No. 176. Report of Captain Adelbert B. Twitchell, Seventh Battery Maine Light Artillery.1
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTH MAINE BATTERY,
Farmville, Va., April 12, 1865.
Report of operations of the Seventh Maine Battery, Artillery Brigade, Ninth Army Corps, from March 30 to April 12, 1865:
March 30, 1865, four of my guns were in position at Fort Sedgwick and two at Battery 21. Nothing unusual occurred at that point until evening of April 1. At 10 p. m. I received orders to open immediately and fired all my guns rapidly. For an hour, from 11 o’clock until 12m., fired slowly, one gun in five minutes. About fifty mortar shells were thrown in and about the fort the early part of the evening wounding some three of the infantry soldiers. At 4 a. m., April 2, at the signal from Fort Avery, all my guns opened, firing rapidly for fifteen minutes. Ceased firing for a time as the infantry was gathering for the charge in our front. the rebel line was carried just before the break of day. The enemy threw shell and canister quite rapidly for a few moments, but gave too high elevation, as nearly all the missiles passed over our works.
A little after light I received a request from Colonel Harriman, commanding a brigade of the First Division, to send cannoneers to the line in front of Battery 21 to work the captured guns. Lieutenant Staples immediately volunteered, as also did all the men of his section (in Battery 21) and one detachment of men from Battery D, Pennsylvania Artillery.
Lieutenant Staples, with the three detachments, went over to the captured guns and assisted in getting them in position but returned in about an hour and a half, as plenty of men were found to work the guns, nearly 100 having come over from our batteries in park and those guns stationed in the rear line. Frequent calls being made for ammunition I sent Private Frank S. Watde to the line occupied to ascertain the number and caliber of the captured guns. He reported eight in working order.
six light 12-pounders and two 3-inch. Details of men were furnished me from the infantry stationed in Fort Sedgwick, and I sent over to the front line all the ammunition needed, the men taking the ammunition up the Jerusalem plank road and delivering it to Captain Ritchie, Battery C, First New York, who distributed it along the line. After the line was taken and it was light enough to see my guns were trained and opened upon the forts and redoubts in rear of the main rebel line, and I kept up almost a constant fire the entire day.
From Fort Sedgwick we observed two or three charges by the rebels during the day, and my guns sent shell, and case-shot into their ranks with effect. About 8 a. m. I ordered that one 3-inch Parrott gun of Battery D, Pennsylvania Artillery, be taken from Battery 21 and placed on the left flank of my guns in Sedgwick, which, in connection with the left gun of my battery, could cover the left flank of Curtin’s brigade, Potter’s division.
These guns were well served and did good service during the day in checking the rebels, constantly threatening the left flank. My men worked without intermission during the entire day of April 2 in serving their guns and in receiving and sending ammunition to the line occupied by our troops.
Lieutenants Bundy and Thorp both volunteered to go over with their men to work the captured guns, but i was satisfied that a sufficient number of artillerymen had been sent over to work all the guns, and it was necessary to keep that point on our lines well manned. Besides, 1 believed my guns were doing good service in Sedgwick and Battery 21.
Though several officers and numbers of men were wounded in Sedgwick during the day I am happy to state that no casualties occurred in my command.
As near as I can judge I expended about 1,000 rounds of ammunition during the night of April 1 and the day of April 2. I cannot tell how many rounds were sent over to the front line. Monday, April 3, broke camp about noon and marched through Petersburg, via Fort Sedgwick (Fort Hell), on the Jerusalem plank road; marched about ten miles beyond Petersburg and went into camp about midnight. Starting at 8 a. m. Tuesday, the 4th, marched about five miles and halted until 4.30 p. m. and encamped not far from Saw-Mill Station; marched about fifteen miles. Wednesday, the 5th, between the hours of 10 a. m. and 9 p. m., marched about twenty-two miles, crossing the railroad frequently, and encamped for the night at Wellville Station. Thursday, 6th, left park about 6.30 a. m., and marched all day and until 10 p. m., when we arrived at Burkeville and went into part, having marched about twenty miles. On our way passed through the village of Nottoway Court House, eight miles from Burkeville. Friday, 7th, moved our park about one-half mile where we remained until Sunday, 9th, when, at 2.30 p. m., we started on the road to Farmville, marched about twelve miles and parked for the night. Monday, the 10th, resumed the march at 7 a. m. and arrived at Farmville at 9 a. m., having marched six miles.
Wednesday, the 5th, I reported with my battery to Brigadier-General Curtin, commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Ninth Army Corps, and have been with the brigade since.
A. B. TWITCHELL,
Captain, Commanding Seventh Maine Battery.
- 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. 1076-1077 ↩