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OR XLII P1 #297: Report of Captain Edwin S. Babcock, 9th USCT, September 29-30, 1864

No. 297. Report of Captain Edwin S. Babcock, Ninth U. S. Colored Troops, of operations September 29-30.1

Near Aiken’s, north side of James, October 1, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the share taken by this command in the operations of the 29th and 30th ultimo:

The regiment left its bivouac at Deep Bottom about 5 a.m. of the 29th and moved toward the New Market road, nearly a mile, when it was formed in brigade column of battalions, deployed in the edge of the woods, while the enemy was dislodged from his first line. We experienced a considerable shell fire at this point, but with slight loss. The march was resumed on the New Market road until the brigade halted, about 12 m., at the enemy’s second line and rested for the space of two hours, when the column again advanced up the road a short distance and the regiment moved by your orders into the woods on the left; thence across a small road (understood to be the Mill road) and formed in a shallow ravine to charge a redoubt of the enemy’s, distant about 1,500 yards. Four left companies (C, G, K, and E) were deployed forward as skirmishers, under command of Captain D. G. Risley; the remainder advanced in line of battle. The charge was begun the moment we reached the crest of the ravine and the regiment was immediately subjected to a very severe artillery fire, enfilading the line on both flanks. After advancing about half way to the point of attack, finding the distance unexpectedly great, the men exhausted, and the line somewhat shaken, I ordered the regiment to halt, lie down, and reform, and returned in person to the cross-road and reported to the general commanding for additional instructions, and I went back to the regiment with instructions to attack the fort which enfiladed us on the right. This, however, was already attempted by Captain H. S.

Thompson, commanding in my absence, who felt compelled to retire the regiment under the grape and canister poured into it from this work. It retired deliberately and I reformed it, by your order, under cover of the woods, and bivouacked that night behind the enemy’s former second line, which were reserved and strengthened. At daylight of the 30th ultimo the brigade moved along the works toward the James River, reversing and strengthening them until near 2 p.m., when the enemy attacked sharply on the left, and this regiment moved by the left flank at a double-quick, across a heavy musketry and artillery fire, to the support of Paine’s division, Eighteenth Corps, with order to assist wherever required. Only a small portion of the right wing, however, had an opportunity to engage; the balance were formed in line thirty paces in rear of that division and relieved one of its regiments shortly afterward. All the officers under my command behaved well, but I feel bound to distinguish by name First Lieutenant Ira H. Evans, acting adjutant.

The list of casualties has already been forwarded.*

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding Ninth Regiment U. S. Colored Troops.

Captain M. BAILEY,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Birney’s Division, Tenth Corps.


*Embodied in table, p.134.



  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 774-775
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