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OR XLVI P1 #95: Report of Bvt. Colonel Joseph B. Pattee, 190th PA, commanding 157th, 190th, 191st PA, April 9, 1865

No. 95. Report of Bvt. Colonel Joseph B. Pattee, One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding One hundred and fifty-seventh, One hundred and ninetieth, and One hundred and ninety-first Pennsylvania Infantry.1

April 14, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the proceedings of my command on the 9th instant:

After having crossed the Petersburg and Lynchburg Railroad a short distance, proceeding toward the scene of action indicated by the firing in advance, I received orders to detach my command – consisting of the One hundred and ninetieth, One hundred and ninety-first, and One hundred and fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiments – from the marching column and hasten with it to the front. On arriving there I was directed by Brevet Major-General Ayres, commanding the division, to deploy my command as skirmishers in front of the division and push forward at once, connecting my right with the skirmish line of the First Division (General Bartlett) and my left with the troops of Major-General Ord. My line was at once formed and pushed forward through the timber into the open field beyond. I now extended the intervals of my line to the right while advancing, in order to connect with the First Division; but after extending across the entire front of that division I found no line had yet been thrown out with which I might form a junction. Leaving this portion of my line with orders to push for

ward, I proceeded to the left and found my line connecting with a few colored troops who were being withdrawn. From this time I pushed forward without any connection on my right or left and without any assistance except from a few gallant cavalrymen interspersed among my skirmishers, driving the enemy from the next belt of timber. On emerging into the open field again the enemy’s artillery was seen in position, firing rapidly from the Lynchburg road, occupying the crest of a bold ridge flanked by timber and crowded with masses of his infantry apparently in confusion. After driving the enemy from and passing beyond the Trent and — houses and over the creek and ravine beyond, a distance of about one mile from the point of starting, a line of skirmishers from the First Division came forward in my rear, overtaking and mingling with my right a few moments before the firing ceased. Pending this movement the left wing of my line had swung forward through the wood on my left, running up to the Lynchburg road, flanking the enemy’s artillery on their right, causing it to be withdrawn in great haste. My men got within fifty yards of the section near the wood alluded to and succeeded in capturing one caisson. At 10 a. m. my line swept over the ridge in front of the village, driving the enemy before them, and when about entering the town a flag of truce came forward and passed through my line. The enemy still maintained a fire, however, from the cover of the houses, killing a cavalryman; whereupon some twenty of my men, among whom were four or five from the First Division, entered the town and drove the enemy beyond it and sending some twenty prisoners to the rear, who, passing through the line of the First Division, were, I understand, claimed by them. All firing ceased a few minutes past 10 o’clock and the advance skirmishers were withdrawn.

I beg leave here to commend what few officers I have with my command for their gallantry, and especially Captain R. M. Birkman, One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was the first officer to enter the village, which he did to stop the firing of the enemy from the cover of the houses and restrain and withdraw the advance skirmishers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Bvt. Colonel, Commanding 190th, 191st, and 157th Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Bvt. Major W. W. SWAN,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Fifth Army Corps.


  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. 877-878
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