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OR XLVI P1 #118: Report of Major William C. Gray, 119th PA, April 1-9, 1865

No. 118. Report of Major William C. Gray, One hundred and nineteenth Pennsylvania Infantry.1

Near Burkeville Station, Va., April 16, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In conformity with circular from headquarters Third Brigade, April 15, 1865, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this command in the late campaign:

Broke camp on the evening of April 1; marched to Fort Fisher; formed on the right of second line, on the left of the fort, and at 4 a. m. on the 2nd charged the enemy’s works; after gaining possession of them a portion of the command formed a line facing to the right. The enemy at this time occupied the forts and batteries on the right, and were shelling the First and Second Brigades vigorously. With that portion of the command that had been previously faced to the right the forts and batteries were charged and captured-in all, seven pieces of artillery and a large number of prisoners. After holding he captured works for an hour and a half our ammunition gave out. The command was ordered to rejoin the brigade; returned to division headquarters, when I was ordered to report to General Hamblin, commanding Second Brigade, the Third Brigade being at that time on the extreme left of the line; rejoined the brigade on this return from the left, marched to the right, formed line on the left of Second Division; advanced in line to near the enemy’s interior works; formed line in a road on the right of the brigade. During this movement the command was exposed to a severe artillery fire. Were relieved at 5 p. m. by troops from the Second Corps; moved to the left, formed on the right of the second line of the brigade, and remained here for the night. At 7 a. m. April 3 took up line of march, following up the enemy; arrived near Amelia Court-House on the evening of April 5; formed on the left of front line of the brigade, supporting the Second Division; moved by left of regiment to the front through the woods and thicket for about an hour; finding no enemy, returned to original camp, and at once followed the enemy; came up with him about 5 p. m.; formed on right of second line; advanced about half a mile; came upon the enemy posted in a strong position on south side of Sailor’s Creek; was done immediately after crossing the creek. I will here state that the water and mud in the creek was waist deep, and the crossing was made under a very severe musketry fire

After reforming the line was advanced and the enemy’s position was charged; the left flank of the command was exposed to a severe flank fire, caused by not having any connection on the left, which caused a temporary panic, which was at once corrected and the line established. After the surrender of General Ewell and his corps we marched with the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers and Eighty-second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers to the Lynchburg road; remained a short time; returned to the division and went into camp. Started next morning at 5 o’clock; were detailed as wagon guard; marched to Farmville and halted for the night. Moved next morning at 6 o’clock; marched to near Buckingham and encamped for the night. Moved at 5 o’clock next morning; came up with the enemy at 11 a.m., and at 5 p.m. received the announcement of the surrender of General Lee and his army. Remained two days, and returned to this place (Burkeville), where we arrived on the 13th instant.

The officers and men of this command have conducted themselves gallantly through this short but hard and decisive campaign.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major, Commanding Regiment.

Captain T. G. COLT,
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. 950-951
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