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OR XLVI P1 #53: Report of Colonel William A. Olmstead, 59th NY, commanding 1/2/II/AotP, February 5-7, 1865

No. 53. Report of Colonel William A. Olmstead, Fifty-ninth New York Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations February 5-7.1

February 13, 1865

MAJOR: In compliance with circular of the 11th, Second Division headquarters, I report the part taken by this brigade on the 5th, 6th and 7th instant.

February 5, the brigade was formed at its old camp, and marched at 7 a.m. down the Vaughan road, where we halted for the Third Division, Second Army Corps, to pass. The Nineteenth Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, was advanced as skirmishers in front of a brigade of the Third Division. The balance of the brigade moved on the Vaughan road, and changed direction to the right through the woods, arriving at or near Hatcher’s Run, crossed over Wild Cat Run, and formed line of battle, facing the woods and westward as follows: The One hundred and eighty-fourth Pennsylvania on left; Thirty-sixth Wisconsin, One hundred and fifty-second New York, Fifty-ninth New York the Seventh Michigan, and First Minnesota were thrown out as skirmishers to the left and front with their left resting on Hatcher’s Run. The Nineteenth Massachusetts connected with the First Minnesota, picketing to the Nineteenth Maine, who advanced and carried the enemy’s works on Hatcher’s Run. Along the base of Hatcher’s Run the Twentieth Massachusetts was sent, by order of General Smyth, to support a brigade of the Third Division. They were relieved after the engagement on Sunday, February 5.

February 6 and 7, no material change of troops.

I have the honor to report that during the engagement of Sunday, the 5th, on our right, and Mounday, the 6th, on our left the conduct of officers and men was more than could be expected; their coolness and contentment and patient waiting attracted the attention of myself and staff; and I can safely say, had an opportunity offered itself, they would have done credit to the general commanding the division.

I wish to mention for brevet promotion, for gallant and fearless discharge of duty, and for general attention thereto, Lieutenant Colonel George W. La Point, commanding Seventh Michigan Volunteers, and Major M. Van Sickle, of the same regiment; also Captain Frank Houston, commanding First Minnesota Battalion; also Lieutenant W. H. Tibbitts, Nineteenth Massachusetts, and First Lieutenant and Actg. Adjt. J. F. Aytoun, Nineteenth Massachusetts and Major John Kelliher, Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers for gallant and meritorious conduct on picket-line. I cannot close this report without mentioning with credit the officers of my staff; always ready, prompt, and each showed the disposition of the soldier, by obeying strictly their orders and delivering them under fire; and I do therefore ask for a brevet for Captain Will Gilder, assistant adjutant-general; Captain A. B. Holmes, acting brigade-inspector; Captain Thomas Huggins, temporary aide-de-camp; and Second Lieutenant William H. Tripp, personal aide.

Herewith I subjoin the reports of the regimental commanders.

I am, major, yours, respectfully,

Colonel Fifty-ninth New York Veteran Vols., Commanding Brigade.

Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Second Army Corps.


  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), page 214
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