No. 77. Report of Bvt. General Charles Griffin, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.1
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
April 29, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the troops under my command from the 29th of March to the 9th of April, 1865, inclusive:
In compliance with orders from corps headquarters, dated March 28, the First Division broke camp, on the morning of the 29th at 5 a. m., linear the crossing of the Vaughan road and Hatcher’s Run, moving on the stage road to the crossing of the Rowanty; thence to a position near the Chappell house, about two miles from Dinwiddie Court-House. About 12 m. instructions were received from General Warren to return to the Quaker road and to move down it in the direction of Boydton plank. Immediately after crossing Gravelly Run General J. L. Chamberlain, with the First Brigade, having the advance, et the enemy’s cavalry and infantry and steadily drove them before him, the force constantly increasing until reaching a point known as the Lewis house, where out troops were met by a portion of Johnson’s and Andersons’
forces of the enemy, attacking with Wise’s and Wallace’s brigades, supported by other commands. The engagements lasted over two hours with great severity. General Chamberlain handled his brigade with ability, gallantly repulsing a much larger force than his own. At the close of the fight Battery B of the Fourth U. S. Artillery, one regiment (the One hundred and eighty-eighth New York) of the Second brigade, and three from the Third Brigade went to the support of the First, when the enemy was driven from the field, his wounded and killed falling into our possession, with 200 prisoners. One hundred and thirty of the enemy’s dead were buried by our pioneers. Our lines were advanced to and entrenched on the Boydton plank road before dark.
March 30, two brigades (Second and Third) were pushed across the plank road and occupied the rifle-pits of the enemy, some half a mile distant, the picket-line being established within easy range of the enemy’s main works. The rail fell incessantly drying the day and but little was done. March 31, the division was relieved by the Second Corps, and directed to move to the left and mass upon the ground the Second Division had previously occupied. About 11 a. m., heavy musketry being heard in or front toward the White Oak road, the division was immediately put in motion in the direction of the firing, and had scarcely reached the bank of Gravelly Run when it was met by the Third Division running to the rear in a most demoralized and disorganized condition, soon after followed by the Second Division. The First Division was formed in line of battle along the bank of the run with the utmost difficulty, and two batteries placed in position, when the enemy pursuing our troops were checked and driven back. The command was then pushed across the run, supported by the Second and Third Divisions, and the First brigade, leading, regained the position first taken by the troop in the morning. The enemy demonstrating in his rifle-pits, still in our front, General Chamberlain pushed boldly forward, carrying them in a handsome manner, taking one flag and about 135 prisoners, and gaining possession of the White Oak road. The First and Second Brigades entrenched upon this line, throwing a strong picket-line to the front and across the White Oak road. About an hour after this connection was established by the Second Corps with our right. Soon after 5 p. m. the Third Brigade, under command of General Bartlett, which was in reserve was sent, via the J. Boisseau house, to connect with the cavalry, which appeared to be engaged some miles distant in the direction of Dinwiddie Court-House. The brigade moved some three miles, when it struck a picket-line of the enemy’s some skirmishing occurred, but darkness coming on almost immediately further operations were prevented. This brigade remained in this position until about midnight, when it returned to the vicinity of the line occupied by the First and Second Brigades, in compliance with an order received about 10.30 p m. for the division to withdraw and move down the plank road to Dinwiddie Court-House and report to General Sheridan. Owing to the difficulty of communication and the time occupied in getting this brigade back, the order was changed, and the Second Division, under General Ayres, directed to report to General Sheridan. About 5 a. m., on the morning of April 1 an order was received through a staff officer to move the First Division with all possible dispatch, via the J. Boisseau house, and report to General Sheridan, and this order was immediately executed, the First and Second Brigades being relieved by the Second Corps, the command arriving on the White Oak road about 7 a. m., where it remained until 2 p. m.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
Colonel GEORGE D. RUGGLES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.
*See p. 838
- 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. 845-847 ↩