No. 229. Report of Captain Edwin Nichols, One hundredth New York Infantry.1
HEADQUARTERS 100TH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
In the Field, April 11, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the brigade commander, the part which the One hundredth New York Volunteers has taken in the recent operations against Petersburg and the rebel army under General Lee, viz:
After dark, on the evening of March 27, 1865, the First Division, Twenty-fourth Army Corps, of which the One hundredth Regiment forms part, broke camp before Richmond, Va., and took up its march to the southward. That night we crossed the James River, and rested for an hour or so on the hill in rear of Jones’ Landing, until our wagon train came up, when we again resumed our march, and at daybreak
crossed the Appomattox on the pontoon at Broadway Landing and marched till about noon, when we were halted and an opportunity given to the men to make coffee; this accomplished, we started again and marched until dark, when we were halted for the night near Hathcer’s Run. At 6 o’clock the next morning, March 29, we were again on the march; passing down our front line of march to the extreme left we relieved the Second Corps, which was removed to a position outside the works and still farther to the left. During this march, which was a very severe one, there were but six men left the ranks, and three of these were excused by the surgeon. Arriving at our destination the regiment was immediately ordered on picket to relieve the picket of the Second Corps.
During the day and night of the 29th everything was quiet on our front, but heavy cannonading and musketry was heard on the left. On the morning of the 30th of March the pickets were relieved by a new detail. At noon of this day the regiment was ordered out under arms; we advanced across Hatcher’s Run and held a position at a point to the left of the old Chimneys, where General Foster established his headquarters. About 5 o’clock of this day an advance was ordered along our whole division front for the purpose of establishing a new line; this was handsomely accomplished by our pickets, who drove the enemy into their rifle-pits, with a small loss. The One hundredth Regiment lost in this affair 1 officer and 5 men wounded. We held the ground gained during the night in this assault, and at 9 o’clock the next morning, March 31, the picket-line, which had been strengthened be a detachment of sharpshooters armed with Spencer rifles, was again ordered to advance and drive the enemy from their pits into their main line of works. This was accomplished with small loss on our part. We drove the enemy from their pits into their main line of works, and held the position gained. We captured on the line in front of the One hundredth Regiment about thirty prisoners, without the loss of a single man of this regiment.
At 4 o’clock of the morning of the 1st of April the enemy made an attempt to recover their lost ground. They attacked our picket-line, but were handsomely repulsed. The men of the One hundredth New York Volunteers held their ground and fought nobly. In passing down the line I was taken prisoner at a point where the enemy had succeeded in breaking through, but afterward escaped and returned to the picket-line, when I ordered the two posts on the left of the One hundredth to swing back in order to prevent the enemy from flanking the brigade on our right. These two posts, together with the whole line, were afterward retaken and held.
We captured on the line held by the one hundredth 8 prisoners, and wounded 2 or 3 others. Great praise is due to Captain Edward L. Cook, commanding the pickets of the One hundredth Regiment, for the courage and coolness exhibited by him on this occasion, reserving his fire and concealing his position until the enemy were close upon him, when he poured such a volley into them that drove them back in considerable disorder.
On the night of the 1st of April we were employed in placing a strong abatis in front of our position and in rear of our picket-line, from the right of the Tenth Connecticut to the open field on our right.
On the morning of the 2nd of April we left our position at Hatcher’s Run and marched to the front of Petersburg; a considerable part of this march was accomplished at a double-quick. Arriving at our designated position we were ordered to make an assault upon a strong work known
as Fort Gregg. About 12 o’clock we pushed forward steadily, under a heavy fire of cannon and musketry, until arriving within a few hundred yards of the fort, when we reformed the regiment and advanced at a double-quick, led by our brave major, Dandy, who by his heroic example had succeeded in animating the men with a more than ordinary degree of fearlessness; before a terrible fire of musketry and canister we pressed on in advance and planted the first stars and stripes on the ramparts of the fort. Major Dandy led us to the fort, but arriving there he was instantly killed while attempting to pass to the rear of the fort in search of an entrance to the fort. Our loss in this charge was as follows, vi: Killed, 1 officer, 11 men; wounded, 1 officer, 40 men.
On the 3rd of April we started from Petersburg and marched in a direction parallel with the South Side Railroad, halting and bivouacking about 5 o’clock in the evening. We started at 8 o’clock in the morning and marched in a direction similar to that of the previous day, and halted at 6 p. m. near the South Side Railroad. 5th, started at 7 o’clock, marched till 11 o’clock and camped near Burkeville Junction. The marching this day was very severe in its nature, both as regards the weather and the distance. 6th, we were detached as guard to the corps wagon train, and from this stage until joining the brigade on the evening of the 9th instant nothing of interest occurred.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, 100th New York Volunteers, Commanding Regiment.
Captain GEORGE H. STOWITS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
- 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. 1200-1202 ↩