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OR XLVI P1 #146: Report of Captain Joseph F. Carter, 3rd MD, March 25, 1865

No. 146. Report of Captain Joseph F. Carter, Third Maryland Infantry, of operations March 25.1

Before Petersburg, Va., March 27, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to report that this command was put under arms at about 4 a.m. March 25, in consequence of unusual firing heard in the direction of Fort Stedman; Brevet Colonel Robinson (at that time in command of the battalion) ordered me to learn the cause of the alarm. I ascertained that the enemy had succeeded in breaking our lines and capturing Fort Stedman, also Batteries Nos. 11 and 12, and portions of the Twenty-ninth and Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers and Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery. Finding the enemy advancing in the rear of our works, we threw out a line of skirmishers, having the rest of the command ready for their support. After the enemy had driven the One hundredth Pennsylvania from their camp, our skirmish line checked their farther advance, in conjunction with a portion of the One hundredth Pennsylvania, who had rallied at our skirmish line. We succeeded in holding the enemy until he gradually fell back into a narrow ravine on the left of Battery Numbers 12, when our skirmishers charged and drove the enemy out of the camp of the One hundredth Pennsylvania. We then occupied the left of the line of breast-works, and when the enemy commenced to retreat we charged along our works and were the first to re-enter Fort Stedman and Batteries Nos. 11 and 12, capturing some 200 prisoners. Corpls. Edward Mitchel and John H. Locker took off as many as eighty rebels, including nine commissioned officers.

We captured two stand of colors: one belonging to the Fifty-first Virginia Infantry, captured by Captain Joseph F. Carter; the other belonging to the Twenty-seventh Georgia Infantry (erroneously reported as the Twelfth Alabama Battalion), captured by Private Patrick McCran, of Company C, Third Maryland Battalion Veteran Volunteer Infantry.

I take pleasure in commending the bravery of the following enlisted men of the battalion: Sergt. Michael Denahey, Company C; Corpls. Edward Mitchell, John H. Locker, and William H. Erdman, and Private William Brooks, Company D, and Private Andrew J. Smith, Company B, for gallantry and conspicuous conduct during the engagement, and assisting in the capture of prisoners, and being among the first to re-enter Fort Stedman. The last-mentioned, Private Andrew J. Smith, of Company B, deserves great credit for endeavoring to take a flag from a rebel, but, being a mere youth, his strength was not sufficient to wrest it from the hands of the color bearer.

I would also mention the gallantry of Second Lieutenant John Nape, of Company B, in forming the skirmish line, during which he was disabled by a severe gunshot wound in the face.

The anxiety manifested by the troops of this command to participate in the fight was highly creditable, the officers being taxed to their utmost to prevent the support from joining the skirmish line.

We lost-in killed 1 enlisted man; wounded, 1 commissioned officer and 5 enlisted men; missing, 5 enlisted men.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding Third Maryland Battalion Vet. Vol. Infantry.

Captain T. W. CLARKE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.


  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 336-337
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