No. 171. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. H. McCall, Two hundredth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade.1
HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., THIRD DIV., NINTH ARMY CORPS,
April 10, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to offer the following report of this brigade, during the action of April 2, 1865, before Petersburg, Va.:
On the morning of April 2 I received orders from Major Bertolette to mass my brigade in the rear of the Avery house at 1 a. m. After remaining there two hours I was ordered to march the brigade to Fort Sedgwick, conducted by Captain Brown, of General Hartranft’s staff, and to form it under cover of the works. At 4 a. m. the Second Brigade advanced. I was then ordered by Captain Brown to move my brigade in at a double-quick; this was done under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry. The brigade moved forward and captured the enemy’s works with 7 pieces of artillery, and about 350 prisoners, with the same number of stand of small-arms and accouterments. I reported to General Hartranft and asked for artillerists; about forty men being furnished, they were conducted to the forts, and after turning the guns opened a lively fire upon the enemy with their own guns. Several furious charges were made by the enemy in which they put forth every effort to retake the works, but were handsomely repulsed in each attempt. The troops of this brigade were under a heavy fire during the entire day, and at the most critical time in the action the troops on my left, which had been sent as a re-enforcement from City Point, broke and ran in confusion.
I cannot refrain here from noticing the gallantry and heroic conduct of the officers of my brigade, who cheered their own men to greater effort, and plead for those frightened on the left to” go back and stand to the works.” I cannot name any particular one of my officers, as they all behaved with deliberate bravery and coolness. As soon as it began to grow dark I received orders from General Hartranft to put at least one-third of my command, on picket, and to move the abatis and chevaux-de-frise (formerly used by the enemy and now in our rear) round so as to front the enemy and protect our works. This was performed under a heavy fire from enemy.
The remainder of the command was ordered to be kept on the alert. The list of casualties in this brigade during the action has been furnished.
At 3 a. m. of the 3rd instant Colonel A. B. McCalmont, of the Two hundred and eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, assumed command of the brigade.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
W. H. H. McCALL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Major JOHN D. BERTOLETTE, A. A. G., 3rd Div., 9th Army 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. 1066 ↩