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OR XLVI P1 #82: Report of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph G. Townsend, 189th NY, April 1-5, 1865

No. 82. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph G. Townsend, One hundred and eighty-ninth New York Infantry.1

April 13, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders from headquarters Second Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps, relative to the operations of my command from the morning of the 1st of April to the night of the 5th of the same month, I have the honor to submit the following report, viz:

On the morning of April 1, 1865, my command occupied the breast-works which we had constructed the preceding night, and at 6 a. m. received orders to march, my command having the right of the brigade. We marched about three miles in the direction of Dinwiddie Court-House, where we halted and stacked arms; here we remained in line until 3 p. m., when we advanced about one mile and again formed in line of battle. I received orders to deploy my regiment as skirmishers, connecting with the Third Brigade on my left and the One hundred and eighty-seventh New York Volunteers on my right. I deployed three companies on the front skirmish line, under command of Major Withey, and

two companies on the right of the One hundred and eighth-seventh New York Volunteers, that regiment covering our right flank; the remaining five companies I held in reserve. At the order to advance the skirmish line advanced rapidly, keeping up a connection with the left until broken by a large force of General Sheridan’s cavalry. It being impossible to reconnect the line I reported to Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Myers, commanding One hundred and eighty-seventh New York Volunteers, who reassembled the line, and under his command I rejoined the brigade on the White Oak road about 6.30 p. m.

On Sunday, April 2, 1865, I received orders to march and fell in on the left of the brigade. After marching a short distance we struck the South Side Railroad, and I received orders to report to General Chamberlain with my command, and by him was assigned to the right of his rear line of battle, of which I was placed in command. I advanced in line of battle about half a mile, when the brigade was relieved by cavalry and we resumed our line of march, which we continued until night, and bivouacked for the night. Monday, April 3, 1865, about 9 a. m. we resumed our line of march, my command in the center of brigade; we marched about twelve miles and camped for the night about 7 p. m. April 4, resumed our line of march about 7 a. m., my command on the right of brigade; passed through Dennisville and crossed the Danville railroad about 7 p. m. Here I received orders from General Bartlett to throw up breast-works as soon as possible in front of my regiment. We were busily engaged on the same until 12 o’clock that night, when I gave my men permission to lie upon their arms near the works until called. April 5, strengthened our works and remained behind them during the day and until the next morning.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Captain H. G. DENNISTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


  1. 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. 859-860
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