No. 123. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General James M. Warner, First Vermont Heavy Artillery, commanding First Brigade.1
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS,
April 16, 1865.
COLONEL: I have he honor to submit the following report of operations of my command from the 2nd to the 13th instant, inclusive;
The brigade broke camp about 12.30 a.m. on the 2nd, leaving the Sixty-second New York Veteran Volunteers as garrison to Forts Keene
and Tracy, and went into position just in rear of the old Third Division picket-line near Fort Welch. The movement was executed under fire of the enemy’s pickets, occasioning, however, but one or two casualties. The brigade was formed in column of regiments on the right of the Third Brigade in the following order; The One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers constituted the first line, the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers the second, the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers formed the third and fourth lines, and the Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers the fifth. A detachment of axmen accomplished the first line to make gaps in the abatis. At the signal from Fort Fisher the lines moved successively, having an interval of about 100 yards between regiments. The column of attack was not discovered by the enemy’s pickets until their pits were nearly gained. The intervening space to their main works, owing to the darkness, the uneven and swampy character of the ground, and the artillery fire, was passed over in great confusion. A few resolute men of each brigade of the division effected a lodgment and drove the enemy from their works. In this connection especial mention is due the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers and the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Without much organization fragments of all commands pushed on toward the South Side road, and were with great difficulty stopped and reformed about a mile from the works. A short time sufficed to unravel and reorganize commands, when the division was moved, by Major-General Getty, in the direction of Hatcher’s Run, capturing guns, wagons, and many prisoners, and dispersing the already disorganized enemy, meeting with scarcely any opposition. About 9 a.m. the command was countermarched and moved rapidly toward Petersburg. Here for the first time since penetrating the enemy’s works, we encountered an organized force. As soon as the division could be formed it was advanced toward the town, my brigade occupying the center.
A force of the enemy and a battery was seen moving down the Cox road, and for a few moments enfiladed us. The battery was successively driven from position to position but finally rested at Lee’s headquarters, about two miles from the city. Here it was fought with desperation, our troops advancing upon it under a murderous canister fire. The division was at this time far in advance of any other troops, and before charging halted for an instant from sheer exhaustion, under a protecting crest within easy canister range. Advantage was taken of this momentary delay to kill the battery horses, which was so effectually done as to render it impossible to remove a single gun. This was the last point disputed beyond the inner line of the works about Petersburg.
Guns, wagons, prisoners, and one battle-flag attest the good conduct of the brigade.
My command participated in the subsequent movements of the division; at Sailor’s Creek was in advance of the division, and formed in support to our batteries in time to witness the enemy’s charge, but did not participate in the engagement.
A complete list of casualties as well as a report of officers and men who particularly distinguished themselves, has already been transmitted.
J. M. WARNER,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
Bvt. Colonel CHARLES MUNDEE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Division, Sixth Corps.
- 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. 962-963 ↩