No. 17. Report of Lieutenant Charles B. Phillips, U. S. Corps of Engineers.1
HEADQUARTERS U. S. ENGINEER BATTALION,
April 21, 1865.
COLONEL: In accordance with your instructions, I have the honor to report the service upon which I have been engaged during the recent campaign.
On the 28th of March last I was directed by you to report for temporary duty to Major-General Parke, commanding Ninth Army Corps. On the 29th, 30th, nd 31st ultimo I was engaged on the line then held by the Ninth Army Corps (in front of Petersburg, Va.), repairing the damages done to a portion of our line at various times by the enemy’s shell, the principal injury being at Fort Haskell, where several embrasure had been destroyed. Changes were also being made in the armament, as at Fort Davis, where 30-pounders were to be placed in position.
On the 1st instant I also (by direction of General Parke) selected at several points along the line positions for trous-de-loup, which obstructions General Parke proposed having placed in our line.
On the morning of the 2nd instant (just before daylight) an attack was ordered upon the enemy’s works in front of Petersburg. The main point of attack selected was Fort Mahone, on the plank road, opposite Fort Sedgwick, on our troops, nd met with a correspondingly stubborn resistance form the enemy (considering their strength), the latter not appearing to be in very great force at that point. The work was carried, and the guns which were taken (and which were uninjured by he enemy) were immediately turned on the enemy’s line, being supplied with ammunition carried by hand form Fort Sedgwick. These guns, although not rendering the line untenable to any great extent on either side of Fort Mahone (on account of the arrangement of traverses on the line) yet proved to be of great service in repelling he assaults of the enemy, who repeatedly in the course of the day made
the most desperate attempt to recover their lost work. Our troops while holding Fort Mahone were engaged in taking possession of and turning against the enemy their front line of works, and in the course of the day held the works on either side for a distance of, perhaps, half a mile. The complete occupancy of the line was prevented in a measure by detached batteries of the enemy, which were in position at a considerable distance to the rear of their main line of works, but which were meanwhile engaged with the batteries on our own line. The loss of the Ninth Corps during the day was reported to be 160 killed and 700 to 800 wounded. During the day quite large fires had rapidly broken out in the city, and that an early evacuation of the city might be looked for.
During the night of the 2nd instant the enemy evacuated the city of Petersburg, and early on the morning of the 3rd a portion of our troops were reported a occupying the city.
On the 3rd instant I was on duty at General Parke’s headquarters, finding roads on which to march the Ninth Corps, &c. On the night of the 3rd instant headquarters were established near the headquarters Army of the Potomac, near Sutherland’s Station.
On the morning of the 4th instant I was ordered by you to report for duty at headquarters Army of the Potomac, and since that date have been on duty with neither of the corps of the army, but have been on duty with neither of the corps of the army, but have been on duty with neither of the corps of the army, but have been on duty either at headquarters of the army or in change of Battalion U. S. Engineers, which have been engaged in countering in front of headquarters trains.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. B. PHILLIPS,
First Lieutenant of Engineers.
Bvt. Colonel J. C. DUANE,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac.
- 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. 658-659 ↩