HDQRS. HORSE BATTERIES H AND I, FIRST U. S. ARTY., Near Petersburg, Va., October 31, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that one caisson (3-inch rifled gun) was lost while in action, October 27, 1864. Said caisson had its stock broken by a cannot-shot, rendering it totally unserviceable. Said caisson had two ammunition chests, both containing seventy rounds 3-inch rifled gun-projectiles. All the implements were removed, and the chests left open, as it was raining.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ED. L. GARVIN,
First Lieutenant, U. S. Artillery, Commanding.
ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION, October 31, 1864.
Respectfully returned to Lieutenant E. L. Garvin, through Second Brigade headquarters.
The report is not satisfactory, and another will be made immediately showing reasons why no efforts were made to bring off the caisson or parts of it; also why the ammunition was not thrown out or otherwise destroyed.
By command of Brigadier General D. McM. Gregg:
A. H. BIBBER,
Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, SECOND DIV., CAVALRY CORPS.
Respectfully returned for compliance with foregoing indorsement.
By command of Colonel M. Kerwin, commanding brigade:
JNO. B. MAINLAND,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
GENERAL: My report has just been returned to me, and, in accordance with your indorsement on it, I have the honor to make the following statement:
Near the house used as a hospital I was in line with the rifled guns and all the caissons of the battery excepting one. This was about 1 p. m., at which time Colonel Kerwin ordered me to remain there until further orders. Toward evening I could neither find division nor brigade headquarters. The dismounted cavalry and the infantry, men and officers, were running through my section. I put on a guard and turned them aside. The led horses of the Second Brigade were in the same field with me, and the shelling of the enemy was so severe as to force the led horses of the cavalry into another field. Being left alone and no orders, I followed the led horses. As I was pulling out a shell burst near my caisson, disabling 3 horses and 2 men. This was not reported to me until I halted, at which time I sent back a non-commissioned officer, who reported to me that “the horses and harness were all gone.” At this time Sergeant Smith reported to me that his caisson was shot through the stock by a rifled ball and unable for a day’s march. Finding nothing but turmoil and frightened infantry, and no brigade headquarters, I went to Captain Harper, who told me to stay in the field, though he was not on duty, but had the general’s escort with him. A few minutes after that, Captain Mainland told me to return to my former place. At that time I told Captain Mainland about one caisson having its stock shoot through, and the other caisson having its horses shot, and the drivers (green) running away with their wheel harness, without which it was impossible to bring off the caisson. Captain Mainland told me that he would endeavor to get harness to bring it off, and if he failed to get it to destroy the ammunition the best way I could. In accordance with that order I opened the chests and the powder was all destroyed by the rain. I stood under fire doing nothing for six hours (I could find no staff officer to direct me), and was there with the led horsed, which were in confusion, and the ambulance also. In future I would respectfully suggest that the senior artillery officer in this command act as chief of artillery until the return of Colonel Gregg.
ED. L. GARVIN,
First Lieutenant, First U. S. Artillery, Commanding Batteries H and I.
General GREGG, Commanding Second Division, Cavalry 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 646-647 ↩