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OR XLII P1 #325: Report of Lieutenant Colonel John B. Murray, 148th NY, October 27, 1864

No. 325. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John B. Murray, One hundred and forty-eighth New York Infantry, of operations October 27.1

Fort Harrison, Va., October 30, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In pursuance to request, I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 26th instant this regiment was transferred from the First Brigade to the Third Brigade of this division, and marched to Cox’s farm and bivouacked until 5 o’clock on the morning of the 27th. We then marched to Deep Bottom, from thence to Williamsburg road, which road we struck nine miles west of Bottom’s Bridge and half a mile south of Fair Oaks Station. We then moved up the Williamsburg road three-quarters of a mile, and there formed in line of battle on the south side of the road in rear of the Second Brigade of this division, with the Eighty-ninth New York on our right, and the Nineteenth Wisconsin on our left. A charge was immediately ordered. The regiment moved forward over the prostrate forms of the men of the Second Brigade of this division toward the enemy’s redoubt commanding the Williamsburg road. After moving some twenty rods they struck the open plain within about 800 yards of the enemy’s line of works. Here the opened upon us with musketry, whereupon the colonel commanding the brigade ordered the brigade to charge on the double-quick, which was immediately taken up and carried forward most enthusiastically by the men, until they reached a rise of ground about 400 yards of the enemy’s works. Here they met a withering fire from musketry and artillery, from the front and both right and left flanks. The fire at this point staggered the men for a moment, but being enthusiastically cheered on by the officers of the command, they rallied with a yell and rushed forward to the slope under and within 150 yards of the enemy’s redoubt. Here the line became so broken and cut up as to prevent its pushing forward any farther, and the men fell upon the ground for protection from the enemy’s fire under cover such as the ground afforded. Here they remained until ordered to fall back, when some fifty of the regiment arose and retired to the line re-established by the colonel commanding brigade, at the brow of the hill. Here they waited until the wounded of the brigade within reach (or that it was possible to get at) were removed. After which the regiment fell back and formed a line in front of the Second Brigade, where we remained until about 8 o’clock in the evening, when we came off the ground and returned to near Fort

Harrison, Va., when we were transferred from the Third to the First Brigade, of this division, and ordered to report to the commanding officer at Fort Burnham, which we did.

Our loss as reported shows 84 men, viz, 1 killed, 19 wounded (brought off),and 64 missing. We lost one of our most efficient officers, Captain E. Darwin Gage. He had been with us in the early part of the campaign, was wounded in front of Petersburg on the 15th of June so severely that his life was despaired of for a long time, but having recovered from his wounds so far as to enable him to rejoin his regiment, he was with us on the day of the fight and commanded the regiment in the charge. His loss is severely felt and deeply mourned by the officers and men of this command. Among those who are known to be wounded of this regiment are 1 of the color bearers and 5 of the color corporals. The color bearer of the national colors being wounded in the head, the colors were taken and carried forward by one of the color corporals until he was wounded and fell with them at the place where the line stopped. Two more of the color corporals were wounded while endeavoring to bring off the colors. Our State colors were brought off by the bearer, Corpl. Harmon Van Vleck, he crawling on his hands and knees backward, and dragging them after him under a most terrific fire.

In conclusion, I would state that it is difficult to particularize the acts of gallantry performed by the officers and men of this command. Suffice it to say that each and every one of them seemed to vie one with the other in the performance of every duty required of them.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel 148th New York Volunteers.

Acting 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 810-811
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