No. 284. Report of Captain George W. Gardner, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, of operations August 14-21.1
HDQRS. TWENTY-FOURTH Regiment MASSACHUSETTS VOLS.,
Deep Bottom, Va., August 21, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that at 3.30 p.m August 14 I assumed command of the regiment, relieving Captain J. Crosby Maker, near Spring Hill. At 5 p.m. moved out onto the Kingsland road and remained till 11 p.m., when the march was resumed, and at 12.30 m. reached Strawberry Plains; formed line in rear of the Eleventh Maine and bivouacked for the night. Monday, August 15, marched with the rest of the troops to the right at a point near Deep Run; forme line
of battle on the left of the Eleventh Maine Volunteers; remained until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, August 16, when we moved to the right with the rest of the brigade on the left of the Eleventh Maine. Formed line of battle; deployed two companies as skirmishers; right connecting with the Eleventh Maine, the left connecting with the Tenth Connecticut. The whole command then moved to the right; moved forward in line of battle through a thick pine woods, wheeling slowly to the left. About 10 a.m. the skirmishers encountered those of the enemy on the opposite side of a deep ravine; sent forward Companies H and K to re-enforce the skirmish line. After being engaged for some time moved forward, the skirmishers charging those of the enemy, driving them from their pits, capturing some 30 prisoners. Companies D and K, being out of ammunition, were relieved by Companies C and G. The regiment then moved forward rapidly and found the enemy strongly posted in and on the opposite side of a deep ravine. The Eleventh Maine having charged and occupied a portion of the enemy’s entrenchments, Companies C, H, and E pushed forward at the same time, occupying a part of the same works on the left of the Eleventh Maine, capturing some 25 prisoners. The connection of the regiment with these companies being broken, moved by the right flank and established my line of battle, right resting on the Eleventh Maine and left in the ravine, one company (Company I) being thrown out to connect the left. This forward movement uncovered my left flank. At once sent word to General Foster, commanding the brigade, of the position of affairs on my left. Two companies of the Tenth Connecticut Volunteers, under Captain Goodyear, were at once sent forward as a support for that part of my line. For a long time the regiment was exposed to a severe fire from the enemy, strongly posted, enfilading the ravine and breast-works he had abandoned. Several vigorous but unsuccessful assaults were made by the enemy for the recovery of the work from which they had been driven. The enemy being heavily re-enforced, finally succeeded in compelling the troops on my right to retire. This necessitated the withdrawal of my command, which was done in comparatively good order, leaving but three or four men dead or severely wounded on the field. I at once formed line of battle on the opposite side of the ravine, rallying the men that had fallen back. Finding the troops on my right and left retiring, I faced my command about and marched in retreat about fifty yards and halted, reporting to the general commanding the brigade. The brigade line was immediately formed and moved forward to within a short distance of the position we previously held, throwing forward Company F as skirmishers. At 12 o’clock that night, moved back and formed line, right resting on Colonel Hawley’s brigade, in rear of entrenchments that had been thrown up, and bivouacked for the night. The list of casualties on the 16th was 1 officer killed and 3 wounded, 16 enlisted men killed, 79 wounded, and 12 missing.
Wednesday, August 17, the regiment was engaged in no operations; Second Lieutenant William Thorne, Company F, was severely wounded by a chance shot from the enemy’s works. Thursday, August 18, the regiment took part in no operations during the day. At 6 p.m. the enemy made demonstrations along our lines, driving in our pickets; suffered no casualties. At 11 p.m. moved out of the works by the right flank, leaving Captain Partridge, with thirty-two men of Company F, on picket, to be withdrawn by the officer of the day. Moved back and took position near the New Market road under the direction of the brigadier-general commanding, in rear of the First Maryland Cavalry,
and bivouacked for the night. Friday, August 19, the regiment took part in no operations. Saturday, August 20, the regiment moved out of the entrenchments at 6.30 p.m., and took up line of march, reaching Strawberry Plains about midnight. Bivouacked behind the entrenchments and remained till 5 a.m. Sunday, August 21, when the march was resumed, arriving in camp at Deep Bottom at 5.30 a.m.
I deeply regret to report the loss of two valuable officers-Lieutenant Jesse S. Williams, killed instantly, and Lieutenant William Thorne, died from wounds. Three officers, Captain Edmands, Lieutenant Wilson, and Lieutenant Hayward, are slightly wounded, and will soon be able for duty. Lieutenant Sargent received a slight wound in the wrist Sunday, August 14, that entirely disabled his right arm during the whole six days, but kept on duty with his company and was reported among the casualties.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. GARDNER,
Captain, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Vols., Commanding Regiment.
Captain P. A. DAVIS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Third Brigadier, First Div., Tenth 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 754-756 ↩