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OR XLII P1 #254: Report of Col. Joshua B. Howell, 85th PA, commanding 1/1/X/AotJ, August 18-21, 1864

No. 254. Report of Col. Joshua B. Howell, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations August 18-21.1

Hdqrs. First Brig., First Div., Tenth Army Corps,

Before Petersburg, Va., August 30,1864.

Captain: I have the honor respectfully to transmit the reports of the commanding officers of the regiments of the First Brigade, First Division, Tenth Army Corps (which it is my happiness and which I have the honor to command), of the gallant and glorious operations of the brigade, from the 14th to the 20th of this instant.

It was not my privilege to be with the brigade and to share with the noble and brave officers and soldiers in the heroic deeds of the 14th and 16th—deeds which have covered them and their respective regiments and the brigade and the division to which they belong with honor, credit, and glory, as lasting as the everlasting hills from which some of them come. I must, therefore, respectfully refer the brigadier-general commanding to the reports of the officers commanding the brigades and the regiments during that time for the information he desires. I returned from my short leave of absence (granted to me to recruit my health and strength) on the morning of the 18th at 1 o’clock. I reported to you, captain, at once, and immediately proceeded to the front, and relieved my brave and gallant friend, Colonel Voris, who was in command of the brigade, he having succeeded Colonel Pond, who was sick. In the evening of the 18th (I believe about 8 o’clock)

the enemy moved down upon our line. They were met at once, and with determination, and driven back. The short fight that then and there occurred was lively and beautiful, creditable to the officers and men of the brigade; highly so. We reached our old camps at Bermuda Hundred at about daybreak on the morning of the 21st instant.

The officers and enlisted men of my brigade were all distinguished for courage and gallantry—many dead; many wounded. The sorrow of the crushed and aching hearts at home for the dead will be soothed and comforted by the glory and gallantry that encircle the deaths and graves of the fallen. They died for the old flag and for their country; they died nobly.

I respectfully refer the brigadier-general commanding to the reports of the brigade and regimental commanders for the instances of especial gallantry and courage, where all behaved so well. I feel a pride in belonging to the First Division and to the Tenth Army Corps, and I congratulate my country and the service in having leaders so distinguished for skill and gallantry as are at the head of this corps and division. I have the honor to be, captain, your obedient servant,


Col. 85th Penn. Vols., Comdg. 1st. Brig., 1st Div., 10th A. C.

Capt. Adrian Terry,

Assistant Adjutant- General.


  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 686-687
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