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OR XL P1 #182: Reports of Captain Benjamin F. Smiley, 2nd PAHA (Provisional), commanding Mortar Battery, June 26-July 30, 1864

No. 182. Reports of Captain Benjamin F. Smiley, Second Pennsylvania Provisional Heavy Artillery, commanding mortar battery, of operations June 26-July 30.1

NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., August 4, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to forward to the chief of artillery a report of the part taken by the Ninth Corps mortar battery in the action of July 30, 1864:

The battery comprises six pieces and occupied the following positions: Right section on the right of the covered way leading to the mine; center section confronting the work blown up; left section on the right of the road leading to Petersburg and about 100 yards to the left of the center section. Fire was opened immediately upon the blowing up of the rebel work, the right section throwing shell into the work known as the fort near the red house and whose fire could enfilade the work blown up. The center and left sections paid their compliments more particularly to the fort left of the Petersburg road, with an occasional shell from the center section into the works leading to the work mined. The number of shells fired by the different sections during the action were as follows, viz: Right section, up to 9 a.m., seventy rounds; center section, up to 9 a.m., thirty-eight rounds; left section, up to 9 a.m., sixty-three rounds. Total, 171 rounds. At 1.30 p.m., when the rebels charged the ruins, right section fired ten rounds, center section fired seven rounds, left section fired twelve rounds, making through the action a total of 200 rounds.

Very respectfully, yours,


Captain, in charge Mortars.


Actq. Asst. Adjt. General, Arty. Brigadier, Ninth Army Corps.

NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., August 15, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In obedience to Special Orders, No. 205, headquarters Army of the Potomac, I have the honor to report the operations of the Ninth Corps mortar battery:

The period embraced in the following dates, May 4 and June 26, I was with my regiment [Provisional Second Pennsylvania Volunteer Heavy Artillery], acting as infantry, and as a battery commander have no report to forward. By virtue of Special Orders, No. 93, dated headquarters Ninth Army Corps, near Petersburg, Va., June 26, 1864, I was placed in charge of the Ninth Corps mortars. Since assuming command the operations have been such as characterize mortar practice, firing slowly and usually very accurately. The enemy has been very much annoyed; shells were very frequently exploded in their pits, throwing men in the air and creating much confusion.

July 15, I blew up in the rebel work on the left of the Petersburg road what is supposed to have been a caisson. On the 20th another was exploded. On the 25th of July I blew up what is supposed to have been a small magazine from the amount of logs thrown in the air.

From the 25th to July 30, the operations were such as are incidental to the practice.

As a report of the operations of the battery July 30 has been forwarded it is not necessary to repeat it.

Respectfully, yours,


Captain, in charge Ninth Corps Mortars.


Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Arty. Brigadier, Ninth Army 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 543-544
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