No. 258. Report of Lieutenant Colonel James Givin, One hundred and twenty-seventh U. S. Colored Troops.1
HEADQUARTERS 127TH U. S. COLORED TROOPS,
Near Petersburg, Va., April 22, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the One hundred and twenty-seventh Regiment U. S. Colored Troops in the recent active campaign:
On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 29, 1865, the regiment was for the first time drawn up in line of battle, with a prospect of engaging the enemy on the west side of Hatcher’s Run, and in support of Foster’s division, Twenty-fourth Army Corps. Skirmishing continued throughout the night, but the regiment was not engaged. At night a
detail of 500 men was engaged in throwing up breast-works. At daylight again formed line, and at 9.30 a. m. 30th was relieved by the Forty-fifth U. S. Colored Troops and ordered to the rear to rest, but before reaching camp was ordered, with the Fort-first U. S. Colored Troops, to the right to relieve Colonel Fairchild’s brigade, Twenty-fourth Corps. Here threw up another line of works, connecting with the line thrown up the night previous and perpendicular to the old line of the Army of the Potomac. At night slept on arms, and one the 31st resumed strengthening line of works. April 1, remained in same position. April 2, entered rebel works, moved up to Battery 435, and formed for charge on right of brigade with one “group of fours” from each company advanced as skirmishes. In this position the regiment sustained a severe fire, but owing to inaccuracy of the rebel marksmen only three men were wounded, none killed. The position of the regiment being considered by the brigadier-general commanding division (on personal inspection) too much exposed, he ordered me to place it in a safer position, when I advanced about 100 yards to the foot of a hill. After remaining in this position for some time the brigade was withdrawn.
At daylight on the 3rd moved with the division through the enemy’s works at Battery 45 and entered Petersburg, thence out the Cox road to the intersection of the South Side Railroad. April 4, marched to Wilson’s Station; April 5, to Blacks and Whites; April 6, to Rice’s Station. April 7, by a circuitous route entered Farmville. April 8, marched any and night, and at daylight arrived in front of the rebel army near Appomattox Court-House. April 9, was ordered to guard the ammunition train of the Twenty-fourth Corps (to which at that time the brigade was attached); convoyed it close to the skirmish line until the enemy surrendered.
During this very severe march regimental commanders had a fine opportunity of judging of both officers and men. The majority of the officers of this regiment proved themselves worthy of the trust reposed in them. The services of Captain E. N. Willard, who acted as major, were invaluable; although sick he did not leave his post until after the surrender. Captains Tinkham and Stanfield, Lieutenants Markley, Harding, and Stewart deserve special mention. The men, though short of rations and almost worn our with fatigue, moved on without a murmur as long as there was an enemy to follow, and proved themselves to be a body of men upon whom the Government can safely rely in her hour of peril.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel 127th U. S. Colored Troops, Commanding Regiment.
Lieutenant JAMES M. LYON,
- 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. 1240-1241 ↩