Petersburg

After Action Reports

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation

of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 

 

Report of Lieut. Col. Joseph C. Hill, Sixth Maryland Infantry, of operations March 25, 1865

 

HDQRS. SIXTH REGIMENT MARYLAND VOLUNTEERS, April 16, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In the absence of Maj. C. K. Prentiss, who was at that time in command of the regiment, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the command on the 25th ultimo: On the morning of the 25th the command was aroused by heavy firing on the right of our line, held by the Ninth Corps. The command was immediately formed and moved into the works, Companies A, G, I, and K being detached to garrison Fort Gregg, under the immediate command of Capt. John J. Bradshaw. We remained in our works under arms until about 2 p.m., when the command (less the fort garrison) filed out of the works formerly occupied by our picket-line and formed line of battle. The line thus formed consisted of the One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, and the Sixth Maryland Volunteers. The signal to move forward was the waving of the brigade flag from the parapets of Fort Fisher. At the given signal the line moved forward, and, with a shout of victory, we entered and occupied the enemy's works, Color-Sergt. Robert Spence, Company B, being the first man in the works, and planted our starry banner thereon, shortly after which he was wounded in the neck by a bullet from the enemy, but I am happy to say is doing well at present and is in a fair way to recover. Great praise is due Maj. C. K. Prentiss for distinguished bravery on this occasion, he being one among the first officers to enter the enemy's works. In this engagement we lost in killed one man (First Sergt. Michael Hallorn, Company E, a brave and meritorious soldier). We lost in wounded four enlisted men. I most respectfully call your attention to the following-named officers and soldiers who distinguished themselves for bravery on that occasion: Maj. C. K. Prentiss, First Lieut. Samuel W. Angel, First Lieut. Frederick K. Bryan, for being the first officers in the enemy's works. Color-Sergt. Robert Spence, Color-Corpl. William J. Brown, for planting the first colors on the enemy's works. Sergt. John E.Buffington, Company C; First Sergt. Whitfield Stansbury, Company C; Corpl. Jonas Frock, Company C, for dashing ahead of the line over the works amid demanding the surrender of a number of rebels, and bringing them in as prisoners of war. Sergt. Maj. Frederick Boltze, for encouraging and rallying the men. Private Elisha L. Kirk, Company B, for capturing and bringing in a number of prisoners. Corpl. Christopher C. McCullough, Company B; Private Marion Gillespie, Company B; Corpl. Amos Davis, Company H; Private George Damuth, Company D; Private Cyrus P. Willhide, Company D, for volunteering to advance and occupy rebel sharpshooters' pits in our front, thereby preventing them from leaving their main line of works and forming a skirmish line in our front until after dark. In conclusion, allow me to say that the Sixth Regiment Maryland Volunteers on that occasion acquitted herself with honor to her command, honor to her State and to her country at large.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. HILL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Sixth Regiment Maryland Volunteers.

Capt. W. L. SHAW,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade.

 

 

Report of Lieut. Col. Joseph C. Hill, Sixth Maryland Infantry, of operations April 2, 1865

 

HDQRS. SIXTH REGIMENT MARYLAND VOLUNTEERS, April 16, 1865

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to transmit the following detailed report of the operations of this command from the storming of the enemy's works south of Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865, to the 13th instant, when the corps arrived at this place and encamped;

On the morning of the 2nd instant we filed out of our main works and formed the center of the first battle line of the Second Brigade, the One hundred and tenth Ohio Volunteers, on our right and the One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, on our left. At our about 5 a.m. the command to advance was given, and the line moved forward, completely routing and capturing the entire picket-line of the enemy in our front, after which this command dashed forward and succeeded in planting the first colors on the enemy's works in our front, supported for some minutes by a small band, consisting of six officers and about twenty men, during which time Major C. K. Prentiss, Captain Thomas Ocker, First Lieutenant Thomas Duff, and Second Lieutenant Thomas H. Goldsborough were severely wounded. The regiment being formed, we charged straight down the enemy's works, capturing many prisoners and assisted in capturing a battery of four guns, which were immediately turned upon the flying foe. The colors of the above-named battery were surrendered to First Lieutenant Samuel W. Angel, of this command. We then charged the second battery, and, in conjunction with parts of many different commands, succeeded in driving the enemy from their guns, but being unsupported were driven from their works, after a stubborn resistance, and were compelled to fall back to the battery being worked by a detachment of the Ninth New York Artillery. During this temporary reverse First Lieutenant Samuel W. Angel was mortally wounded while attempting to rally his men. We again formed, with other portions of the brigade, and retook the above-named battery. While forming the line for this charge First Lieutenant A. F. Rittenhouse was severely wounded in the leg. Our total loss during this engagement was, 6 officers wounded, 3 enlisted men killed, and 19 enlisted men wounded.

I take great pleasure in calling attention to the gallant and meritorious conduct of both officers and men of this command on that momentous occasion. I cannot close this report without calling your attention to the gallant and meritorious conduct of the following-named officers and soldiers on that occasion; Major C. K. Prentiss, Adjt. J. L. Mahan, Captain John J. Bradshaw, they being the first officers in the enemy's works; also Captain John G. Simpers, Captain Thomas Ocker, First Lieutenant Thomas Duff, First Lieutenant Samuel W. Angel, First Lieutenant Charles G. Feichtner, First Lieutenant A. F. Rittenhouse, Second Lieutenant Thomas H. Goldsborough, Second Lieutenant O. H. P. Mathias; also Color-Sergt. Daniel Tatum, Company I, Color-Corpl. William J. Brown, Company K, Color-Corpl. Jesse Arnold, Company C, for planting the first colors on the enemy's works; First Sergt. Samuel Kearney, Company I, for picking up the State colors after Corporal Brown was wounded and planting them on the enemy's fort; Private Alexander Burleigh, Company B, for shooting down a rebel engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Captain John J. Bradshaw. There are many other instances of courage and bravery displayed by the offices and men of this command, but time and space will not permit of noticing them.

We then formed with our brigade and moved to the right of our line and took position; remained in line until the morning of the 3rd, when we took up line of march with our gallant corps in pursuit of the fleeing enemy.

On the afternoon of the 6th instant, after a hard days' march, found the enemy at Sailor's Creek. This command, in connection with the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, charged the enemy's skirmish line and drove them through the swamp across the creek, capturing a number of prisoners. We then formed for the grand charge in rear of the First Division of our corps. The command forward was given, and we plunged into the swamp, driving the enemy before us. For a short time there was a temporary reverse, owing to a portion of the line of the First Division breaking, and several of this command were captured by the enemy, including myself, but, owing to the cavalry getting in the rear of the enemy, we succeeded in escaping, capturing our captors and bringing them into our lines. The prisoners thus captured were 5 field officers, several line officers, and about 150 men. In this engagement we lost, in killed none, 4 enlisted men wounded.

I take great pleasure in calling attention to the distinguished bravery of the following-named officers and soldiers during this engagement: Captain John J. Bradshaw, Adjt. Joseph L. Mahan, Captain John G. Simpers, Captain Charles A. Damuth, First Lieutenant Charles G. Feichtner, First Lieutenant Nelson McDowell, Second Lieutenant O. H. P. Mathias; also Color-Sergt. Daniel Tatum, Color-Corpl. Jesse Arnold, Sergt. Major Frederick Boltze, Corpl. John Traver, Corpl. William Freeze, Corpl. Joseph Baxter, Private Peter Staup, Private Josiah E. Willhide, Company D, Sergt. John E. Buffington, Company C, First Sergt. John D. Hall, Company B, Corpl. Henry Clinton, Company F, Sergt. Peter Stone, Company I, Privates Samuel F. Barrett, Albert T. Gregg, and Nathan Tyson, Company G-for unsurpassed bravery in rushing forward into the enemy's lines and capturing many prisoners. In fact, the entire command behaved in a manner worthy of praise and admiration.

After our brigade was formed we rested for the night near the scene of our great conquest.

On the morning of the 7th took up line of march with our corps in pursuit of the enemy, nothing of importance transpiring until the afternoon of the 9th, when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Lieutenant-General Grant, near Appomattox Court-House. We remained in camp rejoicing over our brilliant series of victories until the evening of the 10th, when we were ordered to guard the ammunition train back to Burkville Station, at which place we arrived on the morning of the 13th instant and went into camp.

In conclusion, allow me to say I am proud of the little band I have the honor to command, and I am sure the State and country at large has reason to be proud of such a brave and noble set of men.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully,

J. C. HILL,

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Sixth Regiment Maryland Volunteers.

Captain W. L. SHAW,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

Report of Bvt. Brig. Gen. J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations March 25, 1865

 

HDQRS, SECOND BRIG., THIRD DIV., SIXTH ARMY CORPS, Camp at Burkeville, Va., April 16, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the part taken by this brigade on the 25th of March, 1865, in the charge upon and capture of the enemy's intrenched picket-line near Forts Fisher and Welch, in front of Petersburg, Va.:

This brigade, save the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, occupied the line of works including Forts Fisher, Welch, and Gregg, and was situated about three-quarters of a mile from the enemy's fortifications. The enemy's picket-line was strongly intrenched and manned by an unusually large number of men. About 1 p.m. of the 25th ultimo I received an order from Brig. Gen. T. Seymour, commanding division, to send two regiments to support our picket-line in an attack upon the picket-line of the enemy. I accordingly ordered the One hundred and tenth and One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Regiments, commanded respectively by Bvt. Col. 0. H. Binkley and Lieut. Col. C. M. Cornyn, to move outside the works for the purpose ordered. Colonel Binkley was directed to take command of both regiments. The picket of our division was composed of troops from the Tenth Vermont and Fourteenth New Jersey Regiments, of the First Brigade. Lieutenant-Colonel Damon, Tenth Vermont Volunteers, had been charged with the movement of the picket. The attack was made, but the greater portion of the pickets failed to advance. The two Ohio regiments moved forward, but being unsupported on either flank they halted before reaching the enemy's line, and subsequently retired to our own intrenched line. Both regiments met with considerable loss. Orders were then received by me to take charge of the troops and make the desired capture. I at once moved out the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, one battalion Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, and portions of the Sixth Maryland and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio Regiments, and under a severe fire from the enemy pushed them forward to our intrenched line, preparatory to making the charge. About 3 p. m., at a given signal, the troops charged, and without halting to fire passed over the enemy's lines, capturing over 200 prisoners. In the last charge the picket-line from the Tenth Vermont went forward in good style. Col. B. F. Smith, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, Bvt. Col. 0. H. Binkley, One hundred and tenth Ohio, Lieut. Cols. C. M. Cornyn, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, and James W. Snyder, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, and Maj. C. K. Prentiss, Sixth Maryland, led their men with great gallantry. Bvt. Lieut. Col. Aaron Spangler, One hundred and tenth Ohio Volunteers, received a severe wound in the leg while gallantly urging the men forward in the last charge. Lieutenant-Colonel Damon, Tenth Vermont, did his duty nobly. Capt. Simon Dickerhoof, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, who was division officer of the day at that time, also showed great coolness and gallantry. Notwithstanding a heavy artillery fire from the enemy's guns was concentrated upon the troops the captured line was held. It subsequently proved to be of great benefit to the corps by enabling troops to be formed behind it for an assault upon the enemy's main works. Copies of regimental reports are herewith transmitted. A summary of casualties is hereto appended.

I am, major, your obedient and humble servant,

J. WARREN KEIFER, Brevet Brigadier-General.

Bvt. Maj. 0. V. TRACY, Acty. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, Sixth Army Corps.

 

 

Reports of Bvt. Brig. Gen. J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry,
commanding Second Brigade, of operations on April 2, 1865

 

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS

Camp at Burkeville , Va. , April 14, 1865

MAJOR: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to report the operations of this brigade on the 2nd instant in the assault upon the enemy's works and in the engagement in front of Petersburg, Va.

Previous to the 2nd instant my command, with the exception of the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, occupied the line of works from Fort Fisher to Fort Gregg, inclusive of the forts named, and also Fort Welch, which was about the center of the brigade. The One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania occupied Fort Dushane on the rear line, near the Weldon railroad. The brigade was formed for the assault to the front and left of Fort Welch about 3 a.m., in three lines of battle, with its right resting at an almost impassable swamp and ravine, which separated its right from the left of the Second Division, Sixth Army Corps. The First Brigade of the Third Division was formed upon the left of my brigade. The brigade was formed just in rear of the old entrenched picket-line of the enemy which had been taken from him on the 25th ultimo. Much difficulty was experienced in getting the troops formed, in consequence of the deep darkness and the deep swamp to be passed through, and also from a severe and annoying fire from the enemy. A number of men were killed and a number of officers and men were wounded during the formation of the troops, notwithstanding the troops preserved good order and remained cool and steady. The One hundred and tenth and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio and Sixth Maryland Regiments were formed in the front line, from right to left, in the order named; the Ninth New York Heavy Artillery constituted the second line; and the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio One hundred and thirty-eighth and Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiments were formed in the rear line, from right to left, in the order named.

The signal to assault the enemy's works was given, by direction of Major-General Wright at precisely 4 a.m., by discharging a piece of artillery at Fort Fisher. Immediately after the signal was given the troops in the front line moved forward upon the enemy's outer works, which was held by a strong line of pickets, and captured them, and without halting or discharging a piece, although receiving a heavy fire from the enemy, the whole command moved upon the enemy's main works. Not even a temporary check transpired in passing through and over the double line of abatis, ditch, and strong earth-works. A hand-to-hand fight ensued within the main works, in which many gallant officers and men fell killed and wounded. The enemy in our front was soon killed, and wounded, captured, or dispersed. Although the enemy had a large amount of artillery in the works in our front, we suffered but little from it. The whole of his artillery in our front fell into our hands immediately upon entering the works. This brigade assaulted the enemy's works just to the left (the enemy's right) of a salient angle in the enemy's line of works. After gaining an entrance within the works the enemy were still firing over the works to our right and upon the First and Second Divisions of the Sixth Army Corps, but in a few moments he was driven from his entire line of works in front of the corps. This brigade captured 10 pieces of artillery immediately after entering the works, for which it received receipts; also a large number of prisoners, 3 battle-flags and Major General Heth's division headquarters' flag. The troops of the brigade were in some confusion after entering the works but the main body was at once directed along the enemy's fortifications to the left and upon a strong fort containing four pieces of artillery, which was soon captured. Although a number of troops of the division were hurried to this fort, yet when attacked by the enemy owing to their unorganized condition, the troops were driven back and the fort taken. At this juncture I directed Major William Wood and Brevet Major Lamoreaux, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, to place in position a four-gun battery, captured from the enemy, which they were prompt in doing, and fired the guns with good effect.

A portion of the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiments, after passing over the works, continued directly forward across the Boydton plank road to a camp of the enemy some distance in the rear of the fortifications, where they captured a large number of prisoners. Some of the troops continued as far to the northward as the South Side Railroad and destroyed the telegraph line and tore up two rails on the South Side road. Upon their return Corpl. John W. Mauk and Private Daniel Wolford, Company F, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, became separated from the other troops. Two mounted men with pistols in their hands rode upon them and demanded their surrender, which was refused. The mounted men told them that other troops were coming upon them. The corporal and private deliberately fired upon the mounted men, the corporal killing one of them, the other escaped. The corporal and his comrade, fearing that others of the enemy were near at hand, retreated to the main body of the troops. From the manner in which it is known that Lieutenant General A. P. Hill was killed, there can be no doubt but what Corporal Mauk killed him. One of General Hill's staff officers who was near him when he was shot, locates the place of his death at the same place the corporal related that he had shot an officer, before the death of General Hill was known by him.

The main body of the troops of the brigade soon retook the fort from which they had been driven, and with the other troops of the division, swept along the enemy's fortifications to the left as far as Hatcher's Run, and small parties of the brigade, with the brigade sharpshooters, crossed it and captured a large number of prisoners.

Twelve pieces of artillery were captured during this movement to the left by the troops of the Third Division. Captain William L. Shaw, with a small party of men, captured a four-gun battery and over fifty prisoners near Hatcher's Run. The prisoners were brought away and the guns were turned over to Brevet Brigadier-General Harris' brigade, in the Twenty-fourth Army Corps.

As the prisoners were all hastened to the rear, I am unable to approximate to the number captured by this brigade.

From Hatcher's Run the troops were hastened back to the place where the attack was first made, from whence the division was sent to the right and formed, fronting Petersburg, and upon the left and in support of the Ninth Army Corps.

Particular mention has already been made of the gallantry of officers, but it is due to Colonel M. R. McClennan, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania;Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Cornyn, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio; Lieutenant Colonel James W. Snyder Ninth New York Heavy Artillery; Major Clifton K. Prentiss, Sixth Maryland Volunteers; Majs. William and Anson S. Wood, Bvt. Major S. B. Lamoreaux, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, that their most brilliant services should be acknowledged here. Majors Wood and Lamoreaux, with men of the Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, were the first to turn and fire the enemy's guns upon him. Major Prentiss, Sixth Maryland, with a large portion of his regiment, was the first to penetrate the enemy's works, where, after a most bloody struggle, he fell severely, if not mortally, wounded. Five other officers of the Sixth Maryland were wounded very soon after entering the fortifications. Too much praise cannot be given the officers and men of this regiment.

So nearly at the same time were the colors of the One hundred and tenth Ohio, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania, and Sixth Maryland placed upon the enemy's works that each claims the honor of being the first.

Captain William D. Shellenberger, One hundred and tenth Ohio , received a severe wound in the arm while advancing upon the enemy's works. Captain H. H. Stevens, One hundred and tenth Ohio Volunteers, was shot dead after entering the fortifications.

Capts. George P. Boyer, One hundred and tenth Ohio, J. W. Moffatt and C. E. Patterson, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, J. J. Bradshaw, Sixth Maryland, and Charles J. Gibson, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, are among the many who specially distinguished themselves on that day.

Sergt. Francis M. McMillen, Company C, and Private Isaac James, Company H, One hundred and tenth Ohio , and Private Milton Blickensderfer, Company E, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio , each captured battle-flags. Private George Loyd, Company A, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio , captured Major-General Heth's division headquarters' flag. Sergt. Judah Taylor, Company A, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, is reported by his regimental commander as having captured a battle-flag, which he gave up to two officers whose names are not known to him.

The names of many other enlisted men might in justice to them be mentioned. They have already been named in a separate report.

Captain William L. Shaw, acting assistant adjutant-general of this brigade, and other members of the brigade staff deserve special mention for their good conduct. Captain Harrison D. Yarmett, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Volunteers, who commanded the brigade sharpshooters, was particularly efficient and active. He showed superior skill and judgment.

My orders for the day's operations were received from and through Brigadier General T. Seymour, who in person accompanied the troops in the assault. Major-General Wright and Brigadier-General Seymour were present with the troops directing the operations of the day.

Copies of regimental reports are herewith transmitted.

A numerical list of casualties is hereto annexed.

I am, major, your obedient and humble servant,

J. WARREN KEIFER,

Brevet Brigadier-General Volunteers.

Bvt. Major O. V. TRACY,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS,
Camp at Burkeville, Va., April 17, 1865

MAJOR: I have the honor, as required in orders, to forward the names of enlisted men, who, by their gallantry and good conduct, deserve rewards at the hands of those in authority.
One hundred and thirty-eight Pennsylvania Volunteers.- Sergt. Maj. Osceola Lewis, who was conspicuous for bravery and meritorious conduct on the 2d and 6th instant. He rendered most valuable assistance to the commanding officer of this regiment on the days above named.
Color-Sergt. Charles R. Jones, Company C, for bravery in waving the colors of his regiment in the face of the enemy on the 6th instant, with a view to encourage the men in the attack.
Corpl. Trustrim Connell, Company I, for gallant conduct and the capture of the battle-flag of the Tenth Virginia (rebel) Infantry.

Sixth Maryland Volunteers. Sergt. Maj. Frederick Boltze; First Sergt. John D. Hall, Company B; First Sergt. Whitfield Stansbury, Company C; Color-Sergt. Robert Spence, Company B; Color-Corpl. William J. Brown, Company K; Color-Corpl. Jesse Arnold, Company C; Corpl. John Traver, Private Josiah E. Willhide, and Private George Damuth, Company D; Sergt. John E. Buffington, Company C; Corpl. Henry Cinton, Company F; Sergt. Peter Stone, Company I; Privates Samuel F. Barrett and Albert T. Gregg, Company G; Corpl. Amos Davis, Company H; First Sergt. Samuel Kearney, Company I.

The above-named enlisted men of the Sixth Maryland are each reported by their company and regimental commanders as having been conspicuous for bravery in the charge on the 2d instant, and in the battle of the 6th instant at Sailor's Creek, Va.

Sixth-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. - Corpl. John Keough, Company E, for gallantry in capturing the colors of the Fiftieth Georgia Regiment. Sergts. Horace P. Warfield, Company C, John Larimer, Company H., William A. Rager, Company E, are reported by their regimental commanders as having distinguished themselves by their bravery and good conduct in keeping up the men in the battle of Sailor's Creek, Va. ...

Privates Richard Netz, Company F, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, Lewis H. Shreeve, Company A, Sixth Maryland, Oliver F. Plank, Company B, and George W. Ickes, Company D, One hundred thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, mounted orderlies at my headquarters, were each distinguished for gallantry in the battles of the 2d and 6th instant. They have shown superior gallantry on the former occasions. Richard Netz, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, carried the brigade colors at the head of the troops in the attack at Sailor's Creek, on the 6th instant. I take great pleasure in recommending each for rewards.

I am, major, with high esteem, your obedient servant and humble servant,

J. WARREN KEIFER,
Brevet Brigadier-General.

Bvt. Maj. O. V. TRACY,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, Sixth Army Corps.

 

 

Reports of Bvt. Brig. Gen. J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry,
commanding Second Brigade, of operations on April 3-13, 1865

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS,

Camp at Burkeville, Va., April 18, 1865.


MAJOR: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to forward a report of movement and operations of this brigade from the 3d to the 13th of April, 1865 inclusive.

After the movements and operations of the 2d instant the brigade bivouacked for the night in front of Petersburg, Va. Early on the morning of the 3d it was ascertained that Petersburg was evacuated on the night previous by the rebel army and reports were received, which proved to be true, that Richmond, the rebel capital, was also evacuated on the same night. About 9 a.m. on the 3d this brigade, with the division and corps, commenced the pursuit of the enemy by the road in the direction of Burkeville Junction, Va. The pursuit was continued on the 4th and 5th. Just after dark of the 5th instant the brigade went into position, on the left of the corps, in two lines, near Jetersville, Va., facing Amelia Court-House, its left connecting with the Fifth Army Corps. The front line threw up slight earth-works.

Early upon the morning of the 6th instant the brigade, with the corps, advanced toward Amelia Court-House, in the vicinity of which it was known that the rebel Army of Northern Virginia had been concentrated. The troops moved forward about three miles, when information was obtained that the rebel army had withdrawn and was then moving around the left flank of the army and it the direction of Burkeville Junction. The troops were marched back by the way of Jetersville, and moved upon a road which enabled the corps to strike the enemy in flank. The corps came up with General Sheridans's cavalry about 3 p.m. of the 6th instant. This brigade was in the advance of the corps; the brigade sharpshooters and the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Regiment were rapidly deployed as skirmishers, and the other regiments formed in two lines in their rear. Without delay or scarcely a halt for the formation the whole brigade was pushed forward, as directed by Major-General Wright through Brigadier-General Seymour. During the movement I caused two companies of the One hundred and tenth Ohio to deploy to the right to protect the flank. The enemy was moving troops and trains upon a road which extended parallel to our then front. A short distance from the road upon which the enemy was marching a brisk skirmish ensued between my advance and troops of the enemy, but the road was soon gained, and a considerable number of prisoners and wagons captured. The brigade struck the main road upon which the enemy was moving at the junction of a road which led off to the right and at right angles with it. The greater part of the skirmish line-One hundred and tenth Ohio and Ninth New York Heavy Artillery-was ordered to pursue a body of the enemy which had retreated on that road. The enemy also had a section of artillery upon that road, from which they fired shell and canister shot, but without producing much damage. The troops in pursuit soon compelled the artillery to withdraw from its first position to a second. Although the troops had performed a march of over eighteen miles they eagerly pressed forward, and were in the act of making a second charge upon the artillery when orders were received purporting to come from Major-General Sheridan to halt and allow the cavalry to charge. The cavalry charge was not made. The section of artillery was very soon withdrawn, but it is believed that it was subsequently captured. The Sixth Maryland, Sixty-seventh and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiments were reformed in line across the main road upon which the enemy had been moving, and at once commenced his pursuit. The rear guard of the enemy was soon overtaken and attacked; it was vigorously pressed for about one mile, to and cross Sailor's Creek. The enemy being cut off from retreat by cavalry, under command of Major-General Custer, were forced to give battle, and for that purpose formed his line behind Sailor's Creek. The divisions of General Pickett, Kershaw, Custis Lee, and also the Marine Brigade, commanded by Commodore Tucker, the whole under the command of Lieut. Gen. R. S. Ewell, are known to have participated in the battle. Artillery was brought within range of the enemy and opened a destructive fire upon him. The First Brigade, Third Division, and the First Division, Sixth Army Corps, were soon upon the ground and formed for an attack. Although staff officers were sent to withdraw the part of this brigade a portion arrived in time to participate in the final engagement, in consequence of the refusal of officers in the Second Army Corps, which had then come upon our right, to allow them to be withdrawn from their front. An attack was ordered to be made by Maj. Gen. H. G. Wright, commanding corps, with the troops already upon the ground. A concentrated artillery fire was directed upon the enemy's center, under cover of which the troops advanced through and across the swamp, and at once charged up the steep hills upon which the enemy was posted. A severe conflict ensued as the lines of the opposing forces came together. A number of men were bayoneted on both sides. The enemy had a heavy column massed in the rear of his center, with which he charged upon our troops. Owing to the fact that our troops could only be fought in one line, the enemy succeeded in breaking through the center and gaining a momentary success. The troops on the right and left continued the advance until the enemy's column in the center was enveloped and cut to pieces and captured. The enemy was soon routed at all points, and many general officers and many thousands of prisoners threw down their arms and surrendered. The rebel Marine Brigade fought with most extraordinary courage, but was finally cut off and captured. Commodore Tucker, Commander Hunter, Captain Semmes and about twenty-five naval officers, with the brigade, surrendered to me.
It is impossible to give the number of prisoners captured by troops of this brigade. Two battle-flags were taken from the enemy during the conflict. Corpl. John Keough, Sixth-seventh Pennsylvania, and Corpl. Trustrim Connell, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, each captured a battle-flag.

Much gallantry and many acts of distinguished bravery were noticed during the attack. Unusual credit id due the troops for the vigorous manner in which they attacked the enemy, considering the long and tiresome march made on the same day. Lieut. Col. J. C. Hill, commanding Sixth Maryland, was captured by the enemy, but soon after persuaded his captors, including a number of officers and men, to surrender to him and come within our lines.

During the entire day's operations, Col. M. R. McClennan, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania; Bvt. Col. O. H. Binkley, One hundred and tenth Ohio; Lieut. Cols. C. M. Cornyn, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, and James W. Snyder, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, regimental commanders, showed great skill, judgment, and bravery. Maj. William G. Williams, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, commanding Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania, was particularly gallant. Maj. William Wood, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, while leading his battalion in a charge, received a dangerous wound from a canister shot in the face. Majs. Anson S. Wood, S. B. Lamoreaux, and Capts. George W. Brinkerhoff, Henry J. Rhodes, and Chauncey Fish, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery; and Capts. George P. Boyer, One hundred and tenth Ohio, Charles J. Gibson and Moses D. Wheeler, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, John J. Bradshaw, John G. Simpers, and Charles A. Damuth, Sixth Maryland, and Simon Dickerhoof, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiments, are among the many who did their duty nobly. Capt. Harrison D. Yarmett, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, commanding brigade sharpshooters, handled his men as skirmishers with great skill and success. Capt. William L. Shaw, One hundred and tenth Ohio, acting assistant adjutant-general of brigade; Capt. J. P. Dudrow, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio; Capt. William H. Abercrombie, Sixth Maryland and Second Lieut. R. W. Cook, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, acting aides-de-camp; and Capt. J. W. Jewhurst, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, serving upon brigade staff-were particularly active, efficient, and brave. Capt. T. J. Hoskinson, commissary of subsistence of the brigade, was conspicuous for gallantry upon the field.

Privates Richard Netz, One hundred and thirty-sixth Ohio, and George W. Ickes, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, mounted orderlies, accompanied me with the advance of the troops in the field attack, the former carrying the brigade flag. Their most commendable conduct should not be forgotten.

The troops were moved from the scene of the battle after dark toward Rice's Station, and bivouacked for the night about two miles and a half from the battle-ground and about three miles from Rice's Station. The remnant of the rebel army retreated, via Farmville, across the Appomattox River toward Appomattox Court-House, Va., and was closely pursued. This brigade, with the division and the corps, crossed the river at Farmville about 10 p.m. of the 7th, and bivouacked for the night.

The enemy was closely followed on the 8th and the 9th of April until about 2 p.m. of the 9th instant, when the troops halted about six miles from Appomattox Court-House, were soon after informed that General R. E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. The rebel army was then in our immediate front and not to exceed five miles from Appomattox Court-House, Va. The wildest enthusiasm prevailed among the troops upon being informed of the surrender.

Early on the morning of the 11th instant the brigade, with the corps, commenced the march to this place, where it arrived on the 13th instant and went into camp. The One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, Col. B. F. Smith commanding, was detached from the brigade on the night of the 5th of April to guard prisoners, and did not rejoin the brigade until April 15, 1865.

Detailed reports of the operations of regiments are herewith transmitted.

My orders were received from and through Brig. Gen. T. Seymour, commanding division, to whom I beg here to tender my thanks for his uniform courtesy to me.

The once defiant rebel Army of Northern Virginia being utterly vanquished, the troops are in the highest possible spirits at the prospect of an early and universal peace in our country.

I am, major, with high esteem, your obedient servant and humble servant,

J. WARREN KEIFER,
Brevet Brigadier-General, commanding.

Bvt. Maj. O. V. TRACY,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, Sixth Army Corps.

 

 

Report of Brigadier General Truman Seymour, Commanding Third Division, of operations on April 2, 1865

 

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, SIXTH ARMY CORPS, April 17, 1865

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division in the assault upon the lines of Petersburg , April 2, 1865:

The command was placed in position directly in rear of the old picket-line and in front of Fort Welch . It formed the left of the corps; the Second Brigade, Brevet Brigadier-General Keifer commanding, being on the right of the division, and the First Brigade, Colonel William S. Truex, Fourteenth New Jersey Volunteers, commanding, on the left; each being in three lines. The troops were moved out of camp soon after midnight, and while forming were exposed to a severe and close fire of musketry from the enemy's picket-line, by which a number of officers and men were slain, but it was borne with great patience, until about 4 o'clock, when the firing of the signal gun from Fort Fisher let loose the corps upon the enemy's works. The men sprang forward with alacrity, jumped the picket-line, and pushed steadily forward. They were met by a sharp fire from the enemy's pickets, which was soon suppressed, and by a heavy enfilanding fire of artillery from the left of our point of attack. But the men moved forward with enthusiastic cheers, forced the lines of abatis in front of the rebel works, and mounted the parapet. A hand-to-hand conflict ensued, and not a few gallant officers and men, nobly in advance, were seriously wounded, but the enemy was soon overpowered, and the works were ours. For some moments after the entrance of this division the firing continued on our right, upon the other divisions of the corps.

It is difficult to distinguished from among the many acts of conspicuous gallantry in this assault. The colors of the Tenth Vermont in the First Brigade, and of the Sixth Maryland in the Second, were honorably prominent in the advance of regiments, though they can, nevertheless, be scarcely said to have led. Major Prentiss, commanding the Sixth Maryland, was seriously, if not mortally, wounded while on the very parapet encouraging his command by his chivalric courage.

Agreeably to instructions from Major-General Wright the division was immediately swung to the left, and advanced within and along the works, toward Hatcher's Run. Serious resistance was offered by a battery in front of the Twenty-fourth Corps position, but several of the guns already captured, served by detachments of the Ninth New York Artillery, under Major William Wood and Brevet Major Lamoreaux, were promptly turned upon the enemy. Major Cowan's battery came into position, a portion of the division advanced, and the battery fell [back]. In succession the whole line nearly to Hatcher's Run was swept by the division, some twenty odd guns and many hundred prisoners with four flags, falling into our possession.

It is proper to add that the rebel Lieutenant General A. P. Hill was shot toward the right of the line by Corporal Mauk, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, while with a small party returning from tearing up the South Side Railroad.

The brigade commanders, Bvt. Brigadier General J. Warren Keifer and Colonel William S. Truex, are highly commended for constant energy and skill in the management of their brigades. Their reports are inclosed, and to them I must refer for mention of the distinguished gallantry with which many of their officers and men conducted themselves.

To the division staff I am under special obligations for assistance rendered during this engagement, and I take pleasure in naming Bvt. Major Andrew J. Smith, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain E. S. Norvell, pioneer officer, and Lieutenant S. H. Lewis, acting aide-de-camp, for more than ordinary good conduct; while to Bvt. Major O. V. Tracy, division inspector; Bvt. Major J. C. Robinson, Captain G. A. Earnshaw, and Lieutenant R. N. Verplanck aides-de-camp, my thanks are also especially due.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. SEYMOUR,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major C. H. WHITTELSEY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Sixth Army Corps.

 

 

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