No. 138. Report of Lieutenant Colonel George B. Damon, Tenth Vermont Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS TENTH VERMONT INFANTRY,
Camp near Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 10, 1865.
MAJOR: In obedience to orders received to-day, I have the honor to forward the following report of the recent operations of my command:
At midnight on the 1st instant this regiment was moved with the brigade from camp, and was formed to attack the rebel works. The regiment occupied the right of the first line, having two lines in the rear, the brigade being formed in the immediate rear of our picket-line and in front of Fort Welch. While lying upon this ground a severe fire was received from the picket of the enemy, which caused several casualties.
At 4 a.m. of the 2nd instant we advanced to assault, crossing the rebel picket-line, and the uneven ground beyond to the abatis before the rebel entrenchments. The regiment moved rapidly but with steadiness under fire of artillery and musketry. The line was necessarily considerably broken in penetrating the abatis, and a portion of it became wholly disconnected from the command and was not recovered until near the close of the morning’s operations. We immediately mounted and entered the works over the most accessible passages, being the first to enter the entrenchments on our own front, and taking a number of prisoners, who were sent to the rear without guard, because I thought it imprudent to spare any men for that pur-
pose, as there was then no other organization, within the works on either flank or in front at the immediate point where my command entered. My command was now reformed in line of battle, and presently receiving orders through Major Day to that effect moved rapidly to the left by the flank upon a work of the enemy in that direction mounting guns, receiving artillery and musketry fire. The work was the third from that near which we entered the entrenchments. While we were advancing in this direction the work referred to was taken by some of our troops, but before we reached it they were driven from it by the enemy’s musketry. We reached the fort and formed line of battle with what remained of my command in the rear of it, and partially covered by cabins there, among which were parties from the various regiments of the brigade. The enemy was well sheltered by the inequalities of the ground in front of us and by other cover, and delivered a most galling fire. The fire was returned when and where it could be done with effect, and this position was held for some twenty minutes by my command and other troops of the brigade, when, as no support had arrived, I thought it my duty to retire. We all retreated to the second redoubt, the enemy closely following and firing sharply and using the guns of the works on reaching it. Here the greater part of the division collected, and after remaining nearly an hour, perhaps, the brigade was reformed in line, of which my command was the right battalion. We now readvanced without serious opposition, and the enemy soon disappeared. We continued moving to the left until connection was made with the Twenty-fourth Corps. My command was not further actively engaged, but at about 10 a.m. moved to the right along the rebel works with other troops, and in the course of the day was placed in position on the right of the brigade, my right resting on the Vaughan road, and built earth-works.
On the morning of the 3rd instant, the enemy having evacuated or been driven out of his works, we marched in pursuit, crossing the Danville railroad near Jetersville. On the afternoon of the 6th instant, the enemy being overtaken at Sailor’s Creek and brought to a stand my command, in the first disposition for attack was the rear subdivision of the column formed by the brigade, and so advanced to the ground occupied by the artillery of the division during the action. After lying here for a short time, a new disposition being made, my command was assigned to the right of the second and rear line of battle, and the brigade advancing to the right and front to attack, my battalion moved over very difficult ground with as much steadiness and order as the nature of the country admitted, crossing the creek in mud and water hip deep. n rising the hill opposite, this admirable movement being discovered by the enemy he retreated, and the day concluded without casualty in my command.
While I cannot speak in too high praise of the conduct of both officers and men, I desire to mention, as deserving of especial consideration, Major Wyllys Lyman, for most efficient services on the 2nd and 6th instant, particularly on the 2nd instant, when he was among the first to enter the enemy’s works with the color bearer of the regiment, and throughout the day used every exertion to keep up the organization of the regiment and to lead the men forward to their duty; Adjt. James M. Read, who not only discharged his own special duties with the utmost skill on the 2nd instant, but contributed materially to the success of the day by fighting with great gallantry and courage until he fell at the extreme front from a very severe wound, which resulted in the loss of his right leg; Corpl. Ira F. Varney, Company K, color-
A tabular statement of casualties on the 2nd instant is appended.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE B. DAMON,
Bvt. Major C. H. LEONARD,
*Shows 2 enlisted men killed and 2 officers and 44 enlisted men wounded.
- 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. 990-992 ↩