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OR XLII P1 #118: Report of Captain T. Fred. Brown, Btty A and B 1st RI Lt Arty, August 23-25, 1864

Numbers 118. Report of Captain T. Fred. Brown, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, commanding Batteries A and B, of operations August 23-25.1


Before Petersburg, Va., September 17, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the operations at Reams’ Station, Va., on 25th ultimo:

At 4 p. m. on 23rd of August, 1864, battery moved from near Yellow House with Fourth Brigade, First Division, Second Army Corps, out on to plank road toward Reams’ Station, Va., where arrived at 5 a. m. 24th; right section took position immediately on railroad at extreme left of batteries. At 7 a. m. left section moved to railroad and took position with right section in an old on line of works. Teams in harness all day and night.

August 25, at daylight commenced to strengthen position. Right section was placed beyond railroad, and the two section were at exact right angels from each other. From 10 a. m. to 3.30 p. m. the enemy threw occasional shots from a battery on their right, all of which passed over the position occupied by the battery. At 4. p. m.

the infantry pickets were driven in on to the line. At the same time the enemy the position. At the first approach of the enemy the guns were opened with case-shot, firing 1 1/2 -second fuse, but as the action became general along the line, and their line approached nearer, canister was used from all the guns and with good effect. Their line gave way in their first assault and they fell back to a belt of woods 400 yards in front. The guns were again shotted with case-shot, and the fire direct to that point. The enemy’s artillery was again opened, and with that fire and that of their sharpshooters, which had been posted in the woods and in a corn-field on the left, the horses were shot in great numbers. Up to this time but one or two men had been wounded. Their line was again advanced from the woods, and came charging over against our lines, which were firmly held, and they again fell back to from. The canister had all been expended, and solid shot and case were being used.

Again the enemy came forward, and again they were repulsed, but it was but momentary, for they came en masse, and with as reckless determination as was ever seen. The infantry line gave way on the right. They jumped onto the redoubts, and pulled the men over them while standing at their posts. First Lieutenant W. S. Perrin had been wounded and taken from the field. The two officers remaining staid with their guns to the last, and as the enemy closed around them were taken. To have removed any of the carriages from the field would have been an impossibility, as caissons and limbers were in a thick wood, and a majority of the horses had been shot down. One limbers was brought from the field and seven horses.

During the action I should judge there were 550 rounds of ammunition expended, though cannot give exact figures.

The casualties were as follows; First Lieutenant W. S. Perrin, commanding company, had right leg shattered below knee, and is missing; First

Lieutenant James E. Chase and Second Lieutenant Gideon Spencer, missing; 4 enlisted men killed, 3 wounded (who god off field), 42 missing; number of horses lost, 67.


Captain, 1st Rhode Island Light Arty., Commanding Companies A and B.

Lieutenant U. D. EDDY,

Actg, Asst. Adjt., Artillery Brigade, Second Army Corps.


  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 423-424
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