CAMP SIXTY-NINTH PENNSYLVANIA VETERAN VOLUNTEERS, October 30, 1864.
ADJUTANT: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken in the recent engagement with the enemy by those who were under my charge:
At about 7.30 o’clock in the morning of the 27th instant Major P. S. Tinen was ordered to the left with the right wing of the regiment. I was left in charge of the left wing, which occupied a position across the road about fifty yards from Hatcher’s Run. The One hundred and Sixth Battalion Pennsylvania Volunteers was on the left of the road. I was joined on the right by a portion of the Fourth Ohio, whilst the Tenth New York occupied a position about twenty paces in my front. At this time General Smyth ordered me to push forward and take the enemy’s works, which were about fifteen paces beyond Hatcher’s Run. As I was crossing the run the enemy gave way, and whilst I was crossing the works the First Delaware was crossing to my left. The enemy took a right oblique direction and I followed on a run. I demanded him to halt, but he reached the woods before I was able to reach him. The colors of the Tenth New York were close upon my rear. I would here mention that First Sergt. Thomas Fegan, of Company C of this regiment, was the first to cross the enemy’s works with me and continued on the lead until the chase was abandoned, I being ordered by Lieutenant T. E. Parsons to form the Sixty-ninth and Ohio hundred and sixth Battalions in a corn-field to the left of the brigade and on the left of the plank road on Key’s farm. He stated that the Fourth Ohio would join me. I formed as directed, my right resting on the left of the One hundred and eighth New York. After my line had been formed the captain in command of the Seventh Virginia came up and took charge of the Fourth Ohio, and formed on my left, extending his line to the rear facing a belt of woods. The Seventh Virginia was on the left of our brigade, which moved to the right and halted on the Boydton plank road. The brigade formed in a field to the left of the road, facing to the rear of our battery. We marched with the brigade by the right flank across a road which intersected with the road along which we had come up and formed in a field to the right of the Boydton plank road and to the left of a line of woods. I was then ordered by General Smyth to join the right of the skirmishers of the First Brigade. I moved along the right of the plank and halted in a ravine and went in company with a staff officer to find the situation of the
First Brigade skirmishers, leaving Lieutenant Gallager, of the One hundred and sixth Pennsylvania, in charge until my return. I met Captain Embler, of Second Division staff, on the skirmish line of the Twentieth Massachusetts and discovered that the enemy were erecting breastworks with fence rails. I then asked for volunteers from the Twentieth Massachusetts to drive the enemy from the rails. Some six or seven of them advanced with me on the run when the enemy fled to some barns which were on the top of a hill to our front and to the right of the plank road. The Second Brigade charged up the hill on the left of the barns and I endeavored to head off the enemy as they retreated to the right and across a wide sheet of water, where their horses awaited them. Here was stationed a piece of light artillery, which opened upon us, but without effect. I then returned to bring up my command, but was told by General Smyth that he had ordered them forward to the left of the road. Lieutenant Gallager had a portion of the men deployed as skirmishers, facing to the left, and had a battery forge belonging to the enemy in his possession, which was afterward to the rear. General Egan, commanding division, ordered me to advance with my left resting on a strip of woods, to the left of an open field, my right extending along the woods to the right of said field. I then brought up the reserve and deployed them on the right. As I advanced, the enemy’s skirmishers were driven in, when I discovered the enemy in the act of running out a battery on my front. I communicated this to a staff officer of the First Brigade and requested him to report it to General Egan. I advanced, directing my fire on the enemy’s battery which was returned with canister. When within 150 yards I halted and ordered my skirmishers to keep up fire on the battery until I could obtain more men. Finding that I had no connection on my right, I made application to the commanding officer of the First Brigade, who gave me one lieutenant and fifty men from the First Minnesota, who deployed on my right and formed a connection with some skirmishers on the Bydton road. I afterward discovered that my left was unprotected and again applied to the aforesaid officer, who sent a number of sharpshooters to make the necessary connection through the woods on my left. Just as my line was completed and protected as above stated, the enemy charged on my right center, where I was in possession of commissary and quartermaster stores belonging to the enemy, which I afterward destroyed, and were repulsed. About an hour afterward they charged again and were again repulsed. At this time the men were out of ammunition, and I endeavored to obtain a supply, but without success. I finally obtained a small quantity from wounded men on the road, which was equally divided amongst the men. I made application to Captain Embler for ammunition, but was informed that it was impossible to obtain any at that time; that I should, however, hold my position at the point of the bayonet. This, however, was unnecessary, as we were not again attacked by the enemy. They remained quiet when darkness had set in, and, after 1 o’clock at night, I was ordered to withdraw my line, and as all the other troops had left, I fell back upon the same road by which we had advanced. Before I had got under way it was after 2 o’clock, and about 4 o’clock in the morning of the 28th I overtook Major Tinen with the right wing of the regiment, when he took command.
Captain, Commanding Company G, Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Vet. Vols.
Lieutenant A. W. McDERMOTT, Adjutant 69th Pennsylvania Infantry.
- 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 336-337 ↩