No. 69. Report of Colonel Russell B. Shepherd, First Maine Heavy Artillery, commanding First Brigade.1
HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., THIRD DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS,
April 17, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the First Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps, in the pursuit of the enemy from the morning of the 6th to the 9th instant:
About 9 a. m. the 6th instant I took command of the brigade of the brigade by order of General R. de Trobriand, who had been called to the command of the division. The following disposition of the brigade had previously been made: The One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania and five companies of the Twentieth Indiana were deployed as skirmishers, the remaining five companies in reserve; the Seventy-third and Eighty-sixth New York were thrown out on the left to protect the flank, as there was no immediate connection; the remaining four regiments – the Fortieth and One hundred and twenty-fourth New York, Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, and First Maine – formed the line of battle, the Fortieth on the right of the road leading westward from Amelia Springs, the One hundred and twenty-fourth in the road, the First Maine and Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania on the left of the road. The skirmish line, connecting on the right with that of the First Division, Second Army Corps, drove the enemy rapidly for two miles or more, capturing prisoners, wagons, &c. the skirmishers having exhausted their ammunition were relieved by the five reserve companies of the Twentieth Indiana and the One hundred and twenty fourth New York. The skirmish line continued to advance for a mile or more till it met the enemy’s line of battle posted behind temporary works. Our line of battle immediately charged with the skirmishers, driving the enemy from their works, capturing wagons and prisoners. The skirmish line having again exhausted its ammunition was relieved by the First Maine and sent to the rear to replenish. At this time, about 12 m., the Fortieth New York was transferred to the left of the road, and I was ordered to keep a connection on the right with the First Division, Second Army Corps. This division, through some misunderstanding, moved very slowly, until I reported to General Miles that the skirmishers were nearly a mile in advance. He
immediately moved his line forward and no further delay was occasioned. Again the enemy had thrown up temporary works and checked the advance of the skirmishers. The line of battle again charged, driving the enemy from their works, capturing several wagons, 2 flags, 1 piece of artillery, one artillery guidon, and quite a number of prisoners, and during the remainder of the day whenever the enemy checked the skirmishers the line of battle charged, always driving the enemy and capturing prisoners. Meanwhile, the Seventy-third and Eighty-sixth New York were actively engaged on the left, driving the enemy, capturing prisoners, &c. At length their ammunition having become exhausted they were ordered to the rear to replenish, their position being held by a portion of the Sixth Corps charged from the left across the front of the brigade, and by making a left turn came between us and the enemy. I then halted for the purpose of assembling the brigade, which, owing to the large portion (six regiments) that had been deployed as skirmishers, the rapid advance of several miles, and the frequent charges upon the enemy, had become very much scattered. After assembling the brigade I moved in rear of the Third Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps, and bivouacked for the night.
To sum up in a few words what was accomplished by the First Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps:
April 6, the enemy was attacked directly in ear on the road by which he was retreating and driven several miles. The brigade captured 1,390 enlisted men, 17 commissioned officers, 5 pieces of artillery, 28 wagons, 1 limber, 1 artillery guidon, and 3 battle flags. The conduct of both officers and men throughout the day was excellent; even the recruits, inspired by the gallantry of the veterans, charged with enthusiasm. I cannot make special mention of any without injustice to others, for all behaved with great gallantry.
April 7,, the brigade moved by the flank till about 2 p. m., when a line was formed to support the Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps. During the afternoon we maneuvered, in connection with the Second Brigade, but was not engaged. The skirmishers thrown out to protect the left flank were engaged for a few moments with the enemy, but suffered no loss.
This brigade took part in no engagement after this date.
R. B. SHEPHERD,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Captain T. E. PARSONS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Div., Second Army Corps.
- 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. 783-784 ↩