HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE,
March 27, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor to forward the following report of the part taken by this brigade in the engagement on March 25, 1865:
About 6 a. m. we were ordered by the brevet major-general commanding division, through a staff officer, to detail 200 men, properly officered, from the Sixty-first New York Volunteers to charge the enemy’s picket-line in our front, and break it, if possible. I personally superintended the assault, but, owing to the density of the thicket and strength of the enemy’s defense, my front was repulsed, though fighting gallantly, losing 3 killed, 15 wounded, and 10 missing.
By direction of General Miles I withdrew my detachment to the left of our division line, and selected a new point for the second assault. This time, though the enemy were on the part alert, my men broke and carried their line, capturing 1 commissioned officer and about 20 men, my detachment of the Sixty-first New York Volunteers here losing 2 enlisted men killed, 1 wounded, and 5 missing. The corps officer of the day, Brevet Brigadier-General Madill, now rapidly advanced our whole picket-line beyond the old line occupied by the brigade. I now advanced my brigade from our main works, taking up line of battle a short distance in rear of the new line occupied by our pickets, sending the regiments to the immediate support of the picket-line to my right and left; the Second York Artillery to the right. Subsequently, about 1 p. m., I assembled the two regiments and advanced my entire brigade line of battle to the front, through an almost impassable thicket, woods, morass, swamps, and finding the enemy holding a strong entrenched picket-line, their front covered by deep slashing and morass. I now, by direction of General Miles, took up a advantageous line a little to the rear, and where the enemy had their original picket-line, closing intervals of regiments to the left, and making room for the Second Brigade (Colonel Nugent) to come into position, and continued my line to the right. We had just got into position, 3 p. m., when the enemy’s bugle sounded the forward. The enemy charged my entire front, but were fairly repulsed. They renewed the
assault later (6 p. m.), but with no more success, being driven back at all points, we capturing some prisoners. About this time the commanding officer Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers reported his regiment to me for duty; but not needing his services upon my front, General Miles soon ordered him to another point. Later in the evening, about 8 p. m., I was directed by an aide of General Miles to deploy my command to the right, covering the ground formerly occupied by the Second Brigade. I did this, connecting on the right, with the Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers and on the left with the Third Brigade. We maintained this line until about 9 p. m., when, by direction of General Miles, I deployed a strong picket-line, anticipating a withdrawal of my main lines, using for this purpose the Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, part of the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, and part of the One hundred and eleventh New York Volunteers, the latter regiment having been reported to me by order of General Miles. This line connected on the right with the Fourth New York Artillery and on the left with the Third Brigade line, leaving reserves at the house, and on the left at the old wall near — house. About 1 p. m. [a. m. 26th], by orders of Generals Miles, through Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, acting assistant adjutant-general, I withdrew the balance of my brigade and the One hundred and eleventh New York Volunteers, returning to our camp in breast-work near Battery D.
My troops, without exception, behaved well, standing firm under the attack of the enemy, and advancing fearlessly to the charge. Too much praise cannot be awarded to the detachment of the Sixty-first New York Volunteers – men and officers distinguished themselves. The officers of my staff, Captain McCallister and Kerr, of the One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Lieutenant Hickock, Twenty-sixth Michigan Volunteers, were very efficient at all times, gallant in action, and faithful to the performance of all duty, Lieutenant Hickock being twice struck by the enemy’s bullets. Accompanying is a list of casualties.*
I am, very respectfully,
GEORGE W. SCOTT,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel R. A. BROWN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.
* Shows 7 men killed, 3 officers and 73 men wounded, and 44 men missing; total 127.
- 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 197-198 ↩