No. 184. Report of Brigadier General Lysander Cutler, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division, of Operations July 30 – August 23.1
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH DIVISION, FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
August 30, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division form July 30 to August 23, 1864:
On the 2nd of August, in obedience to orders form the major-general commanding the corps, I moved the division south on the Norfolk railroad, and about one mile and a half form the position it had been occupying during the month previous and picketed form the plank road near the Jones house easterly to the redoubt on the Norfolk railroad, a distance of about two miles, placing about 400 men at the redoubt, and distributing the balance of my command along the line to the Jones house, where I remained without any occurrence of note, except the ordinary routine of picket and fatigue duty until the 14th of August, when I was withdrawn and went into camp preparatory to other movements.
At 4 o’clock on the morning of the 18th, I moved, following the balance of the corps to the Weldon railroad, where we arrived about 10 o’clock. On arriving there I was ordered to move up on the right of the road toward Petersburg and hold my command in readiness for any services which might be needed of them. General Ayres was formed on the left of and across the railroad, and was moving on toward Petersburg. General Crawford was on his right. Ayres soon became engaged with the enemy and sent to me for assistance. I at once sent to him my Second Brigade, Colonel Hofmann, who rendered him, as I ma informed by General Ayres, very valuable aid, enabling him to hold his ground at a critical moment and to repulse the enemy. I moved my First Brigade, General Bragg, up to cover an interval between Ayres and Crawford, and sent our a heavy line of skirmishers to the front, where they remained until 3 a. m. of the 19th, when the brigade was sent to General Crawford and were deployed as a skirmish line between Crawford’s right. In that affair I lost three valuable officers, killed and wounded, and a large number of men killed, wounded, and captured. During the night I collected together the scattered men. On the 20th both brigades were returned to me, and I was ordered to go into position on Ayres’ left, retiring my left so as to form a line nearly parallel with the railroad. I got them in position and intrenched during the night. Early on the 21st the enemy made his appearance in heavy force in front of my right, opening a heavy fire of artillery at the same time. The attack was handsomely repulsed, with severe loss to the enemy; but the immediately made his appearance on my left, and was in like manner repulsed. this closed the operations of the day, as it also closes my services with the division, of which I have been a member from its organization.
I have heretofore spoken of my staff in fitting terms. I wish to urge upon the general the great anxiety I have to see Colonel Hofmann, commanding Second Brigade, suitably rewarded for his very faithful and gallant services. Since this campaign commenced the brigade has captured eight battle-flags and large numbers of prisoners. No man better deserves promotion than he.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel F. T. LOCKE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifth Army Corps.
- 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 533-534 ↩