Numbers 262. Report of Major General William F. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding Eighteenth Army Corps, of operations June 15.1
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH CORPS.
June 16, 1864
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of my operations of yesterday:
About 4 a.m. the head of my column left Broadway. Near Baylor’s farm our cavalry came upon the enemy’s artillery and infantry. General Kautz being unable to dislodge them, General Hinks was ordered to make the attack. The rifle-pits were gallantly carried by General Hinks’ command and one piece of artillery captured. My command was then ordered to move forward according to the original orders of the day, got into position around the enemy’s works at Jordan’s house about 1.30 p.m. I found the enemy’s artillery so arranged as to have a cross-fire on most of my entire front, and some batteries which I had ordered into position were immediately driven out by enemy’s fire. As no engineer officer was ordered to report to me I was obliged to make the reconnaissance in person, and some time was unnecessarily wasted on that account, but not till about 7 p.m. were the final preparations completed for the assault. In about twenty minutes the works at Jordan’s house and on its left were carried by the divisions of Generals Brooks, and Hinks, capturing guns, caissons, horses, ammunition, colors, camp and garrison equipage, and intrenching tools and prisoners. Some heavy profile works in rear of the line captured still keeping up a galling artillery fire I ordered the colored troops to carry them by assault. This was gallantly done. About this time I learned that General Martindale, on my right, with Stannard’s brigade, in advance, had carried the enemy’s works between Jordan’s house and the Appomattox, capturing two pieces of artillery, with teams, caissons, &c., complete. By this time darkness had set in, and having learned some time before that re-enforcements were rapidly coming in from Richmond, and deeming that I held important points, of the enemy’s line of works, I thought it prudent to make no farther advance, and made my dispositions to hold what I already had. About midnight Gibbon’s division, of the Second Corps, came up to relieve the part of my too extended lines.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to the troops for their gallantry of yesterday, and the colored troops are deserving of special mention.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. F. SMITH,
Commanding Department of Virginia, &c.
CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, near Petersburg, Va., June 17., 1864.
TO THE EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS:
The general commanding desires to express to his command his appreciation of their soldierly qualities as have been displayed during the campaign of the last seventeen days. Within that time they have been constantly called upon to undergo all the hardships of a soldier’s life and be exposed to all of its dangers. Marches under a hot sun have ended in severe battle; after the battle, watchful nights in the trenches gallantly taken from the enemy. But the crowning point of the honor they are entitled to has been won since the 15th instant, when a series of earth-works, on most commanding positions and of formidable strength, have been carried, with all the guns and material of war of the enemy, including prisoners and colors. The works have all been held and the trophies remain in our hands. The victory is all the more important to us, as the troops have never been regularly organized in camp where time has been given them to learn the discipline necessary to a well-organized corps d’armee, but they have been hastily concentrated and suddenly summoned to take part in the trying campaign of our country’s being. Such honor as they have won will remain imperishable. To the colored troops comprising the division of General Hinks the general commanding would call the attention of his command, with the veterans of the Eighteenth Corps. They have stormed the works of the enemy and carried them, taking guns and prisoners, and in the whole affair they have displayed all the qualities of good soldiers.
By command of Major-General Smith;
WM. RUSSELL, JR.
- 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 705-706 ↩