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OR XLII P1 #88: Report of Captain Alanson H. Nelson, 57th PA, August 15-17, 1864

Numbers 88. Report of Captain Alanson H. Nelson, Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations August 15-17.1


CAPTAIN: In compliance with circular from headquarters Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, dated August 18, I have the honor to submit the following report:

August 15, 8 a. m. marched from near Deep Bottom by the right flank to the extreme right of the Tenth Corps. Were massed in the rear of the colored troops. Remained in this position fifteen minutes, when we moved off about two miles to the right to a point where a small body of cavalry was skirmishing with the enemy. Here we were placed as flankers on the left of the First U. S. Sharpshooters, advanced into the woods, skirmished with the enemy, and drove them steadily before us. Two companies of the Fifth Michigan were now deployed on our left. Continued to advance and crossed a deep swamp and advanced to a second swamp near the Charles City road, it then being about 5.30 p. m. Remained here until after dark, when we were drawn in by the flank and returned in good order to the rear of the colored troops, where we bivouacked for the night, having lost four men severely wounded. August 16, about 7 a. m., moved out to the right about three-quarters of a mile; were massed in close column. While in this position Lieutenant Colonel William B. Neeper was wounded and taken to hospital. Captain A. H. Nelson then took command. Remained in this position until about 12 m., were ordered into the front line to support the right; charged across an open field in front of the work which had been captured from the enemy to a small ravine, where we halted and commenced firing on the enemy, who were advancing in line of battle. Remained in this position until our right was turned (there being no support on our right) and the left forced back by the enemy. We were under fire from both flanks and in front. Were ordered to fall back; did so and halted behind the breast-works, which had been captured; could have held the position, but were relieved by a brigade of the Tenth Corps and taken back a short distance, where we formed a line. Remained in this position a short time, when we were ordered out on the right flank. Were formed in line of battle on the left of the Ninety-third and on the right of the One hundred and fifth [Pennsylvania]. The enemy made another attempt to turn our right flank and we were compelled to face to the rear and make a half wheel to the right. About-faced and held this position until a line of breast-works was built. We were then marched by the right flank to the rear of the breast-work, where we were massed and remained all night, having lost 10 men severely wounded and 4 men missing. August 17, 10 a. m., were relieve rom duty with the Tenth Corps and ordered to report to our division, which we did, and have remained quietly since.

Respectfully submitted.

Senior Captain, Commanding Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Vet. Vols.

Captain F. E. MARBLE,

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), page 376
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