SIR; I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of this division during the action of yesterday in front of the Ninth Corps:
On the evening of the 29th, in obedience to orders from corps headquarters, I relieved Brigadier General George J. Stannard, in command of the division. At 10 p.m. that portion of my division which occupied the trenches in my front having been relieved by a detachment of Mott’s division, of the Second Corps, I moved to the left with my whole command to a point in rear of the line occupied by the Ninth Corps. I here reported to Brigadier-General Carr, under whose command I had been placed for the day. Under the direction of General Carr, my First Brigade, under command of Colonel A. F. Stevens, Thirteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, was assigned a position in the second line on the right, my Second Brigade in the first line on the extreme left, and my Third Brigade directly opposite the enemy’s works, which had been previously mined; all these positions being on that part of the line heretofore occupied by the Ninth Corps. In consequence of delays, which were out of my power to prevent, my command did not reach the position indicated until daylight.
At 5 a.m. of the 30th the mine was sprung and the attack commenced, when my Second Brigade, Colonel E. M. Cullen, Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers commanding, opened fire on the enemy’s works in its front, to which no reply was made, and my Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel Guy V. Henry, Fortieth Massachusetts Volunteers, rendered important service, keeping down the fire from the enemy’s flanking pits. At 7 a.m. my First Brigade was moved from its position in the second line and took up a position in the rifle-pits near the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad, where it remained until noon, when it relieved the brigade of Colonel Bell, occupying the front line of pits opposite the crater. During the heavy fire of the morning a number of men in my Third Brigade volunteered to bring in the wounded of the Ninth Corps, who were lying exposed in the open field; two men of the Fortieth Massachusetts
Volunteers were themselves wounded while thus engaged. When the negro troops retreated in confusion they were rallied behind this brigade, many of its officers assisting in the work. During the afternoon, when the enemy charged and retook the fort, my second Brigade having the enemy’s right flank exposed to them, poured in a heavy enfilading fire, which was not without effect. At 10 p.m. my Third Brigade was relieved by regiments from the Ninth Corps and about 2 a.m. of the 31st my Second Brigade was relieved by a brigade of colored troops. At daylight this morning, finding that my First Brigade was not to be immediately relieved, I removed that portion of my command already mentioned, under orders from corps headquarters, to a point in rear of their old line of works. My brigade commanders severally report that their men behaved with great steadiness throughout the engagement. A full list of casualties occurring in my division has already been forwarded, giving name, rank, and regiment, the aggregate of which is as follows; Commissioned officers-killed, 1; wounded, 2. Enlisted men-killed 6; wounded, 38. Total-killed, 7; wounded, 40.
Major WILLIAM RUSSELL, Jr.,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Eighteenth Army Corps.
- 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 709-710 ↩