No. 81. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Doolittle, One hundred and eighty-eighth New York Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS 188TH NEW YORK STATE VOLUNTEERS,
Camp near Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 14, 1865.
CAPTAIN: In obedience to circular dated headquarters First Division, Fifth Army Corps, April 13, 1865, calling for a report of the part taken by the several commands in the recent engagements, I beg leave to submit the following:
March 29, broke camp near Hatcher’s Run at 5 a. m.; marched on the Halifax road about eight miles; crossed a small creek, and formed line of battle on the Lewis farm at about 2 p. m.; advanced nearly a mile through woods and underbrush; halted with our right resting near the open field where the batteries were planted. Received an order from General Gregory to report to General Chamberlain with my command. Moved by the right flank until the two right companies had gained the open field, when, seeing a line of battle advancing on my right, without waiting for orders I formed connection with them and advanced on the double-quick; charged the enemy, who were using certain piles of sawdust as breast-works. The enemy made but feeble resistance and retreated, leaving their killed, wounded, and a few prisoners in our hands. As the remainder of the line advanced no farther we halted here. Here I received an order from a division staff officer to form on the extreme right of the corps. Having taken up the position and thrown forward two companies as skirmishers I reported to General Chamberlain and was ordered to remain where I was until further orders. Just before dark we advanced through the woods nearly half a mile and halted for the night. March 30, was ordered to return to the Second Brigade at 8 a. m. In the afternoon we moved to the support of the Third Brigade, and were under artillery fire some two hours, but were not engaged; moved back about half a mile; went into camp for the night. March 31, about 8 a. m. we moved down the Boydton plank road; took a position near a winter camp vacated by the enemy. Shortly afterward we moved to the support of Mink’s battery; formed on his right; threw forward two companies as skirmishers; were withdrawn from this position about 3 p. m.; marched to a field near Gravelly Run, where we charged and captured the enemy’s skirmish line while under heavy artillery fire. During the night we threw up strong works and made heavy slashing in front.
April 1, moved out of the works about 7 a. m.; moved about four miles to the left; formed a junction with General Sheridan, advancing through the woods and swamps about one mile and a half, receiving an oblique fire from the left. I was ordered to charge across the open field and drive the enemy from his position in the edge of the woods, nearly three-quarters of a mile in our advance. Changing direction by the left we advanced on the double-quick across the field; discovered a line of works, which we charged and carried, capturing nearly 400 prisoners; resting here a moment, receiving a heavy cross-fire from our right, we changed direction by the right and advanced up the road, capturing prisoners at every step. The firing in front ceasing and receiving a fire from the right oblique, we changed direction to the right, charged, and captured a four-gun battery posted on the road which intersected the road on which the works were built at nearly a right angle. After advancing beyond this battery a short distance we were
joined by fragments of several regiments, and advanced nearly three-quarters of a mile on a line with the Third Division. Remaining in this position till dark we were withdrawn to the works near the captured battery and bivouacked for the night. April 2, moved from the works about 2 p. m.; crossed the South Side Railroad near Ford’s Station; marched up the road and camped near Sutherland’s Station. April 3, marched about fifteen miles in a westerly direction. April 4, marched at 6 a. m. in a westerly direction, through Mannborough and Old Court-House; struck the Danville railroad about 7 p. m. near Jetersville Station; worked all night throwing up entrenchments. April 5, remained in the works all day. April 6, marched about 8 a. m., crossed Flat Creek, and passed through Paineville. April 7, moved at 7 a. m.; passed in sight of High Bridge and Farmville; camped about 9 p. m. at Prince Edward Court-House. April 8, started at 6.30; passed Hampden-Sidney College, through Charlotte, Prospect Station, and camped near Evergreen about midnight. April 9, marched to Appomattox Station, formed line of battle, and were advancing on the enemy when a flag of truce was received from the enemy, when all operations ceased. Bivouacked for the night near Appomattox Station.
While with scarcely any exception both officers and men performed their duties faithfully, I cannot forbear to especially mention the following officers and enlisted men for exceeding coolness and gallantry under heavy fire: Captain James T. Reilly, First Lieutenant John Marks, Second Lieutenant Edward Martin, Second Lieutenant Patrick Sweeney, Color-Sergt. Willis Sager, Sergt. A. J. Radle, and Sergt. Daniel Sliker.
I am, captain, very respectfully, yours, & c.,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Captain H. G. DENNISTON,
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. 858-859 ↩