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OR XLII P1 #157: Report of Lieutenant Colonel George Harney, 147th NY, August 18-21, 1864

Numbers 157. Report of Lieutenant Colonel George Harney, One hundred and forty-seventh New York Infantry, of operations August 18-21.1

August 28, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following statement of the part taken by the One hundred and forty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers in the operations of the Fifth Army Corps against the enemy on the Weldon railroad from August 18 to August 21, inclusive:

Early on the morning of the 18th instant the regiment broke camp and marched in the direction of the Weldon railroad. After a fatiguing march of several hours we arrived at the railroad and were halted near Yellow House; the men were here permitted to make coffee. After a short rest we moved along the railroad in the direction of Petersburg. Upon arriving near a piece of timber east of the rad the regiment was formed in the order of battle; it was then deployed as skirmishers, and advanced through the timber a distance of about 400 yards, when it came upon the enemy in considerable force. Here some shots were exchanged with them without any known results. This regiment was then joined by the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, when I assumed command of both regiments, reorganized my line, made all necessary arrangements to protect my flanks, and then advanced and engaged the enemy. The rebels made a determined stand, fought well for many hours, but were at last forced to seek safety behind their entrenchments. Night coming on, my command was relieved by a picket-line from the Third Division, Fifth Army Corps. The loss sustained by the One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers in this affair is as follows: 2 men killed; 2 officers and 5 men wounded. Early upon the morning of August 19 the One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers took a position on the south side of the Weldon rad, and at once commenced erecting breast works, which were completed by 2 p. m. the same day. At 4 p. m. the enemy made a fierce attack upon our lines. The attack on our front was handsomely repulsed, with heavy loss to the enemy. The One hundred and forty-seventh in this affair suffered a slight a loss, chiefly occasioned by our own artillery (Captain Mink’s battery, I believe), which fired into us through mistake. Loss sustained during this engagement, 1 man killed, myself slightly and 3 enlisted men severely wounded. At 9 p. m. on the 20th instant the One hundred and forty-seventh again changed position, and was formed in line of battle on the crest of a hill, situated about half a mile to the left and rear of its late position. Through the night, cold and rainy, the men labored faithfully, and the morning dawned upon a formidable line of breast-works, stoutly made and tastefully finished. These works were erected under peculiar disadvantages. The night was very dark, with frequent showers, which kept the clothing of the men saturated with water during nearly the entire night, thus rendering labor very difficult, and, added to this, the men were almost broken down from the effect of the excessive fatigue of the three days previous. For the erection of these works, under the circumstances, I think the One hundred and forty-seventh is entitled to as much credit as if it had fought and won a great battle.

The enemy attacked us in our new position this morning (the 21st) about 9.30 o’clock; the onset was fierce and determined. The fire from our works was well directed and delivered rapidly. I never saw the

One hundred and forty-seventh exhibit more coolness and determined bravery than upon this occasion. The fire of the regiment was very destructive, and no man wavered. All stood their ground until the last rebel left our front. The loss of the regiment in this affair was 1 man killed and 1 man wounded.

Every officer and man of this regiment has done his whole duty during the recent operations on the Weldon railroad, and where all have done so well I do not wish to particularize. The total loss is as follows: 4 men killed; 3 officers and 8 men wounded.


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Captain COWDREY,

Asst. Adjt. General, Second Brigadier, Fourth Div., 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 488-489
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