HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-SECOND U. S. COLORED TROOPS,
In the Field, Va., October 17, 1864.
SIR: In accordance with verbal orders from headquarters First Brigade, Third Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, I have the honor to make the following report of the engagement of the 29th and 30th ultimo, in which the Twenty-second U. S. Colored Troops participated, commanded by Major J. B. Cook:
At 4 a.m. on the 29th the regiment moved with the brigade from Deep Bottom, Va., toward the enemy’s lies. His pickets were encountered on the edge of a woody ravine (through which runs Four Mile Creek) by the skirmishers of the Third Brigade (Duncan’s), which was deployed preparatory to a charge. The First Brigade was moved in column by division, the Twenty-second in front, to the rear of the center of the line as a support. A charge was made by the Third Brigade, which proved unsuccessful. The First Brigade (the support) had in the meantime conformed to the movements of the line. The Twenty-second U. S. Colored Troops was then deployed as skirmishers and moved forward under a heavy fire of artillery from the right, which nearly enfiladed the line. One officer and eight men were wounded by shells from this source. The line moved forward through a dense tangle of underbrush and felled trees into an open plain. Here the first fire of the enemy’s pickets was encountered, who were stationed across the plain in a piece of woods. One man was killed and several wounded in crossing this plain. The enemy was found to be in force beyond the woods in rifle-pits covering the New Market road. The rifle-pits had an abatis in front. As the charging column came up to the support of the skirmish line a part of the regiment assembled on
the right and moved forward into the works, driving the enemy in confusion from them. After following the enemy a few hundred yards across the road, the regiment, being again deployed, assembled on the left, and with the rest of the brigade moved toward Richmond, on the New Market road, and encamped for the night to the right of Fort Harrison. On the morning of the 30th the regiment moved to the right of the fort, refaced and repaired to earth-works adjacent to the fort. At 1 o’clock the enemy was seen making preparation for an attack. At 2 o’clock our pickets were driven in and five distinct lines of the enemy charged our line. The attack was general. The charging column was repulsed. A second time charged and second time repulsed. A counter-charge was then made by the Twenty-second, which added impetus to the already flying rebels. In this counter-charge the regiment encountered a strong [force] which was stationed under the lee of an isolated fort, and from which we received a volley of musketry which killed several men and wounded two officers (Major J. B. Cook and Captain Jacob F. Force), but they, too, were put [to] flight, and, as no other advantage could be gained, the regiment again took its position in line behind the breast-works. In all the maneuvering the most unflinching bravery was displayed by both officers and men.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Commanding Regiment.
Lieutenant D. L. PROUDFIT,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 1st Brigadier, 3rd Div., 18th 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 817-818 ↩