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OR XLII P1 #320: Report of Major Normand Smith, 13th NH, September 29-30, 1864

No. 320. Report of Major Normand Smith, Thirteenth New Hampshire Infantry, of operations September 29-30.1

Fort Harrison, Va., October 22, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment on the 29th and 30th of September:

The First Brigade, to which the regiment belongs, commanded by Colonel Stevens, broke camp at 9 p.m. of the 28th, and after several delays, during the night crossed the James, at Aiken’s Landing, about 3 a.m. Marched above Aiken’s house and formed close column, this regiment being the right of the brigade, the Second Brigade in front, with two regiments deployed as skirmishers. Just before daylight the column was advanced up the road on which our right rested. The skirmishers found the pickets of the enemy near the woods and drove them rapidly up the road some two miles to the open field in front of Fort Harrison, closely followed by the main column. The column was halted near the edge of the woods, and the Ninety-sixth New York, of the Second Brigade, was deployed in line of battle, with the Eighth Connecticut formed close column in their rear, and the First Brigade following. The Third Brigade was formed in a similar manner on the right of the road. The column was then advanced rapidly up the road, under a severe fire from the enemy’s batteries until they obtained cover under the hill near the fort. Here the column was reformed by Colonel Roberts, of the Third, and Lieutenant-Colonel Raulston, of the First Brigade, Colonel Stevens having been severely wounded. We were again advanced under a heavy fire of musketry into the outer ditch of the fort without firing a shot. Then came the struggle who should first plant their colors on the fort. The entire color guard of this regiment (six in number) were killed or wounded, four of them with the colors in their hands, and the regiment claims that their colors were first on the fort, which was carried a few minutes past 7 a.m. Having been wounded at the ditch outside the fort, the command devolved upon Captain Stoodley, Company G, who furnishes the following particulars:

On entering the fort the regiment gathered around the colors, and some of them were sent to turn the guns in the fort, two of which were turned and fired several times on the retreating enemy. Soon after, we were formed on the left of the fort, placing the sentries on our left and toward the enemy. About 10 o’clock we joined the other regiments of the brigade and formed a line of battle in the rear, now front of the fort, posting pickets in advance of our present line, they remaining during the night. Late in the afternoon we commenced remaining during the night. Late in the afternoon we commenced throwing up breast-works on the left of the fort. About an hour afterward we were moved out of the fort to the left, and worked all night upon the works, now running the fort to the river. On the morning of the 30th the regiment was again moved into the fort and placed at work on the left, where we were when it was found the enemy were massing on the right, when we were moved to the extreme right of the fort, our right resting on the intrenchments. About twenty minutes afterward the enemy made the attack. The regiment was almost entirely unprotected during the engagement, but never flinched, and keep up a destructive fire upon the advancing enemy, who were repulsed in every attempt to recapture the fort. After the repulse of

the enemy Captain Goss, Company I, commanding sharpshooters, advanced his men to the picket-line and captured the colors of three regiments of Clingman’s brigade and several prisoners.

Major Thirteenth New Hampshire Infantry.

Lieutenant E. A. COOKE,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 1st Brigadier, 1st Div., 18th Army Corps.


  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 805-806
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