No. 20. Report of Lieut. William H. H. Bingham, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, of operations March 25.1
FORT HASKELL, VA.,
March 25, 1865.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my detachment of Company L, First Connecticut Artillery, in the engagement of the 25th instant, before Petersburg:
I was apprised of the attack of the enemy about 4 a. m. by heavy musketry firing on my right near Fort Stedman, which place was very soon reported to have fallen into their possession. I immediately ordered my men under arms, marched them to their pieces, and awaited further developments of the enemy’s movements. I very soon detected a strong skirmish line of enemy advancing in our own front; they had reached and commenced to remove the abatis. I immediately directed
my men to man the parapet with their small-arms, as the enemy were too close for mortar firing, and much depended upon a well-manned parapet at that critical moment. The enemy were soon repulsed by canister and infantry fire, and retired in the direction of Fort Stedman. My attention was then given to the enemy’s artillery in our immediate front, which annoyed us much. I deemed it not expedient to fire my mortars from their platforms, as the contiguous parapet was heavily manned by infantry and the effect of mortars being fired over their heads would have been demoralizing. Two of them were fired from the terre-plein and two unoccupied gun platforms. Upon being joined by Lieutenant Lewis, commanding Company I, was informed that Battery No 12 and line to the right was in the possession of the enemy. Two of my mortars were then trained upon the captured works, which were soon evacuated. The enemy retreated to their works in confused masses, rendered none the less so by the concentrated fire of my mortar battery, whose shell struck in their midst, doing, I believe, good execution. The engagement lasted about four hours, in which time I expended 225 rounds Coehorn shells, sustained no casualties in my own detachment.
I cannot speak in too high terms of the conduct of my men throughout the engagement. Those not employed firing the mortars made very good use of their small-arms. I think I am not saying too much by stating that the gallant manner in which Fort Haskell was defended checked what seemed at first to be a disaster, but by our continued efforts was rendered a success.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. H. BINGHAM,
Lieutenant, First Connecticut Artillery.
Lieutenant W. S. MALONY,
Second Lieutenant, First Connecticut Artillery, 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), pages 184-185 ↩