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OR XLII P1 #163: Report of Colonel Charles W. Tilden, 16th ME, August 18-19, 1864

No. 163. Report of Colonel Charles W. Tilden, Sixteenth Maine Infantry, of operations August 18-19.1

Camp near Reams’ Station, Va., September –, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In compliance with orders from First Brigade headquarters of this date, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the operations near the Weldon railroad, commencing the 18th ultimo:

In obedience to orders received on the night of the 17th instant [ultimo], my regiment, numbering 8 line officers and 231 guns, moved in column with the First Brigade on the morning of the 18th ultimo, and arrived at the Welson railroad at 12 m.; halted and rested for one hour, to the right and rear of the Yellow House. At 1 o’clock received orders to advance and form line at the edge of the woods extending to the right of the railroad. Advanced into the woods and connected with the right of the Second Division. While forming my regiment, and before the remainder of the brigade on my right had formed, the enemy opened a sharp fire on my left and the right of the Second Division, causing the troops on my left to retire somewhat, thus leaving my left flank exposed. we, however, held the enemy for some minutes, when I discovered that he was close on my flank and rear, causing my men to retire to save capture. those of my command who succeeded in making their escape were rallied and formed on the left of the One hundred and fourth New York Volunteers, which position we held the remainder of the day. In this assault I lost my sergeant-major, killed, 28 men wounded; Adjutant Small, 3 line officers, and 33 men taken prisoners. During the night we threw up earth-works in our front, extending to the railroad. This position was held by us until 2 p. m. the 19th ultimo, when we moved to the right 150 yards and the works vacated by us, occupied by a portion of General Hayes’ brigade, extending from my left of the railroad. At 3 p. m. the enemy attacked our line and was repulsed three times, when we were attacked in our rear, he having come around the right of our line. This attack in the rear, together with the fire from our own artillery, created a panic among the men, but not until the troops, on my right and left had fallen back did I allow my men to retire, feeling confident if we were not troubled in the rear that we could take care of the force in our front. On retiring I found that we were completely surrounded and no other alternative than to surrender, not yielding, however, until several efforts were made to elude the enemy. At this time my loss was wholly in prisoners, being captured myself, together with 3 line officers and 83 men. Lieutenant Davis and myself succeeded in making our escape from the enemy on the 20th instant. My State colors were captured,

but my national colors were destroyed, thus preventing their falling into his hands. My regiment being behind works, and the enemy being obliged to emerge from the thick woods in our front, resulted very much in our favor in this day’s attack, and must have caused severe loss to the enemy.

But a small portion of my command were engaged on the 21st ultimo, the fighting being principally by artillery at that portion of the line occupied by my regiment.

I herewith hand you numerical list of casualties for the 18th and 19th ultimo.


Colonel, Commanding Sixteenth Maine Regiment.

Lieutenant JOHN A. GRIFFIN,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 1st Brigadier, 3rd Div., 5th Army Corps.

Numerical list of casualties in Sixteenth Maine Volunteers in late operations on Weldon railroad on the 18th and 19th days of August, 1864: 1 enlisted man killed, 28 enlisted men missing; total, 6 commissioned officers and 145 enlisted men.


  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 508-509
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