No. 182. Report of Colonel William R. Peck, Louisiana Brigade, of operations February 5-7.1
HEADQUARTERS YORK’S COMMAND,
February 10, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the following as the operations of my command on the 5th, 6th, and 7th instant:
In pursuance of orders from division headquarters I proceeded, on the morning of the 5th of February, to Burgess’ Mill, and thence to the line of works in front of General Cook’s quarters. Having marched about mile to the left along the works, we were ordered, about 4 p.m., to move across the works, following Terry’s brigade. We formed line after marching about a mile to the front, Evans’ brigade being on our right and Terry on our left. Being ordered to conform our movements to those of General Terry, we advanced in line to our batteries, threw forward our sharpshooters, commanded by Lieutenant R. B. Smith, Second Louisiana Regiment, and rested a short time while our batteries fired. The fire of the batteries having ceased we advanced through the field and woods until we reached General Heth’s line, being exposed in the woods to some fire of musketry. At General Heth’s line we halted, in accordance with the movements on our left, and rectified the line. Darkness having come on, after some firing with little result, we were ordered to retire, which the command did in good order, and, in accordance with instructions, I marched the command back to their quarters.
In obedience to orders, at sunrise on the morning of the 6th, I marched the command to Burgess’ house, and was ordered back about
11 o’clock, leaving 150 men on picket. Orders reaching at 1 p.m. to move at once by the nearest route o Armstrong’s Mill, the command proceeded immediately to Burgess’ house, and thence as rapidly as possible to our picket-line south of Hatcher’s Run. Here we were led to the support of General Pegram by General Gordon’s orders, and formed line in the woods, with General Terry’s brigade on our left. My command was much reduced by this time by the heavy picket detail still on duty, and I was forced, with the mere handful left, to conform my movements entirely to those of the larger commands on my right and left. Advancing twice to the edge of the woods, and driving the enemy from the sawdust pile in the field, we were each time forced to retire by the wavering and falling back of the line on our left. We fell back each time in good order. The third time we advanced, a portion of Pegram’s division having come up on our right, we drove the enemy again steadily before us until we reached the field and sawdust pile. After holding this point for a short time the troops on my right and left gave way and I fell back with them, reforming quickly in the woods. Many of my men had by this time been killed and wounded, and the command was short of ammunition, but I deployed them in the interval between Pegram’s left and Terry’s right, and having fired away the last round we had, on the arrival of Mahone’s division on our line I retired a short distance and supplied myself with ammunition. The fight was by this time over, and in accordance with General Evans’ order I marched to the pines near our line and bivouacked for the night . On the morning of the 7th we were placed in line by General Evans, prepared to support the division on our right in case of an attack. During the afternoon we proceeded to the right of the Brown house and formed as a support of Major Owen’s artillery. At dark we were sent back to quarters.
I cannot close my report without paying a just tribute to the memory of Lieutenant John S. Dea, of the Eighth Louisiana Regiment, who fell at our most advanced position during the fight of the 6th. He was at the time acting as adjutant of the division corps of sharpshooters, and displayed all the conspicuous gallantry for which he was noted. In him the service has lost a brave soldier and a good officer. I was greatly assisted in the operations of my command by the officers of my staff, and by Adjutant Key, of the Ninth Louisiana, who offered his services on the occasion.
I append the following list of casualties in my command: Killed, 1 officer, 5 men; wounded, 17 men.
W. R. PECK,
Captain D. C. CODY,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector 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), pp. 391-392 ↩