No. 127. Report of Bvt. Brig. General J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations March 25.1
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIV., SIXTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp at Burkeville, Va., April 16, 1865.
MAJOR: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the part taken by this brigade on the 25th of March, 1865, in the charge upon the capture of the enemy’s intrenched picket-line near Forts Fisher and Welch, in front of Petersburg, Va.:
This brigade, save the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, occupied the line of the works including Forts Fisher, Welch and Gregg, and was situated about thre-quarters of a mile from the enemy’s fortifications. The enemy’s picket-line was strongly intrenched and manned by an unusually large number of men. About 1 p.m. of the 25th ultimo I received an order from Brigadier General T. Seymour, commanding division, to send two regiments to support our picket-line in an attack upon the picket-line of the enemy. I accordingly ordered the One hundred and tenth and One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Regiments, commanded respectively by Bvt. Colonel O. H. Binkley and Lieutenant Colonel C. M. Cornyn, to move outside the works for the purpose ordered. Colonel Binkley was directed to take command of both regiments. The picket of our division was composed of troops from the Tenth Vermont and Fourteenth New Jersey Regiments, of the First Brigade. Lieutenant-Colonel Damon, Tenth Vermont Volunteers, had been charged with the movement of the picket. The attack was made, but the greater portion of the pickets failed to advance. The two Ohio regiments moved forward, but being unsupported on either flank they halted before reaching the enemy’s line, and subsequently retired to our own intrenched line. Both regiments met with considerable loss. Orders were then received by me to take charge of the troops and make the desired capture. I at once moved out the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, one battalion Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, and portions of the Sixth Maryland and One hundred and twenty-sixtgh Ohio Regiments, and under a severe fire from the enemy pushed them forward to our intrenched line, preparatory to making the charge.
About 3 p.m., at a given signal, the troops charged and without halting to fire passed over the enemy’s lines, capturing over 200 prisoners. In the last charge the picket-line from the Tenth Vermont went forward in good style.
Colonel B. F. Smith, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, Bvt. Colonel O. H. Binkley, One hundred and tenth Ohio, Lieutenant Cols. C. M. Cornyn, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, and James W. Snyder, Ninth
New York Heavy Artillery, and Major C. K. Prentiss, Sixth Maryland, led their men with great gallantry. Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Spangler, One hundred and tenth Ohio Volunteers, received a severe wound in the leg while gallantly urging the men forward in the last charge. Lieutenant-Colonel Damon, Tenth Vermont, did his duty nobly. Captain Simon Dickerhoof, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, who was division officer of the day at that time, also showed great coolness and gallantry.
Notwithstanding a heavy artillery fire from the enemy’s guns was concentrated upon the troops the captured line was halted. It subsequently proved to be of great benefit to the corps by enabling troops to be formed behind it for an assault upon the enemy’s main works.
Copies of regimental reports are herewith transmitted.
A summary of casualties is hereto appended.
I am, major, your obedient servant and humble servant,
J. WARREN KEIFER,
Bvt. Major O. V. TRACY,
Actg. Ast. Adjt. General, Third Division, Sixth 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), pages 309-310 ↩