No. 32. Report of Colonel Robert Nugent, Sixty-ninth New York Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.1
HDQRS. SECOND BRIG, FIRST DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
April 15, 1865.
COLONEL: In compliance with circular of the 10th instant from headquarters Second Army Corps, calling for a report of operations of this brigade during the campaign commencing March 28 and ending April 10, 1865, I have the honor to report as follows:
March 29, in obedience to order, broke camp at 6 a. m. and marched to the left. The brigade-consisting of the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers, Sixty-third, Sixty-ninth, and Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, at about 8 a. m. were joined by the Fourth New York Heavy Artillery, which had been transferred to this command-continued the march, crossing Hatcher’s Run, until 2 p. m., when the line was halted, and line of battle being formed advanced in the direction of the enemy’s line until night. Bivouacked.
March 30, resumed the march at 7 a. m., still in line of battle; advanced through the woods about two miles, the enemy falling back as we advanced, portions of the command being employed in corduroying the roads. At 4 p. m. occupied the earth-works in our front, the First and Third Brigades being in the advance; at same time furnished a detail of 450 men, with officers, for fatigue duty, who were reported at corps headquarters; also continued work on the roads through the night.
March 31, at 3 a. m. moved to the left and occupied works built by a portion of the Fifth Corps; slashed timber in our front, under a very heavy fire of artillery, until 1 p. m., when we moved about one mile to our left, connecting with the First and Third Brigades of the division; advanced, driving the enemy into his works. At about 4 p. m. retired about one-fourth of a mile and erected earth-works. At 7 p. m. moved about two miles to the left and rested on arms for the night.
April 2, at 1 a. m. moved farther to the left, about the miles, to the camp of Sheridan’s cavalry, arriving there about 4 a. m.; rested until 6 a. m., and marched back upon the White Oak road about two miles, where we formed in line of battle and advanced though the wood, with skirmishers in front, toward the enemy’s works. Finding that the enemy
had evacuated the works were advanced at a double-quick into the works; reformed line of battle in rear of the works; continuing the pursuit, passing a camp filled with the enemy’s wounded, and abandoned by them; overtook the rear guard of the enemy, which we drove before us until about noon, driving them into their works immediately in front of the South Side Railroad, where they made a stand; charged the works in connection with the Third Brigade and, owing to a terrific reformed; charged again, capturing the works and some 150 prisoners, together with 1 battle-flag and 2 pieces of artillery, the prisoners being sent to the rear. The brigade continued the advance, crossing the South Side Railroad, and marched in the direction of the Appomattox as far as Clark’s Branch; returned and bivouacked near the railroad, the casualties in the brigade being 1 commissioned officer and 2 enlisted men killed, 6 commissioned officers and 73 enlisted men wounded, and 9 enlisted men missing in action. At this time the fatigue details furnished March 30 rejoined the command.
April 3, resumed the march, and continued in a westerly direction about ten miles, where we bivouacked.
April 4, moved at 7 a. m. in the same direction, advancing about fifteen miles and bivouacking at dusk.
April 5, resumed march at daylight in a westerly direction, crossing the Danville railroad about 2 p. m., and resting upon the right of the Fifth Corps. At this place the brigade furnished a detail of 280 men from the Fourth New York Heavy Artillery as guard to prisoners to City Point.
April 6, resumed march at 6 a. m. in the direction of Amelia Court-House. About 8 a. m. encountered the enemy’s rear guard, covering their wagon trains; advanced skirmishers, followed by the brigade in line of battle, the enemy disputing the ground obstinately throughout the day; succeeded in driving them some eight or nine miles and capturing the entire train. Lieutenant Ford, of the Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, captured a battle-flag this day while on the skirmish line. Casualties this day, 4 enlisted men killed, 13 enlisted men wounded, and 5 enlisted men missing in action. Bivouacked for the night after placing a part of the command on guard over the captured train. Many prisoners and stragglers were also captured, who were immediately sent to the rear.
April 7, continued the march, passing near Farmville and High Bridge; overtook the enemy again about 5 p. m., who had entrenched themselves, and having batteries in position was obliged to pass under a heavy fire of artillery to our position on the right of the First Brigade, where we supported that brigade in its charge, preventing the advance of the enemy. Rested for the night, our skirmish line having been relieved by part of the Second Division, Second Corps.
April 8, finding that the enemy had retreated during the night resumed the march, and marched in westerly direction until 7 a. m., when we halted, resting about two hours, and resumed the march, marching four miles, and bivouacked for the night.
April 9, resumed the march at 7 a. m., and moved about six miles where we halted to await action of conference between the respective commanders. About 4 p. m. bivouacked, awaiting orders.
The total casualties of the campaign have been: Killed, 1 commissioned officer, 11 enlisted men; wounded, 8 commissioned officers, 94 enlisted men; missing in action, 14 enlisted men.*
*But see revised table, p. 582.
My thanks are due in an eminent degree to the members of my staff for their untiring zeal, particularly to Captain P. W. Black, acting commissary of subsistence, who distinguished himself on Sunday, April 2, in carrying out my orders and assisting me in rallying the men.
In conclusion,it gives me sincere pleasure to add that the officers and men of my command behaved, under the most trying circumstances, with courage and fidelity, carrying out all orders to my complete satisfaction, they having now the proud satisfaction of seeing a stubborn enemy, whom they have combated against for nearly four years, humbled, thereby adding their feeble mite to promote the life, prosperity, an independence of our nation.
I have the honor to remain, colonel, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel RICHARD A. BROWN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, FIRST DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
April 16, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel RICHARD A. BROWN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division:
COLONEL: Having been informed that the honor of the capture of the battle-flag taken from the enemy in the charge of this brigade on the 2nd of April was about to be awarded to an enlisted man of the One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, I beg leave to state that the flag was captured by Private Frank Denio, Company M, Fourth New York Artillery, which fact can be substantiated by Lieutenant Colonel J. J. Smith, Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Denis F. Burke, Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, Captain John Oldershaw, brigade inspector Second Brigade, and Lieutenant Charles M. Granger, of my staff.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, SECOND ARMY CORPS,
April 16, 1865.
A careful investigation by the general commanding the division has elicited the fact that the flag in question was first captured by Private Phillips, One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, thrown down and passed over by him, and afterward secured by Private Frank Denio, Fourth Artillery.
By command of Brevet Major-General Miles:
RICHARD A. BROWN,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
- 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. 724-726 ↩