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OR XLII P1 #18: Report of Brigadier General Francis C. Barlow, commanding 1/II/AotP, August 13-17, 1864

Numbers 18. Report of Brigadier General Francis C. Barlow, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations August 13-17.1

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my division at Deep Bottom in August, 1864:

On August 13 the division, together with the rest of the corps, proceeded by water to Deep Bottom, arriving there during the night of the

13th. The disembarkation of the troop occupied considerable time, for the reason that the greater part of the men were stowed upon the upper decks of steamers, from which they could descend only by ones or twos at a time. The whole division was not landed until broad daylight, and the greater part of one brigade (the Fourth) was delayed many hours by the grounding of the steamer in which it was transported. When landed, the division was pushed rapidly forward through the woods to the New Market road, together with the Second Division, which was temporarily placed under my command. Upon reaching the New Market road without opposition I held it with one brigade as a protection to my eft flank, and with the greater part of my own and the Second Division as they successively came up u pushed up the Central road. The enemy’s line of rifle-pits crossing the Central road being held only by a very thin line of skirmishers, I pushed forward the first troops that arrived (the Second New York Heavy Artillery) as quickly as possible to occupy the line. This regiment failed entirely to execute my orders, and instead of occupying the point indicated it proceeded to an entirely different part of the line, where the skirmishers of the First Brigade were pressing the enemy. The commanding officer of this regiment, Major Hogg, showed himself utterly unfit for command, and the regiment did not behave with credit to itself. Seeing this failure I ordered the Irish Brigade to take the same point. I am compelled to say that these troops behaved disgracefully and failed to execute my orders. They crowded off to our right into the shelter of some woods, and there became shattered and brooked to pieces. By this time the enemy had moved troops into that part of the line which I was endeavoring to take, and had brought artillery to bear upon us. I then moved two brigades (the Third and Fourth) farther to the enemy’s left, to a hill near Fussell’s mill-pond. The enemy’s works beyond the mill-pond were very thinly occupied, and I prepared to advance upon them with the Fourth Brigade of my division. The enemy opening upon them with artillery from their extreme right the troops exhibited such signs of question to employ them in this work. Therefore I ordered the First Brigade of the Second Division to advance upon the works. They were occupied only by a very thin line of the enemy, and could have been easily carried had the troops advanced with reasonable vigor and courage. i am compelled to say that they failed to do this. The mill-pond was an obstacle to the advance of the line in one place, but such of the troops as had the requisite courage easily succeeded in passing to our left of it; but they were too few to drive out the enemy. The attack was repulsed, and the enemy had time to move troops to occupy the threatened points. At night it was necessary to contract our lines, and holding the hill above mentioned with skirmishers, the division entrenched across the Central and New Market roads. None of the troops that came under my observation that day behaved with their usual vigor and gallantry under fire. Had they done so the almost undefended lines of rifle-pits could easily have been carried. I desire, however, to commend th e great gallantry and good behavior of Colonel Macy, Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, who commanded the First Brigade of the Second Division in the attack above referred to. He did everything that a brave man a soldier could do.

On August 15 and 16 the division was engaged in no very active operations, except Miles’ brigade, which, by the direction of the major-general commanding the corps, I sent out to act with the cavalry division of General Gregg on our extreme right.

Being compelled by illness to give up the command of the division and proceed to hospital at City Point on August 17, I have received no official report of the operations of Miles’ brigade on August 16, and I respectfully refer for the particulars thereof to that officer.

Being absent from the division still, I am unable to furnish a list of casualties on the occasion of the operations above referred to, and I respectfully refer to Brigadier-General Miles, commanding the division, for this information.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General of Vols., Commanding First Div., Second Corps.


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.]


  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), pages 247-249
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