No. 58. Reports of Colonel Daniel Woodall, First Delaware Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.1
HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., SECOND DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
April 27, 1865.
MAJOR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of theirs command from March 29 to April 6, inclusive, in compliance with circular of April 26 from headquarters Second Division, Second Army Corps.
Pursuant to orders from headquarters Second Corps of the previous day, we left at 6.38 a. m. March 29. After crossing Hatcher’s Run the Seventh Michigan Volunteers (of the Fist Brigade) reported to General Smyth as skirmishers. After passing our picket-line General Smyth sent out the Seventh West Virginia Volunteers, Seventh Michigan Volunteers, and Fourth Ohio Volunteers as skirmishers, who advanced about a mile and a half, but found no enemy. Our skirmishers were then withdrawn and line of battle formed – Second Division on the right, and this brigade on the right of the division, resting near Hatcher’s Run. Seventh Virginia, Fourth Ohio, and Seventh Michigan were sent out to picket in our front. While advancing to reconnoiter the front of his regiment Lieutenant [Patterson], of the Seventh Michigan, a valuable officer, was shot dead by a sharpshooter. The enemy occupying a line of works near Dabney’s Mill, our line then advanced to Dabney’s Mill, the brigade marching by the flank, as the woods were too thick for a line of battle. We took position on the right of the division, our right resting on Hatcher’s Run, connecting with Twenty-fourth Corps and connecting on the left with First Brigade. While this movement was being executed the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, which had been sent out as skirmishers to picket in our front, struck the enemy between Dabney’s Mill and the Crow house, and a lively skirmish was kept up until dark, of the Fourth Ohio, Seventh Virginia, Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, and the Fifty-ninth New York Volunteers (from First Brigade), which regiments reported to General Smyth about dark.
March 30. Our whole line advanced this morning to the Crow house; the enemy left their position at this point during the night; our brigade was in reserve of the division during the day. The enemy were found to have fallen back to their main line of works, which was found to be very strong. While establishing a picket-line from the right of the Third Division to Hatcher’s Run, the enemy opened with artillery on our picket force, under command of Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Nicholas, First Delaware Veteran Volunteers, but did no damage. We remained in this position until 1 o’clock of the morning of the 31st, when this brigade was ordered to the left of the division. It rained hard until daybreak, at which time we occupied the works extending from the Crow house – the First Brigade, Second Division, on our right, and a brigade of the third Division on our left. General Smyth, with the One hundred and eighth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Francis E. Pierce commanding, reconnoitered our front and unmasked the position of the enemy, drawing the fire of his batteries. An attack was then ordered. The Seventh Michigan (Lieutenant-Colonel La Point), Seventh West Virginia (Lieutenant-Colonel Baldwin), Fourth Ohio (Lieutenant-Colonel Calahan), and a company of the First Delaware (Captain Davis and Lieutenant Dunn) -the First Delaware was formed in line of battle, under Colonel Woodall – advanced through the enemy’s slashing, driving them to their works, and, after sharp skirmishing, succeeded in silencing the fire of their battery in our front, which was in a square work without embrasure. Lieutenant Hopkins, Seventh Virginia, was severely wounded during the affairs. The slashing in our front was so thick a line of battle could not get through. During this time a heavy firing was going on on our left. At night our skirmish line was withdrawn under cover of the woods, and we remained in the position until the afternoon of the 1st of April, when our line was shortened by the Third Division moving to the right. The First and Second Brigades established a new line along the edge of the woods in our front, and this brigade held the line occupied by the First
Brigade; held this position until 2 a. m. April 2, when brigade was ordered to report to General Mott on our left. A detachment of the Tenth New York Volunteers, Captain Van Winkle, the Fourth Ohio, in charge of Captain S. W. De Witt and Captain Lewis Rounds, and half of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, under command of Captain William Murdock, were left on the skirmish line, and participated in the attack at that point which resulted in the capture of a fort, several pieces of artillery, and a number of prisoners, the detachment of the Fourth Ohio Volunteers, under Captain L. Rounds, taking 67 prisoners, and the Tenth New York detachment, Captain Van Winkle, taking 30 prisoners. The One hundred and sixth Battalion of Pennsylvania Volunteers, Captain Gallager, was organized for field service in conjunction with Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Captain Charles McAnally, and participated in all the movements of the last-named command. The brigade – consisting (exclusive of those left on the skirmish line) of the First Delaware Volunteers, a portion of the Tenth New York, a portion of the fourteenth Connecticut, the Seventh Virginia, One hundred and eighth New York, Twelfth New Jersey, Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, and the One hundred and sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers – moved to the left and took position on the left of the Third Division. When the enemy were discovered to have evacuated we marched with the Third Division to Cox’s road, near Petersburg, and on the arrival of the Second Division we were joined by the detachment of our brigade left on the skirmish line, who had participated in the attack at that point under General Hays. General Smyth then received an order from General Humphreys to rejoin his division, under General Hays. The division then moved down the South Side Railroad, this brigade resting for the night on the railroad, about nine miles from Petersburg. In the morning we returned to near Petersburg, starting at 6 a. m. We were then ordered to turn back, and marched until 11 p. m., halting for the night near Namozine Church. On the morning of the 4th instant we moved at 7 a. m., an d halted about 1.30 p. m. near the forks of Burkeville and Amelia Court-House roads. Taking the road in the direction of Jetersville, we halted for the night at 9 p. m. in line of battle, our brigade on the right. Our command was entirely out of rations and the men worn out. we received orders to move at midnight (12 p.m.), but were obliged to wait to issue rations to the command. As soon as rations were issued we moved on in advance of the corps, this brigade in advance of the division. We passed Dennisville about 9 a. m., and reached the Fifth Corps, near Jetersville, at 2.30 p. m. The marching on this day was very hard, the day warm and the roads bad. We found the Fifth Corps in line, fortified, and our division was formed in line on the left of the Fifth Corps, this brigade on the right, with our right resting on the railroad at or near Jetersville. the enemy reported to be advancing, we built works and remained in this position until the morning of the 6th instant, when we received orders to advance and attack the enemy’s works. General Smyth then sent out the Seventh Virginia, fourth Ohio, and Seventh Michigan (of the First Brigade) as skirmishers. Taking a northeast direction we advanced about a mile, finding a few of the enemy’s cavalry in our front, our brigade on the right and marching by the flank in rear of the skirmishers. About 9 o’clock General Smyth was called on to take command of the division, and the command for a short time devolved on Colonel Daniel Woodall, First Delaware Volunteers. About 10 o’clock, or near that time, General F. Barlow assumed command of the division, and General Smyth returned to the command of the brigade. The enemy having gone around on our
left, we were ordered to move to the left and pursue him, our division moving on the right of the other divisions of the corps. General Smyth was then ordered to connect with the First Division (General Miles), but was afterward ordered to throw out skirmishers and take the advance of the division. The Sixty-ninth and One hundred and sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers were thrown out on our right flank as flankers, the One hundred and eighth New York and half of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers were deployed as skirmishers, and participated in the attack on the enemy’s position at Sailor’s Creek. During the day we kept close on the heels of the enemy and pushed him vigorously, and halted when it became so dark we could not continue the pursuit.
The troops engaged in the attack on the redoubt on the 2nd instant were a detachment of the Tenth New York Volunteers, Captain Van Winkle; a detachment of the Fourth Ohio Volunteers, Capts. S. W. DeWitt and Lewis rounds; five companies of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, Captain Murdock. The Seventh Michigan Volunteers were also left there and participated, and reported at that place to their own (the First) brigade. Officers wounded during operations to the 6th instant, inclusive: Lieutenant Mark Hopkins, Seventh West Virginia, wounded March 31; Lieutenant Colonel S. A. Moore, Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, April 6. Offices killed: Lieutenant Stephen Patterson, Seventh Michigan Volunteers, April 6. Officers killed: Lieutenant Stephen Patterson, Seventh Michigan Volunteers, April 1 [March 29]. Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, though not on duty, superintended the movements of his command on the 6th instant, and while engaged in the capture of some rebels accidentally shot himself with his pistol.
Colonel First Delaware Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.
Major JOHN M. NORVELL,
HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., SECOND DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Burkeville Junction, Va., April 15, 1865.
MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this brigade during the time I have has command of it. I assumed command at noon on the 7th instant, immediately after the late Brigadier-General Smyth was wounded and during the skirmish with the enemy between High Bridge and Farmville, on the South Side Railroad:
Witch the exception of the Tenth New York Volunteers, Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, and Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, the whole brigade was deployed as skirmishers, and in compliance with instructions I advanced this line, engaging the enemy and driving them until I reached a retraining east from Farmville. Here I was ordered to halt and assemble the command, and to post a line along the aforesaid road. The Twelfth New Jersey Volunteers were left on the road as skirmishers, and the remainder of the command massed with the division. Shortly afterward the command was marched with the division to the right of the First Division of this corps, and after dark I was assigned position on the right of the First Brigade. Temporary breast-works were thrown up, and the command encamped for the night. This brigade moved with the division on the morning of the 8th instant, and throughout the day nothing of mentionable
importance occurred. The Sixty-ninth an One hundred and sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers and Tenth New York Volunteers preceded the column as skirmishers on this day. At 6.30 p.m. the command was halted, and one day’s rations were issued to the troops, after which it again moved with the division a distance of about three miles and encamped for the night. Moved with the division on the morning of the 9th instant to the vicinity of “Clover Hill farm.” At this place the command remained until the morning of the 11th instant, when the march to this place commenced.
In a complete report of the operations of this command since the opening of the recent campaign much might be said of the praiseworthy action of individuals and separate organizations. I can only say, that since I have had the honor to command the the brigade I have received the cordial support of officers and men, and all are entitled to credit for the patience, energy, and steadiness in action which has so largely contributed to secure the general result.
I respectfully submit herewith the nominal list of casualties,* together with the reports of regimental commanders.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel First Delaware Veteran Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.
Major JOHN M. NORVELL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Division.
*Embodied in table, p. 583.
- 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. 765-769 ↩