Annapolis, Md., December 10, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report on the engagement on the Weldon railroad August 19, in which the Fourteenth Infantry, U. S. Army, participated while under my command:
Lieutenants Foot and Weir, having been seriously wounded the day previous, and Lieutenant McKibbin being incapacitated by a wound from serving with his regiment, performed staff duty with General Hayes, Captain Ingraham having been seized with convulsions had been sent to the rear, and the command devolved upon me. About 2 p. m. we moved, pursuant to orders, to the front line of entrenchments along with the Twelfth Infantry, U. S. Army; the left of the Fourteenth Infantry resting on the railroad, the right joining the left of the Twelfth Infantry, forming a prolongation of the line of General Crawford;s (Third) division, fifth Army Corps. About 5 p. m. the enemy made an attack in our front, which was promptly met by our troops. The enemy, however, effected a successful flank movement on the right of the Third Division, and smartly engaged the troops in our rear. Having received orders from Brigadier-General hayes, commanding First Brigade, Second Division, fifth Army Corps, to hold my line at all hazards, I retained the Fourteenth Infantry in the works until the whole Third Division had retreated, leaving but the Fourteenth Infantry and Twelfth Infantry in the line of entrenchments, when, deeming it folly to remain longer, I ordered the Fourteenth Infantry to fall back, the remain longer, I ordered the Fourteenth Infantry to fall back, the Twelfth Infantry having received the same order from the commanding officer of that regiment. In attempting to retreat we found ourselves completely cut off from the second lien. Lieutenant Driscoll, Second Infantry, and myself, with a number of the men, were captured by the enemy.
In closing this report I must call your attention to the efficient aid rendered me by Second Lieutenant John J. Driscoll, Second Infantry, U. S. Army, and Second Lieutenant T. M. K. Smith, Seventeenth Infantry, U. S. Army, both assigned for duty to the Fourteenth Infantry, in preserving the morale and steadiness of the regiment under the disheartening effects of a severe front, flank, and rear fire. Indeed, the whole regiment behaved in a manner deserving of the gallant record that the Fourteenth Infantry bears.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. CHESTER WHITE,
Second Lieutenant, Tenth Infantry, U. S. Army.
Major G. CHAPIN,
Fourteenth Infantry, U. S. Army, Commanding regiment.
- 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 479-480 ↩