Numbers 111. Report of Lieutenant Edward S. Smith, Fifteenth New York Battery, commanding Tenth Massachusetts Battery, of operations October 27. 1
HEADQUARTERS TENTH MASSACHUSETTS BATTERY,
Before Petersburg, Va., November 2, 1864.
MAJOR: In compliance with instruction from headquarters Artillery Brigade Second Corps, of this date, I have the honor to make the fol-
lowing brief sketch of the part taken by the Tenth Massachusetts Battery in the engagement of October 27, 1864:
George M. Townsend, first sergeant, Tenth Massachusetts Battery, makes the following statement: Lieutenant Granger, commanding battery, was orders by the chief of artillery to report to the commanding officer of the Third Division about 1 o’clock on the 26th ultimo, and he was directed by him to follow the division when it moved out, which was about 2 p. m., and marched to the left our line, which was to the Weldon railroad, and encamped for the night in the vicinity of the Yellow Tavern, resumed the march about 3 a. m. next day arrived on-farm, near the Boydton plank road, about 11 o’clock. Lieutenant Granger was directed by one of General Mott’s aides-de-camp to park his battery in an open field. About 3 o’clock the battery was ordered into position, from 1,200 yards down the road which was running across our front (Boydton, I think), and turning off the road to the right, the right and center section went into battery to the left, while the left relieved the section of C and I, Fifth U. S. Artillery, which was guarding the brigade across the run. The right and center section opened upon a section of the enemy’s battery about 1,000 yards distant, and silenced it in a short time. The left section was relieved by the right and the former ordered to take a more advanced position, and enfilading the brigade, which was done, the section taking position 150 yards of the brigade, and exposed to a heavy fire of musketry; remained there until he (Lieutenant Smith) received orders from Lieutenant Granger to withdraw. He did so, and halted under cover of a barn opposite the old tavern, and was in the act of reporting to Lieutenant Granger, when he was struck by a musket-ball and fell from his horse. Meanwhile the right section was directing its fire upon the same point with the left section (viz, the brigade and the redoubt on the rise beyond). When the charge was made upon our rear the right and center section changed front immediately; our old opponent also, the battery in the redoubt, opened a very hot fire; the section, and then changed front again and fired to the rear. Shortly after the charge of our infantry, at about 5 o’clock the ammunition being all expended, the right and center sections limbered to the rear, and took cover behind the barn until it could be ascertained if the road to the caissons was open. Lieutenant Granger, thinking it still passable, mounted the cannoneers on the carriages and ran the gauntlet. The enemy’s skirmishers were in considerable force in the edge of the woods on the left on the road. Scarcely had the pieces reached the house near the caissons and changed the limbers, when orders were received to put the battery into position on the right of the road, to command the road to the left, and reply to a battery that was enfilading our line. Lieutenant Granger was struck by a ball while walking in the rear of the pieces, about twenty minutes after going into position. He was taken to the rear as soon as possible, and Lieutenant Smith, Battery K, Fourth U. S. Artillery, took command.
After I assumed command of the battery I found that all the non-commissioned officers and privates were missing. I believe most of them were attending to Lieutenants Granger, Smith, and wounded men. I immediately went to work and collected as many them as I could, so as to bring the battery into serviceable condition. After remaining in position for a short time I was directed by Lieutenant Bull, aide-de-camp to chief of artillery, to change front with the right section and reply to one of the enemy’s batteries (which had been shelling our
troops collected in the open field near General Hancock’s headquarters) if it should open again, which it did not, consequently, I did not fire. Remained in position about one hour, when I was directed by Lieutenant Eddy, acting assistant adjutant-general, Artillery Brigade, to follow Lieutenant Beck, commanding Batteries C and i, Fifth U. S. Artillery, who was ordered to fall back. I arrived in camp near the Yellow Tavern about 6 o’clock in the morning of the 28th, and remained there until sometime in the afternoon, when i received instructions from Lieutenant Southall house and go into camp.
The casualties in the battery are as follows: 1 enlisted man killed, 2 officers wounded in the (died since), 2 enlisted men wounded, 7 horses wounded and killed.
In conclusion, I wish to express my thanks to Lieutenant Deane, and the non-commissioned officers and privates of the battery for their hearty co-operations, and the cheerful manner in which they performed their duty while under my command.
E. S. SMITH,
First Lieutenant, Fifteenth New York Battery.
Major J. G. HAZARD, Chief of Artillery, Second Army Corps.
- 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 415-417 ↩