No. 15. Report of Bvt. Major William H. Paine, Aide-de-Camp.1
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, ENGINEER DEPARTMENT,
April 15, 1865.
I have the honor to submit the following report relative to duties assigned me during the late movements of the army from March 29 to April 9, 1865, inclusive:
On March 29, in accordance with instructions received form you, i examined the several roads leading from the Vaughan road to the Monk’s Neck road, west of Hatcher’s Run, and found them practicable for making such connection as may be necessary between the Second and Fifth Corps, with the exception of the crossing of Gravelly Run, which required that short bridges be made, as the banks were too high to make na easy ford; stream form fifteen to twenty feet wide, two feet deep. Laterin the day I made a reconnaissance to the front of the Second Corps, and prepared a sketch showing the roads leading from the Vauhgan road to their position, also of the roads previously mentioned, all of which were placed upon the maps during the next day, which was very rainy. Headquarters removed on the 29th from old camp on Aiken’s farm to a point south of the Vaughan road an east of Gravelly Run, where it remained the 30th and 31st. On March 31 the rain ceased before noon. Made a reconnaissance and sketch of the
entrenched position of the left of the Second Corps this morning [31st], running from where the Dabney’s Mill road intersects the Boydton plank road southwesterly. Later made a reconnaissance of the roads running westerly form the Baydton plank road, in rear of the Fifth and Second Corps, and, before night, of the advanced position taken by those corps, of all of which sketches were made and maps corrected to correspondent thereto.
On Saturday, April 1, made a survey of the left of the Twenty-fourth Corps and the right of the Second Corps, with rude triangulations to works of the enemy on Hatcher’s Run, of which a sketch and an estimate of distances was made. Headquarters camp was established one-half mile southeasterly form Dabney’s Mill. On Sunday, April 2, I was with the advance of the Second Corps when it arrived at where the Sixth Corps extended across the Cox road west of Old Town Run. Returned to headquarters and reported the fact, also the position of the Sixth Corps left where it rested on the Appomattox. In the evening guided a pontoon train across the Cox road. Headquarters were established near Mr. Tapley’s house, about three miles from Petersburg, on the Boyton plank road. On Monday, April 3, accompanied the general and staff to the line of works on Cemetery Hill, passing through Petersburg, and afterward by way of the River road to near Sutherland’s Station, where headquarters were established were established for the night. On Tuesday, the 4th, headquarters removed to Mr. Jones’ place, on the Namozine road,d east of Deep Creek. Was engaged much of the time in obtaining information relative to roads by which connections could be made between the several routes taken by the different troops and of our own route in advance. Wednesday, April 5, found the advance of the Second Corps halted by reason of the passing of cavalry. Riding on in advance, found the best route already marked by the passing of the Fifth Corps. At Jetersville made a reconnaissance,m first southwesterly and afterward easterly, where I was directed to guide the Sixth Corps into position to the right of the Second and Fifth, which I did when they came up about dark. On Thursday, the 6th, when we had arrived at Hill’s Shop, I was directed by Major-General Meade to carry a verbal order to Major-General Griffin, commanding the Fifth Corps, to proceed northerly as far as Burton’s Bridge, and then proceeded westerly on roads which he indicated on the map. I delivered the order, when Major-General Griffin desired me to remain to designate the route and guide the advance, which I did, passing Burton’s Bridge site by a ford about fifty feet wide and two feet deep. We passed though Paineville and Rodophil and near Sheppard’s Mill, and arrived after dark and took position on the right of the Second Corps, not far from Sailor’s Creek. I returned and found headquarters and reported position of the creek. I returned and found headquarters and reported position of the corps. Headquarters had, during the day, been removed from near Mr. Haskins’, about two miles southeast of Jetersvile; so Friday, 2nd, made reconnaissance of inquires relating to roads in the vicinity of High Bridge and Farmville. Headquarters were at Rice’s Station this night. Saturday, the 8th, continued reconnaissances and inquiries toward Appomattox Court-House and toward the various crossings of the Appomattox River. Headquarters were this night about eighteen miles east of Appomattox Court-House, at Clifton. Sunday, 9th, made reconnaissances to the left of the stage road, as well as along the same. Arrived at the skirmish line of the Second Corps as a flag of truce came through. Soon after, seeing that the enemy’s skirmish line had retired, I went forward and sketched the position of the enemy, pacing the distance to a locating a portion of their
Very respectfully submitted.
W. H. PAINE,
Captain, Aide-de Camp, and Brevet Major of Volunteers.
Bvt. Colonel J. C. DUANE,
Major of Engineers, U. S. Army.
- The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), pp. 653-655 ↩