No. 126. Report of Major James McGregor, One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS 139TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
April 16, 1865
SIR: Agreeably to orders I have the honor to forward the following report of the part taken by the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers during the operations against Petersburg on the morning and during the day of April 2, 1865:
About 9 o’clock April 1 orders were received from brigade headquarters to have the regiment in readiness to move at 12 o’clock that night. At [that] hour orders were received to move out on the parade ground, and soon afterward the regiment, with the brigade, moved to the left and near Fort Welch, where arms were stacked and knapsacks were unsung and piled up and left in charge of a small guard. The regiment was then moved outside the works and massed with he brigade, preparatory to the assault which was to be made upon the enemy’s works at 4 o’clock that morning, the One hundred and thirty-ninth Regiment being in the second line, the first line being held by the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers. At the signal gun the One hundred and second advanced to the assault, and after it had advanced about 75 to 100 paces, the One hundred and thirty-ninth was put in motion and soon reached the main body of the One hundred and second, which appeared to be in some confusion, although it did not appear that they had been repulsed. Perceiving the situation, and fearing that the One hundred and thirty-ninth would become so mixed
up in the confusion that it would be impossible to preserve its organization, I ordered the color-sergeants forward with the colors and pushed on over the first works of the enemy and up to the abatis immediately in front of their main works, and finding that the abatis did not present the impediment that was anticipated, in fact, it did not require any more time to go through than it did to cross their first works, the colors, closely followed by those of the regiment who had not been lost in the confusion soon gained the enemy’s main works, behind which were discovered many rebels, who appeared only too glad of the opportunity of going to our lines. I may here state that there was scarcely a shot fired by the enemy after the regiment had reached the abatis. A short halt was made on the enemy’s works for the purpose of permitting the prisoners to pass over the works, and as soon as all were over the regiment moved forward through their camp, and proceeded about half a mile, where the regiment was halted and, according to orders, skirmishers were thrown out a distance of 400 or 500 yards, but were not permitted to remain long, as the First Division of the Sixth Corps coming on the right, they pushed on and ahead of the skirmishers line. I then called in the skirmishers and advanced the regiment to the edge of the woods and sent out vedettes, and remained in that position until the brigade advanced in line for a considerable and then moved by the left flank toward Hatcher’s Run, where a short halt was made, and then the regiment, with the brigade, moved in the direction of Petersburg, and were for awhile considerably annoyed by the enemy’s batteries; but I am happy to state that no loss was sustained in the regiment until the attack was made upon the batteries near the white house, where they received about as heavy a fire as ever the regiment was under from artillery. Nearly all the loss sustained by the regiment was at this time. The regiment, with the brigade, afterward advanced, and as there did not appear to be any connection on the right, orders were received to fall back, which was done. The regiment was not engaged at any time during the day, but were permitted to enjoy that rest which they so much needed.
I can say without boasting that the colors of the One hundred and thirty-ninth Regiment were the first of the division upon the main works of the enemy; at least no colors were to be seen for a considerable distance on either the right or the left of the colors of the One hundred and thirty-ninth.
I add the above remarks in justice to the two color-sergeants of the One hundred and thirty-ninth, both of whom were wounded that day.
I am deeply indebted to the following-named officers of the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers for their assistance during that day; Captain J. C. Sample, who was wounded late in the day; Captain Samuel Crawford, Lieutenant Black, acting adjutant; Lieutenant Bartley, Lieutenant Boggs, Lieutenant Schwimle, and also Captain Williams, who, although not for duty, acted with the regiment during the early part of the day.
Hoping that the above will prove acceptable, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
Major, Commanding Regiment during operations of April 2.
Captain E. A. TODD,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
- 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. 965-966 ↩