No. 240. Report of Bvt. Major General John W. Turner, U. S. Army, commanding Independent Division.1
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, TWENTY-FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
In Camp, near Richmond, Va., April 26, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division from the 27th of March, when I left my position at Deep Bottom on James River, to the 25th of April on my arrival in the city of Richmond:
In obedience to the orders of the major-general commanding, the division crossed James River at Deep Bottom at dark on the evening of the 27th, and went into camp as a reserve to the First Division on the left of our line of entrenchments at Hatcher’s Run about noon on the 29th. The next morning at 5 o’clock the division crossed Hatcher’s Run and went into position in lien of battle, its left connecting with the right of the Second Corps at Dabney’s Mill, its right resting near Hatcher’s Run. It moved forward during the day in conjunction with the Second Corps, crossing Hatcher’s Run, Colonel Potter’s brigade on the right of my line connecting with General Foster’s division, Colonel Curtis with his brigade being in reserve. During the day Lieutenant F. a. C. Judd, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, my aide-de-camp, was severely wounded while with me reconnoitering the enemy’s position.
The next morning (the 30th) General Harris and Lieutenant-Colonel Potter were ordered to drive in the enemy’s picket-line in front of their respective positions, in order to develop his position. This was very gallantly done; the enemy’s entire picket-line was either captured or driven within his works, and our own was established within 400 yards of the enemy’s works, enabling us to completely silence his artillery on this part of his line and giving us a very important advantage. Much credit is due to Captain Gandy, Fifteenth West Virginia Volunteers, who had charge of General Harris’ skirmish line, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kellogg, One hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteers, who had charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Potter’s line during the attack. General Foster took up the attack and established his line in a corresponding position to that of the Second Division.
The 31st of March and 1st of April was employed in strengthening my position and establishing a battery on my right, which opened early in the morning of the 2nd. During the night of the 1st and morning of the 2nd, in obedience to orders received direct from Major-General Ord, I massed Colonel Curtis’ and Colonel Potter’s brigades on the right of Colonel Dandy’s brigade, of the First Division,in preparation for an assault which, however, was countermanded before morning by Major-General Gibbon. Shortly after daybreak I directed General Harris to advance a strong skirmish line up to the enemy’s works to ascertain if he was not leaving, of which I had strong suspicions, which was accordingly done. Lieutenant-Colonel Kellogg, of the one hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteers, of the First Brigade, [who] had been left on the skirmish line with his regiment, under General Harris’ orders, when Lieutenant-Colonel Potter’s brigade was moved off during the night, advanced with his regiment with General Harris’ line. This line, after some slight resistance, carried the enemy’s works, capturing 2 guns, 3 battle-flags, and some prisoners. Before General Harris had
reached the enemy’s line I received an order to send two brigade to our signal tower near Fort Gregg in support of the Sixth Corps, which I was then informed had broken the enemy’s lines. I accompanied these two brigades (the First and Second), and subsequently in the afternoon formed them in support of Foster’s division, which immediately after my arrival moved to the assault of Fort Gregg, an important outwork to the enemy’s defenses around Petersburg. Colonels Curtis and Potter moved in close support to the First Division, and joined hands with Foster’s troops in the desperate struggle which took place for the possession of Fort Gregg. After nearly half an hour of desperate fighting this work was carried, but with the loss of many brave officers and men of this division.
I would respectfully refer the major-general commanding to the reports of Colonel Curtis and Colonel Potter for the names of those officers and men who distinguished themselves for gallantry in this attack.
Immediately after the capture of Fort Gregg, an adjoining work of the enemy’s, Fort Baldwin, was carried by General Harris, who reported to me shortly after, with its garrison, some sixty in number, including its commander. For the operations of General Harris’ brigade during the day, while from under my command, I refer you to his report.
My division just before night-fall was put into position to the right of Fort Gregg, with Anthony’s battery on my right center. The next morning the evacuation of Petersburg was announced.
The movement to Burkeville was commenced early on the morning of the 3rd, my division taking the lead on the Cox Road. I arrived at Burkeville on the night of the 5th, the division having marched some thirty miles in the last day’s march. Early the next morning the One hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Kellogg, and the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Moulton, were detached, by order of the major-general commanding, on an expedition to High Bridge, the railroad crossing to Sandy Creek, and I regret to state were compelled to surrender during the day, having been surrounded by an overwhelming force of the enemy, not, however, before making a gallant resistance. These men were afterward paroled after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court-House.
About noon on the 6th the division moved from Burkeville out on the Farmville road, following General Foster’s division. The enemy was met at Rice’s Station, and went into position on the left of Foster’s division; considerable skirmishing ensued, when night-fall put an end to the operations for the day.
Early next morning the enemy was found to have abandoned his position, and the movement was continued on to Farmville. At 5 a. m. of the 8th I moved out on the Lynchburg road and following General Sheridan’s cavalry all day went into camp about 10 p. m. near Appomattox Station, having marched some twenty-eight miles, the men coming into camp in good order, and with but little straggling. I was on the road again at 3 o’clock next morning, and after advancing some four or five miles was ordered into line on the right of General Foster, near the Appomattox Court-House road leading to Lynchburg. The enemy were again met at this point and had just gained some little advantage over the cavalry; they were, however, easily pushed back, and on advancing into the open ground in the vicinity of Appomattox Court-House the enemy were found to have fallen back behind that place. Hostilities had ceased and negotiations for the surrender of his entire army had commenced.
Remaining in camp at this place until the 12th I was ordered to Lynchburg with my division and Mackenzie’s cavalry. General Mackenzie entered Lynchburg the same day, and my division followed the next. Immense quantities of military stores were found, all of which were destroyed, except what were required for own use, and what subsistence stores were turned over to the destitute citizens; over 5,000 prisoners were paroled. I left Lynchburg on the 16th, arriving at Appomattox Court-House the same day, and on the 17th moved for Burkeville, where the division arrived on the 19th. On the 22nd we commenced our return march for Richmond, which place division entered on the 25th.
I desire to bear testimony to the good conduct and patient endurance while on the march, and valor on the battle-field, of the officers and men of this division. To the brigade commanders-Brigadier General T. M. Harris, U. S. Volunteers, commanding Third Brigade; Colonel William B. Curtis, Twelfth West Virginia Volunteers, commanding Second Brigade; and Lieutenant Colonel A. Potter, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, commanding First Brigade-great praise is due, and I earnestly recommend them to the major-general commanding for his favorable consideration.
My staff officers-Captain C. H. Hurd, assistant adjutant-general; Captain I. A. Rosekrans, commissary of subsistence; Captain J. L. C. Amee, assistant quartermaster; Captain J. S. Gibbs, U. S. Colored Troops, aide-de-camp; Surg. R. R. Clarke, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, surgeon-in-chief; Captain George Macomber, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers; Captain H. L. Karr, One hundred and sixteenth Ohio Volunteers, judge advocate; Captain T. Mallory, One hundred and sixteenth Ohio Volunteers, provost-marshal; Captain J. F. Welch, One hundred and sixteenth Ohio Volunteers, commanding pioneer corps; First Lieutenant J. R. Brenneman, Twelfth West Virginia Volunteers, acting ordnance officer; Second Lieutenant Jere Horton, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, assistant commissary of musters-by their efficient and zealous aid have rendered me most valuable services, and they have my warmest thanks for their attention to their duties and earnest desire to carry out my orders.
Inclosed please find the reports of the brigade commanders.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. W. TURNER,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
Lieutenant Colonel E. MOALE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Twenty-fourth Army Corps.
- 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. 1214-1216 ↩