No. 194. Report of Colonel Charles F. Walcott, Sixty-first Massachusetts Infantry.1
HDQRS. SIXTY-FIRST Regiment MASSACHUSETTS VOL. INFTY., City Point, Va., April 5, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the Sixty-first Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, in obedience to orders received from Brigadier General H. W. Benham, commanding defenses of City Point, Va., moved to the outer defenses and took position in rear of Battery Numbers 3. at 8.15 a. m., April 2, 1865, where they remained until twenty minutes of 10 a. m., when in obedience to orders received from Colonel Tippin, of the Sixty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, temporarily commanding Independent Brigade, they moved to Meade’s Station, arriving there at five minutes to 1 p. m. The regiment was immediately moved to Fort Sedgwick by the order of General C. H. T. Collis, commanding brigade where they remained until 2 p. m., when, in obedience to orders from General Collis, they charged up the Jerusalem plank road, and, turning to the left, gallantly carried a line of rebel breast-works the outer works of the rebel Fort Mahone, which had previously been carried by a brigade of the Third Division, Ninth Army Corps but lost again just before the charge of the regiment. A slow fire was kept up from the rebel second line of works and from behind the works on our left, which was replied to by us till about midnight. At 3.30 p. m. orders were received by me from General Collis to be in readiness to participate with the brigade in an assault on the rebel line to the left which orders were subsequently countermanded by General Collis at about 4.30 p. m. At 2.30 a. m. on the 3rd of April General Collis ordered me to feel the rebel line upon the left by skirmishers supported by the regiment. First Lieutenant Henry W. Howard was placed by me in charge of twenty-five skirmishers and advanced along the rebel line for about 1,500 yards, meeting with no opposition. On the evacuation of the rebel line having been reported to General Collis he immediately took steps toward moving on Petersburg, and soon after 4 a. m. the brigade was in motion; the town was entered at daylight and the regimental colors planted on the court-house; the regiment moved through the city at the double-quick, under the direction of General Collis, in pursuit of the enemy, whose rear guard was leaving as we entered . On reaching Campbell’s bridge it was found to be burning very furiously, evidently having been covered with inflammable materials. In spite of every exertion on the part of General Collis and my officers and men to extinguish the flames, in which attempt some of the men were seriously burned, the bridge fell in about ten minutes after reaching it; a few of my men had passed over. Fortunately, though several of my men were on the bridge at the time of its fall, no lives were lost. At 10. 30 a. m., by command of General Collis, the brigade moved to its former station at City Point, arriving there about 3 p.m.
During the charge on the rebel line the regiment suffered a heavy loss in the death of Second Lieutenant Thomas B. Hart, a most excellent officer. First Lieutenant Benjamin Vaughan was severely wounded in the right shoulder, but refused to leave the field.
The loss of the regiment in enlisted men was 4 killed and 29 wounded.
I have the honor to inclose a corrected list of the casualties in the regiment.*
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. F. WALCOTT,
Colonel, Commanding Sixty-first Massachusetts Vol. Infty.
Captain J. M. SCHOONMAKER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Independent Brigade.
*Embodied in table, p. 590.
- 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. 1095-1096 ↩