No. 63. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Francis E. Pierce, One hundred and eighth New York Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS 108TH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
April 15, 1865.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders, I respectfully make the following report of the operations of this regiment during the late campaign:
The regiment left camp on the morning of March 28 , with the rest of the brigade, and moved out the Vaughan road across Hatcher’s Run, and bivouacked for the night near Dabney’s Mills. On the morning of the 29th [30th] advanced with the rest of the brigade; nothing beside ordinary picket and fatigue duty was done by the regiment until the morning of March 31, when the right wing was sent out to ascertain the strength of the enemy in our immediate front. The enemy;s skirmish line was driven in, and it was discovered that they had a line of works, in front of which was a broad slashing, and were in considerable force behind the works. Later in the day the left wing was sent out to capture some of the enemy’s pickets if possible. The pickets were easily driven behind their main line of works; but, owing to the denseness of the slashing, it was impossible to capture any of them.
On the morning of April 2 this regiment and the Seventh Virginia of this brigade were ordered to advance upon the enemy’s works, and enter them if possible. All arrangements were made, but at 2 a. m. the order was countermanded, and, with the rest of the brigade, it was moved to the left. Shortly afterward it was moved to the left. Shortly afterward it was discovered that the enemy had abandoned his works in our front, and this regiment was moved to the right to within two miles of Petersburg, where it remained for a short time, when it was moved back toward the left again some five or six miles, where it bivouacked. On the morning of the 3rd the regiment again moved nearly to Petersburg, where it remained until about noon, when it started, with the rest of the brigade, in pursuit of the enemy. The regiment was on the skirmish line during the advance on the 6th of April, and on the 7th was again placed in support of the skirmish line of the brigade. On nearing High Bridge the regiment was taken from the skirmish line and placed on the right of the brigade. On nearing High Bridge the regiment was taken from the skirmish line and placed on the right of the brigade, and marched toward the bridge, on the railroad, in column of fours, preceded by some of the First Delaware, who had been on the skirmish line. After remaining near the east end of the bridge about half and hour the regiment was moved alongside of the railroad track to a small bridge below the railroad bridge, and was the first regiment that crossed. It advanced as skirmishers along the piers of the railroad bridge, and its colors were continually in advance of all others and were the first planted on a small fort at the west end of the bridge, and officers and
men belonging to this regiment were the first at the ten pieces of artillery that were left by the enemy at the west end of the bridge. It is not intended to assert that this regiment captured the fort or the ten pieces of artillery, as the credit is due to the whole brigade; but simply that the colors of this regiment were the first over the bridge, and kept in the advance, and that the regiment was the first to reach the fort and the guns. The regiment was reformed immediately in rear of the captured artillery, and advanced beside the railroad track toward Farmville. At about one mile and a half east of that place it was again deployed as skirmishers, the left resting on the railroad, the line being nearly at right angles with the road. The enemy, who had besides a strong skirmish line a section of artillery, was repeatedly driven from strong positions until the whole line was ordered to halt, and was reformed and moved to the right of the Fist Division.
On the night of the 7th regiment constructed a line of works. On the morning of the 8th it advanced, with the rest of the brigade, in pursuit of the enemy, and was with the brigade when the enemy surrendered. It made the return march to this place, arriving here on the evening of the 13th.
Although the regiment has endured many hardships and at times been almost without rations, there has been very little or no complaint by officers or men, and all duty has been readily and cheerfully performed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. E. PIERCE,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Captain THEREON E. PARSONS,
- 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. 772-773 ↩