No. 151. Report of Major George M. Randall, Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, of operations March 25.1
HDQRS. FOURTEENTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY,
Fort Stedman, in front of Petersburg, Va., March 27, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report in relation to the attack made on Fort Stedman and Battery Numbers 10 on the morning of the 25th instant:
At 3 a.m. the officers of my command were informed by a sergeant of the picket that the enemy were advancing on our works in my immediate front. I at once ordered my command to the works. On reaching them I found that some few men of the enemy were on the works to the right of Battery Numbers 10, who made a most desperate attempt to gain possession. My command opened fire, and succeeded in foiling their attempt. The enemy were re-enforced, and made another desperate attempt. A few had gained our works, but these were captured and sent to the rear. I ordered my men to use their bayonets and the butts of their muskets, which they did most gallantly, fighting hand to hand with the enemy. The next attack was made on Fort Stedman, and notwithstanding the darkness of the night and the suddenness of the attack, succeeded in checking them at these points. The third attack, the enemy met with better success, they having flanked us on our right and left, and charging us at daybreak with overwhelming force, made it necessary for my men to retreat, which they did, toward the first battalion of my regiment, now at Fort Haskell.
The officers of Forts Stedman and Haskell behaved most gallantly during the engagement. I would take occasion to mention the names of Captains Houghton, Cleary, Brennan, Foote, and Lieutenant Charles A. O’Brien, for their valuable services rendered during the engagement.
At the commencement of the attack I immediately sent orderlies to the Twenty-ninth and Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Regiments, also to brigade and division headquarters, asking for immediate support, stating that it would be impossible for me to hold the works unless re-enforced immediately.
Too much credit cannot be given to the officers and men of the Third New Jersey Light Artillery for their noble conduct. The First Connecticut Heavy Artillery fought hand to hand with the enemy while protecting their mortars, and then remained with them until the last moment; also the Nineteenth New York (Captain Rogers) Battery, and one section of the Fourteenth Massachusetts Battery.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. M. RANDALL,
Major Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, Commanding Regiment
Bvt. Colonel G. P. ROBINSON,
Commanding Third Brig., First Div., Ninth 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 341-342 ↩