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OR XL P1 #242: Report of Lieutenant William N. Dennison, Btty A 2nd US Arty, July 28, 1864

Numbers 242. Report of Lieutenant William N. Dennison, Battery A, Second U. S. Artillery, of operations July 28.1


SIR: I have the honor to report that on July 28, 1864, my battery was engaged with the enemy near Malvern Hill, Va. It was attached to General Davies’ brigade, of General Gregg’s division of cavalry. The action commenced about 1 p.m., and after fighting one hour and a half our line was obliged to retire. I retired all of my battery, with the exception of one 3-inch gun, which I kept in position in order to check the enemy until General Davies’ brigade could leave the field. I succeeded in doing this, when the enemy, with two divisions of infantry, charged my gun. When he (enemy) was within fifty yards of my gun I limbered it up and sent my cannoneers to the rear, in order to

get them out of the galling fire which was at that time concentrated upon my piece. Before I could get it off the wheel and swing horses were killed. The enemy by this time were around the gun, and hence I was obliged to abandon it. I neglected to mention that I rallied a few cavalrymen, and attempted to unlimber the gun and drag it off by hand, but they were all either killed or wounded. My battery during the entire action had no support whatever. The enemy took the gun from the field by the prolonge, leaving the limber the limber, which I succeeded in retaking. I lost as follows: Lieutenant Littlefield, wounded in two places, slightly; Private Bell, wounded; 8 horses killed and 6 horses wounded. Most all of the horses wounded have since died.

Too much credit cannot be given to my officers, Lieutenants Cameron and Littlefield, and to my men, for their conduct. All obeyed orders promptly and did everything that man could do in working the gun.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, Second Artillery, Commanding Horse Battery A.


Acting 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 652-653
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