No. 172. Report of Colonel Alfred B. McCalmont, Two hundred and eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade.1
HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., THIRD DIV., NINTH ARMY CORPS,
April 11, 1865.
MAJOR: I have the honor herewith respectfully to transmit the report of Lieutenant Colonel W. H.. H. McCall, Two hundredth Pennsylvania
Volunteers, who commanded this brigade on Sunday, April 2, during the attack on the enemy’s works before Petersburg and in front of Fort Sedgwick together with the reports of the respective regimental commanders,of the respective regimental commanders, of the operations on that day and on the morning of Monday, 3rd:
I reported for duty at headquarters Third Division late on the evening of the 2nd, on the expiration of my leave of absence. By order of General Hartranft, on the morning of the 3rd, at 3 o’clock, I assumed command of this brigade and put the men under arms. Although many circumstances, such as the burning of buildings in Petersburg, the cessation of picket-firing, and the occurrence of explosion toward morning rendered it probable that the enemy were evacuating the city, the matter was by no means reduced to certainty when our lines were formed before daylight for a charge on the main line of works. In compliance with orders from General Hartranft at the first signs of daylight the brigade advanced in column of regiments. A line of skirmishers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Heintzelman, Two hundred and eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Lieutenant Colonel L. A. Dodd, Two hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, preceded the column a few roads. The command advanced steadily and in good order, notwithstanding the darkness, the difficult nature of the ground, and the uncertainty whether a volley from the enemy or the fire of a battery might not at any moment greet the head of the column. On reaching the highest ground it became evident that evacuation had been accomplished. The command moved forward and occupied the city. On arriving at its central portion I observed a few men of the First Division, who had reached that point before us. Shortly afterward, at the court-house, I saw Lieutenant-Colonel Ely, to whom the formal surrender of the city had been already made. I am satisfied, however, that this brigade was the first which entered the limits of the city in a body.
Finding no convenient place to quarter my command I returned with it to the outskirts and from thence to our old camps, north of the Avery house. On going back a considerable number of prisoners were captured. These men bad been concealed, as we crossed the works, by the darkness and by the windings of the fortifications. The whole number was about 100. A great many tents and some heavy pieces of artillery had been left by the enemy in the works over which we passed but we left them in charge of the troops that had not participated in the advance.
On returning to camp the brigade was put in preparation for marching, and during the afternoon of the same day moved through Petersburg, out the Burkeville road, in rear of the trains of the army.
I respectfully refer you to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel McCall who command the brigade on Sunday and the reports of the regimental commanders for the detailed of operations during that day.
The list of casualties has been already furnished.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. McCALMONT,
Colonel 208th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.
Major JOHN D. BERTOLETTE,
Asst. Adjt. General Third Division, Ninth 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. 1066-1067 ↩