Editor’s Note: Brett Schulte recently noticed this report transcribed online among the James H. Lane Papers at the Auburn University Archives web site. Permission was asked for and granted by Auburn University Libraries, Department of Special Collections & University Archives to reproduce these transcriptions here at The Siege of Petersburg Online. These transcriptions are copyrighted by Auburn University Libraries, Department of Special Collections & University Archives and may not be reproduced without their express written consent. The transcription attribution reads as follows: “Transcriptions made by Terri Stout-Stevens, Pfafftown, NC, in 1997 and 1998. Edited by Marty Olliff, Assistant Archivist, Auburn University, who takes all responsibility for any errors.”
Unpublished Report of Major Thomas J. Wooten, Sharpshooter Battalion, Lane’s Brigade, of operations September 30-October 1, 18641
Head Quarters Lanes Sharpshooting Corps
October 7th 1864
I beg leave to submit the following report of the operations of this corps in the engagements of Sept 30th and Oct 1st 1864. On the evening of the 30th Sept the head of the column having reached the works which crossed the road near the Jones House, I was ordered to report with my command to Gen Wilcox; and was instructed by him to march the corps beyond the Jones house and deploy on the right of the road, my left resting on the road. In obedience to these instructions I moved as rapidly as possible in the direction indicated but had not reached the house by two hundred yards when I saw the yankees entering the yard. I immediately deployed the Corps on the right of the road at a double quick and under fire from the enemy at the house. As soon as the deployment was completed I advanced my line and the enemy, who up to this time, were driving the Cavalry Skirmishers before them in confusion, were now, in turn, forced back several hundred yards on the right with a loss of twelve prisoners and several killed and wounded. Seeing that the left of my line could not dislodge the yankees from the house both on account of the obstructions intervening and the advantage of position gained by the enemy in possession of the house, I moved my line by the right flank a distance sufficient for my left to pass the house in moving forward, thus isolating the enemy who had taken possession of the house, from their line which had been driven across the field to the edge of a pine thicket. In a short time Capt Dunlap Comdg McGowans Sharp Shooters moved up and took possession of the Jones house capturing forty prisoners. The enemy by this time had advanced in line of battle to the edge of the field, and soon forced my line back about one hundred and fifty yards, when we met our Brigade advancing in line of battle. The detachments of the 7th and 18th Regts advanced on the right of the brigade till a portion of McRae’s Brigade came up on the right. In this last advance, Lieut Pearson Comdg detachment of 7th NC Troops, a most gallant and skillful officer fell mortally wounded. On the night of the 30th the Corps picketted three hundred yards in front of the brigade, and at day on the morning of the 1st of Oct, I was ordered by Gen Wilcox to advance my Skirmishers to the edge of Pegram’s field avoiding an engagement if possible. I moved the line to the edge of the field without the slightest difficulty. A Short time afterwards the brigade was advanced up to this line and the enemy held a line of works at the Pegram house. Near nine o’clock in the morning I was instructed by Gen Wilcox to form line in front of brigade and advance upon the enemy when the artillery opened. In obedience to these instructions I advanced my line and with the assistance of the artillery drove them from their works capturing one hundred and fifty prisoners including some Commissioned Officers.
As soon as we had possession of the works I pushed forward my men in the direction of a redoubt in front of and to the left of the Pegram house. The advance of my line got within two hundred yards of this work and it must have fallen into our possession had not my line been forced to fall back to the works just taken for protection from our artillery. Previous to this time I had sent four men to the battery with the request that it cease firing but from some mis-understanding it continued to fire till three of my men were severly wounded and a few prisoners killed, besides confusing my whole line. Before the Battery was silenced I left the line and hurried back to the brigade to ascertain the reason why the firing still continued but I did not get to the brigade before it was hushed, and when I returned to my command I was ordered by Gen Wilcox to advance my skirmishers in the direction the enemy had retreated. I advanced about one fourth of a mile, when I came upon the enemy heavily entrenched. I reported the position and recieved instructions to advance no further but hold my position. During the evening I recieved orders from Gen Lane to withdraw my Skirmishers at dark and join the brigade In obeying this last order a portion of my Skirmishers on the right through some misunderstanding withdrew before I intended they should, the remaining portion withdrew at the prescribed time. For my loss in these engagements I respectfully refer you to the Enclosed tabular list of Casualties In these engagements both Officers and men behaved with their usual gallantry.
[Editor’s Note: List of casualties missing.]
Very Respectfully [&c]
T[homas] J Wooten
Maj Comdg Corps
Capt E.T. Nicholson
A A & I G
- Wooten, Thomas J. (1864, October 7). (Official Report sent to E.A.T. Nicholson). James H. Lane Papers (RG 501, Box 2, number 82). Auburn University Libraries Department of Special Collections & University Archives, Auburn, AL. ↩