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OR XLVI P1 #139: Report of Captain John C. Boughton, 2nd MI, March 25, 1865

No. 139. Report of Captain John C. Boughton, Second Michigan Infantry, of operations March 25.1

Before Petersburg, Va., March 27, 1865.

SIR: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to make the following report concerning the late attack on our lines:

On the morning of the 25th instant, between 4 and 5 o’clock, the regiment was alarmed by messengers sent in from picket by Lieutenant Hardy, who was in command of the line. When I got out, which was 4.30, most of the regiment was under arms in the trench; went to the

left and met Lieutenant Hardy coming in from picket. In reply to inquiries, he said the enemy was crossing the line to our left without opposition, and that they would soon be on us. During this time there was some musketry firing near Fort Stedman, but not much, and it was too dark to see well. Before Lieutenant Hardy had passed two men came running from the left, telling that their regiment was all captured, and that the rebels were coming in our rear. I ordered them to be arrested, and stopped their talking. A few minutes later a crowd of men came running down the trench. Supposing they were of one of our regiments, and running from the enemy, I stepped out and ordered them to halt, saying that it was useless to run away, but was answered, carelessly, “It’s of no use now; it’s all over; you might as well throw down your guns.” At the same time one of them placed his hand on my shoulder, saying, “Come with me.” I instantly perceived they were rebels, and answered, “In a minute.” Stepping hastily backward, I ordered the men to fire, which they obeyed immediately with good effect. We then fell back behind the first flanker, all except a few who had surrendered and were marched away immediately.

Very soon after they had advanced down the old road in our rear, and opened a fire on us, which obliged us to abandon the two traverses on our left; the companies who had occupied them passed up the line and took shelter in Battery Numbers 9 I sent a party from the right down the old road in our rear, which checked the enemy’s advance on it, and immediately afterward sent Lieutenant Perrine with a company across the old road and to our left and rear. At the same time the regiment reoccupied the traverses which had been abandoned. It was not quite daylight then, but soon after we could see our own troops coming up from the rear, and the enemy retreating to their own works. I then called for volunteers, and when about twenty or twenty-five had responded, I charged down the line with them to the foot of Spring Hill, and cut off the retreat of and captured something over 300 prisoners (I guess at the number, as I did not count them). Lieutenant Perrine, Captain Lang, Lieutenant Hardy, Lieutenant Holston, and Lieutenant Rogers rendered most valuable assistance in this movement. Twenty minutes before 7 o’clock we reoccupied the picket-line.

Our loss was 2 killed, 7 wounded, and 15 taken prisoners. Among the wounded were Lieutenant S. M. Daken and Adjt. T. R. Fish.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding Regiment.

Brevet Major LOUNSBERRY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


  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), pages 327-328
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