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OR XLVI P1 #20: Report of Lieutenant William H. Rogers, commanding det. 1st CTHA, March 31-April 3, 1865

No. 20. Report of Lieutenant William H. Rogers, commanding detachment First Connecticut Heavy Artillery.1

April 14, 1865.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to forward the following as a statement of the part taken by a detachment of the First Connecticut

Artillery under my command, in the assault of Sunday, April 2, upon the enemy’s lines in front of Petersburg:

On March 31 I was, by order of Major Ager, temporarily relieved from the command of Company K and ordered to take charge of a detachment of 100 men who would report to me at Fort Stedman; with them follow a charging column, and serve the guns taken in the commanded respectively by Lieutenants Smith, Couch, and Reynolds; each division was divided into three-gun detachments of the men, and a chief of piece each. All the detachments were provided with lanyards, primers, fuzes, and all necessary articles for the prompt and efficient serving of the guns that might be captured.

During the night of the 31st the detachments were under arms at Fort Stedman; no attack being made they were in the morning (April 1) dismissed, but reported to me again in the afternoon, when, by order of Major Ager, I moved to Fort Emery; there awaited orders from General Tidball. About 3 o’clock in the morning of April 2 received orders from him to move to Fort Rice, at which place I halted until he arrived, and gave his final instructions. I then moved to the left of Battery 20, arriving just as the column was moving out to the attack. My men at once sprung over our works, charged across the space between the lines with the entered the enemy’s works at the same time as the charging column. A very few minutes elapsed after entering the works before four of the captured guns were turned upon and doing great execution among the enemy. The other two could not be served where they were taken, and they were ordered to the right of the fort; the moving of them, owing to the peculiar construction of the work and the heavy fire of the enemy, was an undertaking that tried the nerve of all engaged, but which was successfully accomplished. Within half an hour form the time of gaining possession six guns, manned by the First Connecticut, were playing their part in holding the work taken.

During the day most of the guns were served near where they were captured, but at night all but one was moved to the side of the work nearest the enemy, and so placed as to sweep its entire front, in which positions they were kept and served until the next morning, when, by order of General Tidball, the detachments were relieved and ordered to join their respective companies. During the engagement the detachments not serving on the pieces were stationed at the parapet with their small-arms, aiding materially in the defense of the work.

To the officers, Lieutenants Smith, Couch, and Reynolds, for their encouragement of the men, and by their example keeping them at the pieces under a heavy fire during several severe charges of the enemy, and for the prompt execution of all orders, great credit is due. Where all behaved so nobly it is difficult to award individual praises, but for encouraging his men, coolness under fire, prompt serving of his piece, Corporal Hogan, of Company K, is especially deserving of mention.

A list of the killed and wounded I am unable to give, as I amunacquainted with the names of those injured.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant, Commanding Company K.

Lieutenant C. W. FILLER,
Acting Adjutant First Connecticut Heavy Artillery.

Before Petersburg, April 18, 1865.

Respectfully forwarded to headquarters Siege Artillery, with the following additional information: In obedience to orders from General Tidball, received on the 31st of March, a detail of 4 officers and 100 enlisted men was made form the companies under my command, as follows: Lieutenant Couch, with 10 men from Company K; Lieutenant Smith, with 25 men from Company E; Lieutenant Couch, with 20 men from Company M and 25 men form Company i; all of the First Connecticut Artillery. They were held in readiness to take possession of and serve any of the enemy’s guns that might by any circumstances fall into the enemy’s line; Lieutenant Rogers’ command, accompanying the assaulting column, were among the first to tender the works of the enemy. They turned the captured guns and delivered a terrible fire on their retreating columns, and during the entire day of the 2nd continued the fire form six 12-pounder guns. About 400 rounds of ammunition were captured with the pieces. At about 11 a. m. I visited the captured work; found about half the detachment which was not required for the service of th guns manning the parapet and with their small-arms assisting in the repulse, capturing some fifteen prisoners during the many assaults many by the enemy to retake the work. Some 800 rounds were fired from the guns captured, and the men with small-arms supplied themselves with ammunition from prisoners captured and the dead and dying in the fort. Singular to say, the casualties of this detachment were very light, considering that they were exposed to an enfilading fire of case and canister, and, besides, were very much exposed to sharpshooters; only 1 man killed and 6 slightly wounded.

I may be brief in speaking of the conduct of officers and men, for it is well known that all did nobly, particularly Lieutenant Rogers, to whose courage and daring in the assault, and good judgment in the disposition of his command after the capture of the work, much credit is due, and to whom the succeeds of holding the work may be attributed.

Major, First Connecticut Artillery.


  1. 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. 671-673
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