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OR XLVI P1 #190: Report of Captain William McClelland, Btty B 1st PA Lt Arty, April 1-3, 1865

No. 190. Report of Captain William McClelland, Battery B, First Pennsylvania Light Artillery.1

NEAR CITY POINT, VA., April 7, 1865.

Report of operations of Battery B, First Pennsylvania Light Artillery, in front of Petersburg, Va., on April 1, 2, and 2, 1865.

First. Position of the battery, &c.: Two sections in Fort Davis in charge of Lieutenants Rice and Pennypacker, and one section in Battery 2, in charge of Captain McClelland; Lieutenant Gardner in charge of caissons, camp, &c., and Lieutenant Gealy on leave of absence.

April 1,10 p. m., I received orders to report in person at Artillery Brigade, Ninth Army Corps headquarters, there receiving orders from General Tidball, chief of artillery Ninth Army Corps, to open fire on the enemy’s works at a give signal, which was given about fifteen minutes subsequently. A moderate fire was kept up for about an hour from the two guns at Battery 22, when orders were received to cease firing until 4 o’clock next morning, at which time firing was resumed from the two guns at Battery No. 22 and three in Fort Davis, which was chiefly directed on Fort Mahone. At about 7 a. m., at the request of a staff officer, whose name I did not learn, I sent Lieutenant Rice with two gun detachments to assist in working the guns in the fort on the Jerusalem plank road, captured by our advance. I left the section at Battery No. 22 in charge of a sergeant and accompanied Lieutenant Rice. On the way between the picket lines one man, Sergeant Swisher, was wounded by a piece of shell. I came back to Fort Sedgwick twice, the first time to hurry up ammunition and the last time to remove a section from Fort Davis to Fort Wright, by order of General Tidball, Lieutenant Pennypacker in charge. A sergeant was placed in charge of the two remaining guns in Fort Davis, firing occasionally on account of the trees between Fort Davis and the works not yet in our possession. In a charge made by the enemy during the afternoon to recapture their lost line Corporal Gilkey was killed whilst sighting one of the pieces and Sergeant Grubb so severely wounded that he died a short time after. A short time after Corporal Summers, while sighting his gun in Fort Wright, was severely wounded by a piece of shell. I make mention of these non-commissioned officers on account of the bravery displayed by them, as well as all the detachments from the several batteries manning the guns, who should receive the credit of holding that portion of the line and preventing its recapture, the infantry support falling back or getting into the ditch in front of the fort.

It affords me great pleasure to report the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Rice. He never for a moment left his post, at times greatly exposing himself in attempting to rally the infantry and their officers.

Major Phillips, Fifth Massachusetts Battery, Captain Ritchie, First New York, and Lieutenant Rice advanced one piece with a prolonged beyond the line and fired several rounds before our lines were advanced.

The next morning (3rd) received orders from General Tidball for the battery to be withdraw and parked.

About 1,200 rounds of ammunition were fired, exclusive of what was fired from the captured guns.

Captain, First Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Commanding Battery B.


  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. 1088-1089
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