiliams house and formed a new line and camps east of the plank road, facing south.
July 5, moved the line one-eighth of a mile farther south and built rifle-pits and battery work.
July 9, 11 p.m., moved from camp toward City Point, from which we embarked the following day for Washington.
The following casualties occurred in the operations in the vicinity of Petersburg, from June 17 to July 9:
Captain Jacob P. Embich, Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, wounded June 18, Second Lieutenant Louis Lichtstern, Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, wounded June 18.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.
Major CHARLES MUNDEE,
Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Sixth Army Corps.
* For continuation of report, see Vol. XXXVII, Part I, p.275.
- 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 496-498 ↩