No. 40. Report of Major John McE. Hyde, Thirty-ninth New York Infantry.1
HDQRS. THIRTY-NINTH NEW YORK VETERAN VOLUNTEERS,
April 10, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment since the 28th ultimo:
In compliance with orders, the Thirty-third Regiment New York Veteran Volunteers left camp at 8 a. m. March 29 with the brigade, and moved across Hatcher’s Run, where line of battle was formed at 11 a. m. At 4 p. m. an advance was ordered, and we moved forward without opposition until after dark, when we bivouacked for the night. At daylight March 30 the advance was continued in line of battle, without opposition, until we reached the Quaker road. A line of breast-works was constructed a short distance beyond the road, and bivouac ordered for the night. Early in the morning of the 31st we moved to the left and occupied a line of breast-works on the Boydton plank road, thrown up by the Fifth Corps. At 10 a. m. the brigade advanced for the purpose of attacking the enemy. After moving in line of battle nearly a mile we struck their skirmish line. A left wheel was made by the brigade for the purpose of attacking the enemy on his flank. As the Thirty-ninth was on the extreme right men were deployed to protect that flank of the brigade until the entire regiment was deployed as skirmishers. The First Brigade advancing over my line I withdrew my regiment and rejoined the brigade. Colonel Funk was wounded in the hip early in the engagement, and I have since been in command of the regiment. After rejoining the brigade the division line was straightened and breast-works thrown up.
Before daylight on the morning of the 1st instant we moved to the rear and occupied the original line of works on the Boydton road, and afterward threw up a new line a short distance in advance. In the afternoon we advanced again [to] the line erected the previous day, and lay there ready to receive an attack, demonstrations being made on different portions of the enemy’s lines by other regiments. At 1 a. m. 2nd instant we moved rapidly to the left, and halted at 4 a. m. somewhere near Dinwiddie Court-House. At 6 a. m. we returned and formed line of battle in front of the enemy’s works, ready to attack. Soon after it was ascertained that they had evacuated, and we advanced at the double-quick to occupy their works. The colors of the Thirty-ninth were the third on their works. The advance was continued until the enemy was found in an entrenched position on the South Side Railroad. The Third Brigade was ordered to charge them, and although the men were much exhausted from loss of sleep the previous night and the rapid marching they had gone through yet they advanced gallantly through a piece of woods and across an open field, exposed to the fire of two batteries and from the enemy in his breast-works. The Thirty-ninth was on the extreme left of the brigade, and succeeded in reaching the crest of a hill, and if a few shots could have been thrown from a battery of our own I think [they] could have entered the enemy’s works. At this time the right of the brigade fell back, and as, from my advanced position, I was in danger of being surrounded I was compelled to fall back. One officer and 2 men, who were unable to keep up on the retreat, were captured at this point. Line was again formed in the edge of the woods, and a skirmish line thrown out on the left and in ad-
vance. I would call attention to the conduct of First Lieutenant Baron W. Briggs and Second Lieuts. Charles Menzler, and Allen M. Baker, who succeeded in establishing this line under great difficulty, on account of the exhaustion of the men, &c. A second charge was ordered, this time supported by artillery, but we did not succeed in breaking the enemy’s line. As most of my regiment was on the skirmish line the few men I had could do very little. My colors, however, were as far in advance as any in the brigade. Line was again formed on edge of woods, and presently the enemy was observed leaving in confusion, having been flanked in their position by the Second Brigade. We now advanced across the railroad, and my regiment, with others, was advanced for the purpose of completing the connection on the skirmish line. Afterward rejoined the brigade and bivouacked for the night. At 6 a. m. on the morning of the 3rd we moved forward, meeting no opposition, and marched until 9 p. m., when we bivouacked for the night. On the 4th started at 6 p. m., moved forward three miles, when we were ordered back to meet trains and repair roads; worked until 10 p. m., and then bivouacked. At 5 a. m. morning of the 5th resumed the march, meeting the division at 9 p. m. at Jetersville and bivouacked.
On the morning of the 6th moved forward about one mile, when we met Lee’s rear guard, and skirmished and fought all day, driving the enemy, and at 5 p. m. participated in the capture of a part of a wagon train. Crossed Monkey Run and bivouacked for the night. At 6 a. m. morning of the 7th moved forward to High Bridge, drove the enemy from their works and across the river, and continued the pursuit to within half a mile of Farmville. Moved to the right of Farmville and erected works, subjected to heavy artillery fire. Bivouacked for the night. Enemy in strong force in our front.
Early on the morning of the 8th it was discovered that the enemy had abandoned his position, and we immediately started in pursuit, marching without opposition until 6 p. m., when we bivouacked. At 9 p. m. again moved forward about three miles. At 6 a. m. on the morning of the 9th moved forward about three miles, when we halted, awaiting the result of a flag of truce. At 4 p. m. the surrender of Lee was announced.
J. McE. HYDE,
Major, Commanding Thirty-ninth New York Veteran Volunteers.
Captain H. DODT,
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. 738-739 ↩