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OR XLVI P1 #146: Reports of Colonel Matthew R. McClennan, 138th PA, April 2-9, 1865

No. 146. Reports of Colonel Matthew R. McClennan, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry.1

April 2, 1865.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that my command, consisting of 12 commissioned officers and about 300 enlisted men, reported to headquarters Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Corps, about midnight 1st instant, in compliance with orders received from the brigade commander, and after some delay was formed as a part of a third line of battle, preparatory to an assault upon the enemy’s works. The One hundred

and twenty-second Ohio Volunteers joined me on the right and the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers on the left. The lines were established under fire of the enemy’s pickets, but it was accomplished without much difficulty. At 4 a.m., at a given signal, the lines advanced in proper order, and under a sharp musketry and enfilading artillery fire, to the works. The difficulties encountered, in the shape of tangled underbrush and marshy ditches, caused some confusion, but the body of the third line came otherwise promptly forward and the colors of the several regiments were in the rebel camps almost simultaneously. After crossing the works the organization of the brigade appeared to dissolve, and bodies of men moved in all directions in pursuit of the flying enemy. My command advanced in a northwesterly direction some two miles, but, after a temporary stay, I marched the regiment back to near where the rebel line was first broken, and where I found the brigade becoming reorganized. My regiment participated in the charge upon at that time. A few prisoners were brought in by men of this regiment, but I cannot report the number, not having received it.

Two men of Company F, this regiment, penetrated the country as far as the South Side Railroad and tore up two rails of the track. Upon their return from this work they encountered two rebel officers, who demanded their surrender. Corpl. John W. Mauk, one of the men referred to, immediately shot one of the officers, and Private Daniel Wolford, Company F, discharged his musket at the other, but missed, and the rebel escaped. The men the came to the regiment and reported the affair to me. It is supposed that the officer shot by Corporal Mauk was the rebel general A. P. Hill. I have the honor to commend both these men for their bravery and daring, and to ask that they be suitably rewarded.

The general conduct of the officers and men was very creditable, but, other than those above mentioned, I have none to specially recommend for promotion or other reward.

Captain James B. Heebner, Company A, received a severe wound in the charge upon the fort last assaulted, and behaved well. Lieutenant J. P. Iredell, Company K, acting adjutant, received a wound early in the engagement while aiding in forming the lines, and was compelled to leave the field.

The regiment participated in the movements of the brigade during the day, and was not further engaged.

I am pleased to report my casualties as very slight, considering the heat of the engagement; they were as follows: Wounded, 2 officers and 14 enlisted men; total, 16.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Captain W. L. SHAW,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

April 16, 1865.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of operations since 2nd instant:

On the 3rd instant this regiment marched from the vicinity of Petersburg, Va., with the Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Corps,

and started in pursuit of the retreating enemy to a point near Appomattox Court-House, Va., where, on the 9th instant, the remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia was compelled to surrender to our victorious forces. Nothing special occurred during this campaign other than the usual privations and hardships which invariably follow and attend forced and rapid marching, excepting the engagement at Sailor’s Creek, April 6, in which this regiment acted a prominent part. There it formed a part of the first line of battle at the opening of the engagement, and, with the Sixth Maryland Volunteers on its left, drove the enemy to and finally across the creek and swamp known as Sailor’s Creek. The very hard marching of the day from Amelia Court-House had caused considerable straggling, and not more than one-half or two-thirds of the command reached the field in time to participate in the battle. After sharing the first of the engagement I was ordered to cross the swamp, which was only accomplished with great difficulty, and soon became sharply engaged. The result of the engagement is fully known; therefore I need not discuss it.

My loss was 3 killed and 7 wounded, a very few slight injuries not being included.

The conduct of the regiment, I think, was good.

I have forwarded a complete list of casualties to your office.

After the glorious event of the 9th instant my command marched with the brigade to Burkeville, Va., where it arrived on the 13th instant. Nothing worthy of note occurred during that trip.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

[Captain W. L. SHAW,
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. 1007-1009
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