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OR XLII P1 #54: Report of Captain Gustave Magnitzky, 20th MA, October 27-28, 1864

No. 54. Report of Captain Gustave Magnitzky, Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, of operations October 27-28.1

HDQRS. TWENTIETH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS, Near Petersburg, Va., October 29, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith required report of operations of this command since leaving rendezvous on the morning of the 27th instant:

In the column of march my regiment was on the extreme left of the brigade, and in forming the line of battle to support the first charge on the enemy’s works at —, the left of my regiment rested on the road by which we advanced, connecting with the right of the Second Brigade. After passing over the captured works and the open field beyond,my regiment was ordered by Major Palmer, of division staff, to act as an advance guard on the road and follow the line of skirmishers at supporting distance. We marched about two miles on the road, when General Egan ordered that the regiment advance ahead of the skirmishers, and form a skirmish line along a rail fence preparatory to an advance on the enemy’s position beyond an open field. An advance was ordered and the regiment went forward across the field, either flank resting on the surrounding wood. After advancing about 200 yards the enemy opened fire upon us from beyond a wooded swamp with musketry and one piece of artillery, compelling my men to halt and lie down. After trying several times unsuccessfully to get my men forward, I stretched my line on the right and left obliquely to the rear in order to protect our flanks, not being at that time connect with any other troops. In this advance I lost 1 sergeant mortally and 1 corporal and 4 men severely wounded. General Egan ordering me to remain where I was until further orders, I did not advance when the Second Brigade charged beyond us and drove the enemy from his position,which we had failed to take. Soon after this I received orders from General Egan to join my brigade, and did so on the road crossing the ravine, taking position on the extreme left of the brigade again. We remained there until about dark, when we were ordered across the large field, my regiment formed in rear of Third Brigade. Remaining here about fifteen minutes, I was ordered by Captain Embler, of division staff, to take up position along the plank road, near several houses. I did so and remained there until about midnight, when we were ordered to join the brigade then moving to the rear. In marching through the woods my regiment was cut in two by the Second Brigade passing through it, in consequence of which many of the men became separated from it, but

rejoined the regiment early in the morning, while lying in the open field, where the brigade was halted previous to starting on our return march. From there the regiment marched with the brigade to the present camp. From there the regiment marched with the brigade to the present camp.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Commanding Regiment.

Captain RYERSON, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigade.


  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 310-311
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