Hdqrs. First Brig., First Div., Tenth Army Corps,
Before Petersburg, September 2,1864.
Captain: I have the honor most respectfully to make the following report of the part taken by the First Brigade, First Division, Tenth Army Corps, during my command of that brigade, in the operations on the north side of the James River:
Owing to the temporary absence of Col. J. B. Howell, commanding brigade, the command devolved on me. About 3 p. m. of the 13th of August I received orders to hold my command in readiness to move at a moment’s notice, and at about 11 p. m. my command, consisting of the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Sixty-second Ohio, and Sixty-seventh Ohio (four companies of the Sixty-seventh), took up their line of march, moved forward until they came near General Foster’s picket-line, at about 3 a. m. of the 14th of August, when regiments in line of battle were formed on the Deep Bottom road to rest on their arms. Skirmishing commenced on our front at daybreak, when the brigade was ordered to move by the left flank across the river road, so that its right should rest as near as possible on the left of General Foster’s line. The brigade was then formed in echelon by battalion, on the first battalion, at thirty paces, and moved forward until it approached near the skirt of the timber, where it was halted and the regiments formed in line of battle, except the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania, who held their original position, thirty paces in front and right of the balance of the brigade. At about 9 a. m. the order was given to charge across the field in front and carry the enemy’s rifle-pits, which was successfully done, with trifling loss to us and with several prisoners from the enemy. After resting the men and enabling them to get their breakfast the command was directed to move
to the right, resting on the left of Colonel Coan’s brigade. After several preliminary movements, about 11 p. m. the brigade took up its line of march to the right of the Second Corps, halting near the crossing of the river and Quaker road.
Monday morning, August 15, the command took up its line of march and moved forward about three miles beyond the middle road; arrived at this point at about 1 a. m. of the 15th. Here 100 men were ordered forward under Captain Hughes, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, to support the picket of the Second Corps already in position. About 9 a. m. of the 16th the brigade again moved forward to support General Foster’s command, who were directed to carry the enemy’s line of rifle-pits in our immediate front; halted in a ravine and in about half an hour again moved forward until we passed the point where General Foster’s command had successfully carried the enemy’s line of rifle-pits, when, by direction of General Terry, who was on the ground, the four companies of the Sixty-seventh Ohio, under command of Colonel Voris, were deployed in the immediate front of the remaining regiments of the brigade as skirmishers, and the three remaining regiments, doubled in column at half distance were ordered, the skirmishers leading, to carry the enemy’s works in our immediate front. The men moved forward at a right-shoulder-shift arms, the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania on the right, Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell commanding; next the Sixty-second Ohio, Major Kahler commanding; next the Thirty-ninth Illinois, Captain Baker commanding. Reached the edge of the slashing in front of the enemy’s works, when the enemy poured into our front a withering fire, carrying with it almost every man in the front division of each regiment. The command moved steadily forward and carried the enemy’s works. The first time I ever saw this brigade fighting hand to hand, bayonet to bayonet, over breast-works, was that day. The enemy fought desperately inside their breast-works, but nothing could withstand the determined valor of our men, who swept over them like a tornado, capturing about 300 prisoners. We held their works so taken until about 4 p. m., when, being flanked on our left, we were compelled to retire, which was done, and the command formed, by order of General Terry, on the left of Colonel Hawley’s brigade.
During the skirmish of the 14th and the charge of the 16th I have to regret the loss of many brave officers and men, among whom I desire to notice the following officers: First Lieut. W. T. Campbell, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Capt. C. Williams, Company H, Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers; Second Lieut. J. Frane, Company D, Thirty-ninth Illinois; Capt. H. S. Williams, Company I, Sixty-second Ohio, wounded (since died). Among the wounded, Capt. George H. Hooker, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general First Brigade; First Lieut. A. S. Dial, Company B, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania; Capt. Lewis Watkins, Company E, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania; Maj. I. M. Abraham and Adjt. D.W. Shields, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania; Capt. L. M. Rogers and First Lieut. E. A. Russell, Company F, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania; Capt. L. A. Baker, Company A, Thirty-ninth Illinois, commanding regiment; First Lieut. C. F. Knapp, Company D, Thirty-ninth Illinois; First Lieut. N. C. Warner, Company E, Thirty-ninth Illinois; First Lieut. J. D. Lemon, Company I, Thirty-ninth Illinois; First Lieut. M. L. Butterfield, Company K, Thirty-ninth Illinois; Capt. Thomas H. Combs, Company H, Sixty-second Ohio; First Lieut, and Actg. Adjt. George W. Hirst, Sixty-second Ohio; First Lieut. W. B. Lowry, Company B, Sixty-second Ohio, and a prisoner. Missing, Capt. W. W. Kerr, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers.
It would be invidious, in my opinion, to mention the conduct of the living unwounded, where all did so well, but I cannot refrain from mentioning the conduct of my personal staff during the expedition, as well as that of those officers whose names appear hereafter. Capt. George H. Hooker, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general First Brigade, badly wounded and I fear permanently disabled, wounded once before at Fair Oaks, conducted himself beyond all praise; Capt. R. W- Dawson, acting assistant inspector-general, and Lieut. S. McGregor, aide-de-camp, First Brigade, rendered to me such aid during all this expedition, and especially under the terrific fire of the 16th and in reorganizing the force after the charge, by direction of General Terry, as I shall never forget. To the officers commanding regiments, Col. A. C. Voris, Sixty-seventh Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Major Kahler, Sixty-second Ohio; Capt. L. A. Baker, Thirty-ninth Illinois; Lieut. Col. S. B. Taylor, Sixty-second Ohio; Capt. H. R. West, Sixty-second Ohio; Capt. L. T. Whipple, Thirty ninth Illinois, and Capt. R. P. Hughes, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, respectively, at times in command of regiments, I owe thanks for eminently efficient service wherever their duty called them. On the morning of the 18th I was relieved from the command of the brigade by the fortunate return of Col. J. B. Howell, our old brigade commander. For further mention of individual cases of gallantry, &c, reference is made to the reports of commanders of regiments, which I believe in all respects to be eminently just.
When ordered to charge, on the 16th, the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania was ordered, when successfully having carried the enemy’s works in their front, to change direction to the right and deploy so as to cover the right of the command in the enemy’s works. The Sixty-second Ohio and Thirty-ninth Illinois were ordered to change direction to the left, after having carried the works as above mentioned, and deploy so as to cover the left and take as many of the enemy as possible. Here most of the prisoners were taken, but such was the excitement of the men that after passing the enemy’s works the control of the officers over them almost entirely ceased and the only impulse was “forward.”‘ I am informed that some one countermanded the orders given tome with regard to the disposition of the regiments in my command in this regard. If such is the case, who it was I cannot now state. This charge was made by about 750 men of my brigade, of whom as enlisted men were the losses as follows: Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania, 70 enlisted men killed, wounded, and missing, and 7 commissioned officers; Sixty-second Ohio, 15 killed, in wounded, including 3 commissioned officers, 6 missing; Thirty-ninth Illinois, 104 killed, wounded, and missing, including the officers mentioned above; Sixty-seventh Ohio, 41 killed, wounded, and missing.
I have the honor to be, captain, with great respect, your obedient servant,
F. B. POND,
Colonel Sixty-second Ohio Volunteers, Comdg. First Brigade.
P. S.—I should state that from the evening of the 16th until the return of Colonel Howell, owing to my temporary indisposition, arising from excessive heat, the command of the brigade devolved temporarily on Col. A. C. Voris, Sixty seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Capt. Adrian Terry,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Division. Tenth Army Corps.
Before Richmond, Va., October 14, 1864.
Captain: I have the honor to report the part taken by my brigade in the operations of yesterday:
Four regiments of the brigade (the Sixty-second and Sixty-seventh Ohio and Thirty-ninth Illinois and Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers), being in all 882 muskets, marched out at 4 a. m. Halting on the Darbytown road, I formed beyond the Johnson house, by order of the division commander, in the following order: The Sixty-seventh Ohio and Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania in line of battle, the left resting on a perpendicular to the Darbytown road, the Thirty-ninth Illinois in reserve. Formed in double column on the center and fronted to the rear and center of the line, the Sixty-second Ohio and two companies of Thirty-ninth Illinois thrown out as skirmishers, their line securely covering the front and right flank of my command. In this disposition I moved forward, facing the abandoned rebel earth-works, the dwelling house immediately beyond these works (i. e., the Jordan house), and advancing about 700 yards in the woods beyond this house. At this point I was ordered to charge the enemy’s line. The Tenth Connecticut (seventy strong) was ordered to report to me for this purpose, and also the Third New Hampshire—this latter to be used as a reserve body. The storming column consisted of the Tenth Connecticut, part of the Sixty-second Ohio, Thirty-ninth Illinois, and Sixty-seventh Ohio, each regiment in double column on the center, at half-distance, and disposed in line in the order just enumerated, the Tenth Connecticut holding the right. This column, consisting of about 570 men, advanced with a cheer through the chaparral. Alter charging about 300 yards the column was assailed by a murderous fire of musketry from the front and left flank, the enemy appearing in a heavy force on the right, front, and left. The command struggled manfully forward, moving up to the edge of a slashing and cheveaux-de-frise, attacking a substantial breastwork. Many of the command crossed this and tell on the enemy’s works, in the breast-work. I am sorry to say Capt. George T. Heritage commanding Thirty-ninth Illinois, was severely wounded. Human endurance could stand up no longer against this terrific fire of musketry and artillery, and the command was retired and re-formed on a country road some 300 yards in the front of the enemy’s works in line of battle, where they remained awaiting an attack from the enemy until about 3.30 o’clock, when the command was removed to the pits to the rear of the house (the Tenth Connecticut and Third New Hampshire moving off and reporting to their brigade commander), where they remained for a short time, and were then re-formed in line of battle in rear of the Johnson house, from whence, after a half hour’s rest, they were marched into camp.
My loss is as follows, viz:
The commanding officer of the Tenth Connecticut reports his loss as follows: 5 killed, 38 wounded, 5 missing; total, 48. Among them I
have to regret the loss of several valuable officers: Major Camp, Tenth Connecticut; Lieutenant Wilder, Thirty-ninth Illinois, killed; Lieut. Col. Samuel B. Taylor, commanding Sixty-second Ohio, mortally wounded; Capt. George T. Heritage, commanding Thirty-ninth Illinois, and Lieut. N. E. Davis, of Thirty-ninth Illinois, severely wounded. (Officers of the Thirty-ninth mentioned herein.) Capt. Frank Hawkins, Tenth Connecticut, acting assistant inspector general on my staff’, slightly wounded. The foregoing list of casualties annexed I believe to be accurate. When officers and men behave so well it would be invidious, in my opinion, to specify individual cases of merit. Those who died, died as become soldiers and patriots. Those who are wounded, were wounded doing their duty. Those who live, live by the special protection of Providence and not from any particular favor from the enemy.
I cannot forbear to note in this connection the great disparity between the killed and wounded in the list of casualties, which is attributed to the enemy’s delivering his tire so extremely low. I am happy to state that the surgeons report a large proportion of the wounded will soon be able for duty.
I have the honor, captain, to be, your obedient servant,
F. B. POND,
Colonel Sixty-second Ohio Volunteers, Commanding.
Capt. Charles A. Carleton,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
- 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 687-691 ↩