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OR XLVI P1 #235: Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. McNary, 158th NY, Mar 27-Apr 9, 1865

No. 235. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. McNary, One hundred and fifty-eighth New York Infantry.1

Near Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 14, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders from headquarters Fourth Brigade, I have the honor to report that this regiment left Deep Bottom, Va., on the evening of March 27 at 8 p. m., and marched, halting to rest

several times, until we arrived near Humphrey’s Station. On March 29, at 9 a. m., at this place more than one-half of the command was on picket duty until we left on April 2 at 5 a. m. The regiment was in line of battle several times ready for action, but no casualties occurred except on the picket-line. Sergt. John Moriarty, acting lieutenant, Company K, was killed-shot through the head-and Captain Ed. Gillen, Company G, was seriously wounded in the head, and four privates wounded, all on the 31st of March. A horse belonging to the acting adjutant was killed near the picket-line. On April the 2nd the regiment marched with the division and was ordered, together with the Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, to assist the Third Brigade in charging Fort Gregg. First Lieutenant Ed. Reilly, of Company A, acting adjutant, a brave and fearless officer, was killed instantly-shot through the head. Our loss in this engagement was 10 killed and 26 wounded, 3 of whom have since died. Among the killed were Color-Corpls. James A. Kilburn, Company C, and Joseph B. Simpson, Company C, and Corpl. Jacob Day, Company I.

After this engagement we chased General Lee’s army, and on the 6th of April, near Rice’s Station, we met his pickets, and after a stubborn fight of some two hours we silenced their fire. Our loss here was 2 corporals and 10 privates wounded. We again met the enemy near Appomattox Court-House and assisted in repulsing them. Our loss in this engagement was 1 officer wounded, Captain William A. Furey, by a spent ball, hit on the neck.

Our whole loss since leaving Deep Bottom, Va., is 11 killed and 44 wounded, 3 of whom have since died; total, 55 as follows.*

The officers and men of this regiment have all behaved nobly. At the storming and capture of Fort Gregg, this regiment, together with the Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, advanced in the face of a very heavy front fire, and after a bloody and determined resistance on the part of the enemy the fort was carried at the point of the bayonet. We all sincerely regret the loss of our acting adjutant, Lieutenant Reilly, as gallant an officer, and true to his country, as ever faced the foe.

Among those who deserve favorable mention for gallantry on this occasion are Major Hyron Kalt, Captain Jacob David, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Meagher, and Color bearer Sergt. James Howard,+ Company K. Sergeant Howard carried the colors in advance of the line of battle, and had the staff shot off while planting it on the parapet of the fort. After Color-Corporal Simpson, who carried the State colors, was killed, Lieutenant Perkins, of Company D, picked them up and carried, was killed, Lieutenant Perkins, of Company D, picked them up and carried them into the works. The staff of the State colors and both flags bear many marks of the enemy’s fire. Private Richard Colton, of Company H, was the first man of the regiment on the work, and died a soldier’s death.

All deserve praise, and where so many brave officers and men tried to do their duty and do it so well it is quite impossible to make a distinction. I commend them all to my superior officers.

Respectfully submitted.

Your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Captain S. C. ROOF,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


*List omitted.

+Awarded a Medal of Honor.



  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. 1208-1209
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