No. 119. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Elisha H. Rhodes, Second Rhode Island Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS SECOND RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS,
April 15, 1865
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the late operations:
On the morning of the 2nd of April my regiment was formed in the second line, of the brigade, in rear of the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, ready for the assault. When the line advanced I became separated from the main line (which swung either to the right or left), but pushed forward and crossed two lines of abatis in front of a battery of one gun. We soon reached the works and mounted the parapet, driving the enemy from the line through their company streets. First Lieutenant and Actg. Adjt. Frank S. Halliday here stormed a battery of two guns, at the head of a small party, and turned the guns upon the enemy. As soon as my line was formed I changed direction to the left, and moved forward for about half a mile, crossing the plank road, and formed in line of battle, and awaited orders. I was then ordered to report, by the brigade commander, back to the works, which I did. In the subsequent movements of the brigade my regiment was not detached, but participated in them all. My loss this day was, 1 officer wounded, 2 men killed, and 9 men wounded. I claim that my colors were the first to be planted on that part of the line, and were placed on the parapet while the enemy still occupied their line.
In the presence of the enemy nothing of particular interest occurred until the afternoon of the 6th, when we met the enemy near Sailor’s Creek. My regiment was formed as a support to the brigade, but in the advance were posted on the left of the Eighty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers in prolongation of their line. Arriving at the creek we
became exposed to the enemy’s fire, but pushed on through the swamp, which in many places was so deep as to destroy the ammunition of my men. As soon as we were clear of the swamp I reformed my line and sent out skirmishers to develop the enemy’s position. When the brigade advanced my left flank became exposed. I partly protected myself by refusing the left wing. We pressed the enemy back too the woods in our front, and when within a distance of about thirty yards received a charge of the enemy, both in front and on my left, which caused my men, after a time, to retire in some confusion. Every effort was made to rally them without crossing the swamp. My U. S. flag was captured, but quickly retaken. Captain Gleason and Lieutenant Perry were here killed while gallantly urging their men on. At this point my regiment was somewhat scattered, but joined the brigade in the new assault which resulted so gloriously. At night we bivouacked on the field with the brigade.
For the first time under fire, I expected great difficulty with my new troops, but I cannot speak too highly of their conduct. My officers, without one exception, behaved splendidly.
My loss this day was, 2 officers killed and 4 wounded, 2 enlisted men killed and 38 wounded. My total loss in officers and men during the campaign was 58 killed and wounded. Several wounded men have since died.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,,
E. H. RHODES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Second Rhode Island Volunteers.
Captain T. G. COLT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.
- 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. 951-952 ↩