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OR XLII P1 #150: Reports of Colonel Samuel A. Graham, Purnell MD Inf, commanding 2/2/V/AotP, Aug 18-Sept 2 and Oct 1 and 8, 1864

Numbers 150. Reports of Colonel Samuel A. Graham, Purnell Legion Maryland Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations August 18-September 2 and October 1 and 8.1

SEPTEMBER 2, 1864.

Report of the part taken in the several engagements since the 18th of August, 1864, by the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Army Corps:

In obedience to circular of august 27, 1864, headquarters Second Division, Fifth Army Corps, I have the honor to make the following report:

Pursuant to orders from division headquarters, this brigade broke camp and moved off on Jerusalem plank road at 4.45 a. m. August 18, and reached the Weldon railroad at 10 a. m. at the Yellow House and, after resting one hour, formed in line protecting the left flank of troops advancing in the direction of Petersburg, on line of Weldon railroad. After advancing nearly a mile, the enemy appeared in our front in strong force, driving in our skirmishers. The brigade was at once ordered in line of battle, in prolongation of that formed by the First Brigade, leaving nothing to protect the left flank except the flank skirmishers. This line of battle was formed at the farther edge of the woods, about 100 yards from a corn-field, from which the enemy emerged in line of battle, charging upon our line. The order to fire was promptly and vigorously executed, and the enemy sought shelter. At this critical moment it was ascertained that the troops on our right were failing back, of which irregularity the enemy at once took advantage, rallying back, of which irregularity the enemy at once took advantage, rallying his men and pushing vigorously on our unprotected flanks. Colonel Dushane, commanding, gave the order to retreat, which was executed in considerable confusion, owing to the density of the woods and proximity of the enemy. As soon as we got disentangled from the woods, the proximity of the enemy. As soon as we got disentangled from the woods, the troops were successfully rallied and reformed, thus checking the enemy, and eventually driving him from the field, leaving his dead in our had. In the engagement the brigade sustained da loss of-commissioned officers and 12 men killed, 11 officers and 111 men wounded, and 1 officer and 38 men missing. The enemy suffered severely, he having left in dead in the immediate front of this brigade 47 men, including 2 commissioned officers. On the 19th all remained quiet until late in the

afternoon, when the enemy drove our skirmishers from their pits. Colonel Hofmann communicated to Colonel Dushane, commanding brigade, that he was ordered to fall back, but not having received any direct orders the brigade held its position. A loss of 1 officer and 1 man killed, 15 men wounded, 1 officer and 7 men missing, was sustained, principally on the skirmish line. On the 20th Colonel Wilson, in command of the skirmishers, ordered a charge upon their picket-line, and succeeded in regaining the pits lost the previous day, taking 1 commissioned officer and 13 men prisoners, losing in wounded 1 officer and 13 men. During the night the brigade withdrew and took position in the entrenchments. On the 21st the brigade was not extensively engaged, as the artillery refused to let the enemy come within easy range of musketry. The Purnell Legion, Colonel Graham commanding, was on skirmish and lost heavily, but remained on skirmish line during the engagement. Colonel N. T. Dushane, commanding the brigade, was instantly killed early in the day by a solid shot whilst in the active discharge of his duties. During the day brigade sustained a loss of 3 officers and 8 men killed, 4 officers and 39 men wounded, and 1 officer and 30 men missing. Since the 21st the brigade has not been engaged nor sustained any casualties.

Respectfully submitted.


Colonel, Commanding.
October 13, 1864.

SIR: In obedience to circular of this date I have the honor to report that during the engagement of the 1st instant the picket-line only of this brigade was engaged, a part of which was driven in, but soon advanced to its original position, sustaining a loss of 5 men killed and 14 men wounded. During the 8th instant no portion of the brigade, except the picket, was engaged, which advanced, which advanced with the picket of the corps, and late in the evening fell back to its original position, with a loss of 1 man killed, 4 men wounded, and 8 men missing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade.

Lieutenant-Colonel LA MOTTE,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Fifth 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 480-481
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