HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, SECOND ARMY CORPS, December 16, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with instructions from the brevet major-general commanding, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division from the 6th to the 12th instant:
About 3 o’clock on the afternoon of December 6, orders were received from headquarters Fifth Army Corps directing that the command be in
readiness to move at 6 o’clock the following morning. The order was promptly promulgated to the division, and in accordance therewith the command was put in motion at the prescribed hour on the morning of December 7, but was delayed some time by the preceding division (Ayres’) of the Fifth Corps, which it appears did not move promptly, so that it was after daylight when our column became fairly straightened out on the road. We now marched by the route prescribed in General Orders, Numbers 63, headquarters Fifth Army Corps, down the Jerusalem plank road to Hawkins’ Tavern, where we arrived at 4.30 p. m. and halted for nearly an hour and a half, when an order was received from General Warren to pass by the divisions of Generals Griffin and Ayres to the pontoon bridge over Nottoway River. On our arrival near the river we found the road obstructed and the bridge broken down by the upsetting of a wagon. This delayed our column until 7.30 p. m., when we succeeded in crossing the troops, and after marching about three-quarters of a mile bivouacked at the forks of roads leading to Stony Creek and Sussex Court-House. At 10.15 p. m. we received the order of march for December 8, charging this division with the protection of the general trains. About 4 a. m. Captain Stevenson, with 200 men of the Second New York Mounted Rifles, reported for duty with our command. The column moved just before daylight, General Pierce in advance, followed by General McAllister. General De Trobriand disposed of his brigade so as to protect the trains. A sergeant and twenty-five men of the New York Mounted Rifles were ordered to report to him for near guard, &c. The entire command now pressed forward as rapidly as possible through Sussex Court-House and Coman’s Well to the Chambliss house, where we massed in rear of General Ayres’ division at 3 p. m. while a staff officer rode forward to report the arrival of the column to General Warren and receive further instructions. We then passed on to a point about one mile and a half from the Weldon railroad and halted about 4.30 p. m. At 11.40 p. m. orders were received from General Warren to be ready to march at daylight the following morning, December 9. The division moved promptly as directed, Brevet Brigadier-General McAllister in advance. Struck the railroad a little south of Jarratt’s Station about 7.30 a. m., and immediately commenced the thorough destruction of the rails and ties along our division front. After this had been accomplished we passed down the road to a point one mile south of the Bailey house and completed the destruction of the road to that point at 4.30 p. m. and went into bivouac for the night on Bailey’s farm. About 6 o’clock, however, an order was received to proceed some five miles farther south on the road and destroy it to a point near the bridge over Meherrin River. This was accomplished, and the troops returned to camp on Bailey’s farm by 10 p. m. It was now announced in orders from headquarters Fifth Army Corps that the object of the expedition had been accomplished and directing the advance of the troops to withdraw at 7 a. m. December 10, this division following as soon as General Ayres had passed. It was 8.30 o’clock before we could get under way. We then pressed steadily forward with but little rest until 6 p. m., when darkness having set in, and the road becoming very much obstructed by wagons stricking fast, it was impracticable to proceed farther, and ground was selected on which to mass the troops until the road was cleared. Just as the division had been massed a staff officer from General Warren reported to headquarters and directed that the command bivouac for the night. This was about three miles from Sussex Court-House. December 11, the command moved at precisely 6.30 a. m., but before we had become fairly
straightened out on the road, we overtook General Ayres, who had not yet broken camp. Our division, therefore, was obliged to close up and halt again until he got in motion. We then moved on through Sussex Court-House to within three-fourths of a mile of Freeman’s Bridge, where the troops were ordered to mass to allow the trains
to cross the Nottoway River. Disposition was also made of the brigade of Brevet Brigadier-General McAllister to cover the crossing of General Crawford’s division, after which the entire command withdrew to the north side of the river and camped for the night about three miles up the Jerusalem plank road at 8.30 p. m. On the morning of December 12, pursuant to orders from corps headquarters, the division moved at 7 a. m. and continued its march up the plank road toward our old camps. On our arrival and reporting to headquarters Second Corps about 2 p. m., orders were received to encamp the command outside the fortifications, between the Halifax and Vaughan roads.
CHAS. F. MOORE,
First Lieutenant, Eighth New Jersey Volunteers, and Aide-de-Camp.
Captain J. P. FINKELMEIER,
- 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 351-353 ↩