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OR XLII P1 #171: Report of Colonel R. Coulter, 11th PA, December 7-12, 1864

No. 171. Report of Colonel Richmond, Eleventh Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations December 7-12.1

Camp on Jerusalem Plank Road,

Before Petersburg, Va., December 14, 1864.

SIR: In reply of circular of this date, I make following report of regiment during recent movement of corps:

Morning of 7th instant marched, crossing Nottoway, and camped at Sussex Court-House. Next day (8th instant) march resumed. At dark commenced operations on Weldon railroad, about four miles south of Nottoway bridge, destroying the road, burning cross-ties, and heating and bending the rails. At midnight went into bivouac. Next day (9th instant) destruction of railroad continued, moving in direction of Hicksford Station on the Meherrin, and at night camped on Halifax road about two miles from river. Morning of 10th instant column started on return, this brigade rear guard. This day I was assigned duty of commanding skirmishers on right flank of division, for which following regiments were assigned: First Brigade, Seventh Wisconsin; Third Brigade, Ninety-fifth New York; Second Brigade, Thirty-ninth Massachusetts and Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania. Owing to rains the roads were very deep, and marching heavy and slow. After marching about five miles, brigade halted at — house, Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania and part of Thirty-ninth Massachusetts being at left of column. At this point a squadron of Second New York Cavalry, * acting as rear guard, were driven in by a small party of the enemy, and passed through brigade in great confusion. Eighty-eight Pennsylvania and part of Thirty-ninth Massachusetts (skirmishers) were immediately deployed to rear on right of road connecting with Ninety-seventh New York, each regiment deploying skirmishers in their respective fronts. A small body of the enemy advanced within a very short distance of the line, but were repulsed without difficulty, and march was presumed. The infantry were not again molested, although the rear was closely followed by detachment of the enemy’s cavalry. About 7 p. m., when near camp of division, Eleventh Pennsylvania, Ninety-seventh New York, and part of Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania were, by general commanding division, placed in position to intercept the cavalry, who had been hanging on


* Second Mounted Rifles.


rear of column, as follows: Eleventh Pennsylvania on right and parallel to road; Eighty eighth Pennsylvania on right of and at right angle to road, faced to rear, the right resting near left of Eleventh Pennsylvania; Ninety-seventh New York on left and at nearly right angle to road and faced to front, the right separated from left of Eleventh Pennsylvania by the road. The cavalry at rear, having received orders to that effect, retired, closely pursued by the enemy, twelve or fifteen of whom came within lines of regiments above named, when a brisk fire was opened, resulting in loss to the enemy of 2 killed and 4 taken prisoners, 2 of whom were severely wounded. Their loss may have been greater; the above, however, are all that came under my observation. Loss in Eleventh Pennsylvania was 1 severely wounded. Soon after went into camp. On morning of 11th instant march resumed, crossing the Nottoway at Jerusalem plank road, camping about two miles from the river, and next day (12 instant) reached former camp before Petersburg.

There was comparatively little straggling, and loss in regiment was very small. Taking into consideration the number of new men, the march was unprecedented.

The casualties in regiment are as follows, viz: Wounded, December 10, Private William .1. Daugherty, Company (i, severely in left breast. Missing, December 10, Private William Weaver, Company I; December 11, Private Peter Connell, Company C. Recapitulation: wounded, 1; missing, 2; total, 3.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. COULTER, Colonel Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Capt. F. H. COWDREY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade.


  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 519-520
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