No. 157. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Mish T. Heintzelman, Two hundred and eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations March 25.1
HDQRS. 208TH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
March 27, 1865.
SIR: In obedience to circular from headquarters Third Division, Ninth Army Corps, dated March 26, 1865, I have the honor to offer the following report relative to the part taken and captures made by my regiment in the engagement near Fort Stedman on the 25th instant:
When my regiment reached the headquarters of the Third Brigade, First Division, Ninth Army Corps, the enemy had advanced a short distance across the first line of rifle-pits in rear of the main line of our breast-works and still maintained a good line, continuing to advance. On our approach, at the corner of the woods near the top of the hill, the enemy perceived my regiment for the first time, and immediately opened a heavy fire on it. We returned the fire, and merely held our own ground for probably a half hour, during which time I awaited further orders. In the meantime the enemy commenced falling back behind the main line of breast-works, sheltering themselves from our fire and continuing to fire upon my regiment. No orders having reached me yet I ordered the regiment to charge on the enemy, which needed but the word “forward”, and the men were off on a double-quick. The enemy began to give way, and in a short time his whole line was under a full and most disorderly retreat. The regiment
quickly followed and took possession of the main line, a part entering Battery No. 12 and capturing in the fort alone 100 prisoners, including a colonel, adjutant, and several line officers. On the balance of the line we captured 250 prisoners, making in all 350 prisoners captured by my regiment. In the meantime the color bearer of the One hundredth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers entered Battery 12, and took possession of several stand of colors (rebel), which justly belonged to my regiment.
A large number of enlisted men belonging to the First Division, representing themselves to be provost guards especially detailed for the purpose of escorting to the rear, followed immediately in our rear, picking up large numbers of prisoners taken by my regiment, thereby claiming a credit of prisoners for the First Division.
Previous to our advancing, the entire line formerly occupied by the One hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers and Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, including Batteries Nos.11 and 12, was entirely deserted from Fort Stedman to Fort Haskell. The camps were filled with rebels, who were crowded in so thickly as to render it impossible to deploy my command. My regiment occupied our main line of breast-works from ten to twenty minutes before the order reached me to advance.
There were gathered up by officers belonging to the First Division in the several batteries at least 500 stand of small-arms belonging to the Third Division.
M. T. HEINTZELMAN,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding 208th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Lieutenant CHARLES L. BUFFINGTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
- 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 352-353 ↩