The Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House

& Cold Harbor

After Action Reports

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation

of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies


(OR, Vol. 36, Part I, p.728-740)

Report of Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour, U. S. Army, commanding

Second Brigade, of operations May 5-6.



August 12, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of my command, the Second Brigade, Third Division (Ricketts'), in connection with the battles of May 5 and 6 in the Wilderness:

To this brigade I was assigned on the morning of the 5th instant. It consisted of the One hundred and tenth Ohio (Col. J. W. Keifer), One hundred arid twenty-second Ohio (Col. William H. Ball), One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio (Col. B. F. Smith), One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania (Col. M. R. McClennan), to which was attached a battalion of the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania, and the Sixth Maryland (Col. J. W. Horn). During the morning I was directed to report to you (then commanding First Division, Sixth Corps), and was posted on the extreme right of the line of battle then forming. The Sixth Maryland and One hundred and tenth Ohio were placed in the first line, the latter regiment on the right the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio in a second line, in the order named from left to right, the latter regiment being well thrown back to protect the right flank. The position was on gently rolling ground, thickly covered with trees. The enemy was directly in front. About 5 p.m. an advance was made and the enemy's skirmishers driven back some distance so as to clear the ground in our immediate front. About 6 o'clock an attack was made along the line, and under the impression that we overlapped the enemy's left, and that he was weak in our front, from the detaching of troops to his right, I was to swing around so as to take him in flank. A vigorous advance was made and the enemy was soon found, but sheltered by log breastworks and extending so far beyond me that his fire came upon the prolongation of our line with the greatest severity. Under these circumstances, it was impossible to gain any decided advantage. Ground somewhat in advance of our original position was, however, held. The Sixth Maryland and One hundred and tenth Ohio suffered very severely, the Sixth Maryland losing 180 officers and men in killed and wounded, and the One hundred and tenth losing 113. Major McElwain, One hundred and tenth Ohio, was, unfortunately, killed - one of the best and bravest officers of my command. Captain Smith and Lieutenant McKnight of the same regiment were mortally wounded, both excellent officers. Capt. A. B. Martin and Lieut. Alexander F. Myers, of the Sixth Maryland, were also lost (two of the choicest officers of that superior regiment), and during the night there was close firing, by which a number fell. Among others the gallant Colonel Keifer was disabled, after having conducted himself with distinguished courage and energy during the day. The enemy through the night was constantly strengthening his line; the cutting and felling of trees was continual, and the movement of guns to his left was distinctly heard.

On the morning of the 6th Brig. Gen. Alexander Shaler reported to me with a part of his brigade, which was immediately posted in extension of my right. This additional force did not much more than compensate for the loss of space due to the casualties of the preceding afternoon, and the closing in to General Neill's brigade on my left for the same cause. The second line of my brigade now replaced the first, and at 7 o'clock another attack was ordered, and the two brigades moved forward impetuously, but when within a few rods of the enemy's works, received such discharges of musketry as entirely to deprive the attack of impulsion. The fire from the enemy's artillery was also severe and close. In spite of the superb steadiness of the men and the best efforts of their brave officers of both brigades, no decisive advantage could be claimed. The enemy's line still extended beyond our right, and our formation was even now thin and weak for attacking. The casualties were again very heavy. The One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania lost 153 during the day, with two of the finest young officers, Lieuts. J. H. Fisher and John E. Essick. Of the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, Captain Work was killed, known for a noble coolness in battle, an officer held in high esteem by his regiment, and Captain Harding, Lieutenants Kilburn and Niemeyer were, unfortunately, severely wounded. Capt. R. M. Lyons, of the One hundred and twenty-sixth, Capt. 0. W. France, Capt. J. S. McCready, and Lieut. Robert Hillis, among the choicest and best of officers, were killed.

During the day directions were received to strengthen our line by laying up log shelters, which was effected, except on the extreme right of General Shaler's line, where contact was so close and exposure so great as to forbid this work by day. The two brigades were now virtually in a single line, the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania and One hundred and tenth Ohio being alone held in the second line and as supports. Just before sunset the enemy made an attack by throwing a brigade around the right and directly into the rear of my line, which was rolled up with great rapidity. Portions of the command faced to the rear and held their position for a short time, but were compelled to give way. The One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania was promptly moved to check the enemy's advance, but yielding to the temporary panic, also fell to the rear. Near the termination of this attack, while riding toward the enemy to ascertain his force and position, I was taken prisoner. Lieut. A. J. Harrison, acting assistant adjutant-general of my staff, while bravely exerting himself to rally our men, was severely wounded, and fell into the enemy's hands. To Capt. J. W. Ross, brigade inspector, and my aides, Lieut. C. N. Jackson, Lieut. Daniel Peck, and Lieut. J. A. Gump, as well as to Lieutenant Harrison, I am indebted for the display of the highest soldierly qualities on every occasion, and I acknowledge my indebtedness to them for their constant attention to duty. And I cannot fail to mention Surg. J. S. Martin, Fourteenth New Jersey, for gallant conduct, in remaining under close fire and attending faithfully upon many severely hurt, who, from our situation, could not readily be removed. His example was glorious.

In the movements of my command, I am pleased to say that it behaved with the most commendable gallantry, and the conduct of every officer and man, so far as I know, was praiseworthy and exemplary. That after two such combats, worn and fatigued, they should have failed before comparatively fresh troops, will be justly considered as no more than was to be expected, nor was it more than I anticipated and expressed to the then commander of the corps. The right of the line was perfectly unsupported, and of necessity so thin that successful resistance to such a flank attack was at least improbable. The commanders of regiments, without exception, are recommended to your favorable notice, Colonels Smith, Keifer, and Horn more particularly, for prominent gallantry and efficiency.

The report of Brigadier-General Shaler accompanies this. I respectfully commend him to your consideration for the personal bravery and intelligence with which he handled his brigade.

Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,



Maj. Gen. H. G. WRIGHT,

Commanding Sixth Army Corps.

Report of Col. J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.



Camp near Cedar Creek, Va., November 1, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of operations of this command, commencing May 4, 1864, and ending July 9, 1864: This brigade was composed May 4, 1864, of the One hundred and tenth, One hundred and twenty-second, and One hundred and twenty- sixth Ohio, Sixth Maryland, and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments, and a detachment of men from the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania, temporarily attached to the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania. The regiments were commanded, respectively, by myself, Col. W. H. Ball, Lieut. Col. A. W. Ebright, Col. John W. Horn, and Col. M. R. McClennan. The brigade was commanded on that day by Col. B. F. Smith, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio. The brigade moved from its camp near Culpeper Court-House, Va., at daylight on the 4th of May, and crossed the Rapidan River at Germanna Ford about sunset of the same day, and bivouacked for the night on the bank of the river. Early upon the morning of the 5th of May, Brig. Gen. T. Seymour assumed command of the brigade, relieving Colonel Smith.


The brigade moved about 8 a. m. upon the Germanna Ford road, leading to the Fredericksburg and Orange Court-House pike, but had not proceeded far until orders were received to return to and guard the ford and pontoon bridges, which it did. At about 11 a. m. the brigade again marched toward the turnpike above named, and arriving near it, was halted upon a hill to the right of the road upon which it had marched. About 1 p. m. orders were received for The brigade to proceed to the right of the line, and report to General H. G. Wright, commanding a division of the Sixth Corps. Heavy firing had already commenced along the line. This brigade went into position in two lines, about 2 p. m., upon the extreme right of the army, the One hundred and tenth Ohio and Sixth Maryland in the front, and the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio in the rear line. Under orders from Brigadier-General Seymour, skirmishers were advanced from the two regiments in the front line, who soon brought on a brisk skirmish. Capt. Luther Brown, One hundred and tenth Ohio, and Capt. C. K. Prentiss, Sixth Maryland, who were in command of our skirmishers, pressed the enemy's skirmishers back for a short distance, and closely engaged them until about 5 p.m., when an advance of the brigade was made. I received orders from General Seymour to assume general charge of the first line, to press the enemy, and, if possible, outflank him upon his left. The troops charged forward in gallant style, pressing the enemy back by 6 p. m. about one-half mile, when we came upon him upon the slope of a hill, intrenched behind logs, which had been hurriedly thrown together. During the advance the troops were twice halted, and a fire opened, killing and wounding a considerable number of the enemy. The front line being upon the extreme right of the army, and the troops upon its left (said to have been commanded by Brigadier-General Neill) failing to move for- ward in conjunction with it, I deemed it prudent to halt, without making an attack upon the enemy's line. After a short consultation with Col. John W. Horn, I sent word to Brigadier-General Seymour that the advance line of the brigade was unsupported upon either flank, and that the enemy overlapped the right and left of the line, and was apparently in heavy force, rendering it impossible for the troops to attain success in a further attack. This word was sent by Lieutenant Gump, of General Seymour's staff. I soon after received an order to attack at once. Feeling sure that the word I sent had not been received, I delayed until a second order was received to attack. I accordingly made the attack without further delay. The attack was made about 7 p. m. The troops were in a thick arid dense wilderness. The line was advanced to within 150 yards of the enemy's works, under a most terrible fire from the front and flanks. It was impossible to succeed; but the two regiments, notwithstanding, maintained their ground, and kept up a rapid fire for nearly three hours, and then retired under orders for a short distance only. I was wounded about 8.30 p. in., by a rifle-ball passing through both bones of the left fore-arm, but did not relinquish command until 9 p. m. The troops were required to maintain this unequal contest under the belief that other troops were to attack the enemy upon his flank. In this attack, the Sixth Maryland lost in killed 2 officers and 16 men, and 8 officers and 132 men wounded; and the One hundred and tenth Ohio lost 1 officer and 13 men killed, and 6 officers amid 93 men wounded, making an aggregate in the two regiments of 271.

Maj. William S. McElwain, One hundred and tenth Ohio, who had won the commendations of all who knew him, for his skill, judgment, and gallantry, was among the killed.
Lieutenant Myers, Sixth Maryland, was also killed. Capt. John M. Smith and Lieut. Joseph McKnight, One hundred and tenth Ohio, and Capt. Adam B. Martin. Sixth Maryland, were mortally wounded and have since died. Capt. J. B. Van Eaton and Lieuts. H. H. Stevens and G. 0. McMillen, One hundred and tenth Ohio, Maj. J. C. Hill, Capts. A. Billingslea, J. L. Goldsborough, J. J. Bradshaw, and J. R. Rouzer, and Lieuts. J. A. Schwartz, C. A. Damuth and D. J. Smith, Sixth Maryland, were more or less severely wounded. All displayed the greatest bravery, and deserve the thanks of the country. Col. John W. Horn, Sixth Maryland, and Lieut. Col. 0. H. Binkley, One hundred and tenth Ohio, deserve to be specially mentioned for their courage, skill, and ability. Captains Brown, One hundred and tenth Ohio, and Prentiss, Sixth Maryland, distinguished themselves in their successful management of skirmishers.

From reports of this night attack, published in the Richmond papers, it is known that the rebel Brig. Gen. J. M. Jones (commanding the Stonewall brigade) and many others, were killed in the attack.

In consequence of my wound I was not with the brigade after the battle of the Wilderness, during its memorable and bloody campaign, until August 26, 1864, and I am unable to give its movements and operations from personal knowledge. The brigade was commanded by Brig. Gen. T. Seymour until his capture, May 6, 1864, after which, with the exception of short intervals, it was commanded by Col. B. F. Smith, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio. Colonel Smith is now absent from the brigade.

Early on the morning of the 6th of May the brigade formed in two lines of battle, and assaulted the enemy's works in its front - the One hundred and twenty-second and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania in the front line, and the One hundred and tenth Ohio and Sixth Maryland in the rear line. The brigade was still the extreme right of the army. The assault was most vigorously made, but the enemy was found in too great numbers, and too strongly fortified to be driven from his position. After suffering very heavy loss the troops were withdrawn to their original position, where slight fortifications were thrown up. In the charge the troops behaved most gallantly. The One hundred and twenty-second and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania lost very heavily. About 2 p. m. Brigadier-General Shaler's brigade, of the First Division, Sixth Army Corps, took position upon the right of the brigade, and became the extreme right of the army. Skirmishing continued until about sunset, when the enemy turned the right of the army, and made an attack upon its flank and rear, causing the troops to give way rapidly, and compelling them to fall back for some distance before they were reformed. So rapid was the enemy's advance upon the flank and rear, that time was not given to change front to meet him, and some confusion occurred in the retreat. Few prisoners were lost in the brigade. The hues were soon re-established, and the progress of the enemy stopped. An attack was made by the enemy upon the re-established line about 8 p. in., but was handsomely repulsed. Unfounded reports were circulated that the troops of this brigade were the first to give way when the first attack of the enemy was made. It is not improper to state here that no charges of bad conduct are made against the troops upon its right, but that this brigade remained at its post and successfully resisted a simultaneous attack from the front until the troops upon its right were doubled back and were retreating in disorder through and along its lines.

About 7 a. m. of May 7 the troops were moved a short distance to the left and threw up temporary earth-works. The enemy made a show of attack soon after, but were driven back and severely punished by artillery fire. Skirmishing continued throughout the day. This brigade was detached during the battle of the Wilderness from the other troops of the division, and received orders from Major-General Wright, commanding First Division, Sixth Army Corps.


The march to Spotsylvania Court-House Commenced at 8 p. m. May 7. The troops moved all night, and after a tedious and tiresome march arrived in position near Spotsylvania Court-House about 6 p. m. May 8, and found the enemy in front in strong works. Immediate preparations were made for an assault, which, however, was not made. After dark an advance was made as near the enemy's position as possible without bringing on an engagement. The troops were rationed for the first time on the campaign at this place. Breast-works were constructed along the frontline. The lamented Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, commanding the Sixth Army Corps, was killed by a rifle-shot in the head from a rebel sharp-shooter near the Sixth Maryland Regiment, on the 9th of May. On the 10th a desperate attack was made by the enemy on the right of the brigade, which was handsomely repulsed. In addition to the continuous and heavy skirmishing, a furious artillery fire was kept up all day. The brigade was moved from its position on the 11th a short distance to the left. Constant skirmishing still continued. On the 12th the brigade, with the division, was formed 1 mile to the left, about 11 a. in., in support of the First and Second Divisions, Sixth Army Corps, but was not heavily engaged. The One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio was detached about 12 in., and went to the assistance of Brigadier-General Wheaton's brigade, Second Division, Sixth Corps. It was marched to the front line and engaged the enemy. Fifty rounds of ammunition were exhausted before the regiment was withdrawn. Its loss was 16 enlisted men killed, and 1 officer and 53 enlisted men wounded. Lieut. Col. A. W. Ebright, commanding the regiment, was wounded in the head. He signally distinguished himself in this engagement. The enemy was compelled to abandon his works in the night, and, on the morning of the 13th, was found in a new position some distance to the rear. At evening the brigade moved back to the position occupied upon the 12th.

The morning of the 14th of May the brigade moved to the heights on the north bank of the Ny River. The evening of the same day the brigade charged in line of battle across the river, and took the heights upon the opposite bank, from which troops from the First Division, Sixth Corps, had been driven. The brigade at once in-trenched, and remained in position until the evening of the 17th, at which time it commenced to march back again to its position of the 12th. The brigade reached its position about 6 a.m. of the 18th, and there remained under a heavy artillery fire from the enemy until 12 m., and then commenced a march again to its position on the south bank of the Ny River, near the Anderson house, arriving about 7 p. m. The brigade moved forward on the 16th of May about 2 miles, but did not bring on a general engagement, and again intrenched. Some changes were made in the line on the 21st, after which brisk skirmishing ensued.


The march from the position last mentioned to the North Anna River commenced at 10 p. m. May 21, and was attended with no fighting, the brigade having been detailed as guard for ammunition and headquarters train. On the evening of the 25th of May the brigade was relieved from duty as train guard, and reported to Brig. Gen. J. B. Ricketts, commanding division, and immediately went into position on the south bank of the North Anna River. On the 26th of May the Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, commanded by Lieut. Col. W. H. Seward, joined this brigade. On the same day the brigade was marched about 3 miles to the Virgina Central Railroad, at Noel's Station, and immediately countermarched to its former position on the North Anna River.


Leaving this last-named position and recrossing the North Anna River, about 7 p. m. commenced the march for the Pamunkey River. The brigade reached the river and crossed at Sailor's Ford at 12 m. on the 28th of May; marched about 2 miles from it, and again halted and intrenched. The brigade remained in position, skirmishing continually, until daylight of May 30, when it moved with the division in a northwesterly direction, striking the Hanover Court-House and Richmond turnpike at the 17-mile post abont 10 a. m.; thence along that road to the Totopotomoy River, arriving upon its north bank at 5 p. m., where the brigade was formed in line of battle. In this position the brigade remained until 12 m. of the 31st, when it was moved across the river and formed in line of battle on the south bank. Heavy skirmishing ensued throughout the remainder of the day, the enemy being in front in strong earth-works. At 12 midnight commenced the march to Cold Harbor, by the way of Salem Church, arriving about 10.30 a. m. June 1, 1864. The cavalry which preceded were relieved on the skirmish line by the One hundred and tenth Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Binkley commanding. Intrenchmnents were thrown up. About 2 p. m. the brigade was moved from its works a short distance to the left and formed in four lines of battle preparatory to a charge, the Sixth Maryland and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania in the first line, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery in the second and third lines, and the One hundred and twenty-second and One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio in the fourth line. At 6 p.m. a general assault was made upon the enemy in his works. This brigade carried the works in its front and captured several hundred prisoners, who were taken to the rear. The captured works were held and the enemy forced back. Repeated efforts were made by the enemy during the succeeding night to retake the works, but he was each time repulsed with heavy loss. The officers and men of the brigade deserve great praise for their valor in this battle. I regret to say that I am unable to mention the officers who were most conspicuous. Colonels Horn and McClennan, who commanded the advance line, were particularly gallant in leading their men into the works. The following communication was received, highly commending the troops for their conduct on that day:

June 1, 1864.

Major-General WRIGHT:

Please give my thanks to Brigadier-General Ricketts and his gallant command for the very handsome manner in which they have conducted themselves to-day. The success attained by them is of great importance, and if followed up will materially advance our operations. Respectfully, yours,

GEO. G. MEADE, Major-General, Commanding

Brigadier-General RICKETTS, Headquarters Third Division, Sixth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Major-General Wright directs me to say that he transmits the within to you with great pleasure.

Your obedient servant,

Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

June 2, the captured works were altered and strengthened for defensive operations. No general engagement occurred on this day, but skirmishing and artillery fire continued. On the 3d of June Col. John W. Horn assumed temporary command of the brigade in consequence of the indisposition of Colonel Smith. The brigade formed (One hundred and tenth and One hundred and twenty-second Ohio in the first line, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery in the second, and third lines, and the Sixth Maryland, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio, and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania in the fourth line), moved forward about 6 a. m. June 3, a distance of 200 yards, and then, under a heavy fire of the enemy, intrenched, using bayonets, tin cups, and plates for this purpose. Many valiant officers were killed and wounded on this day. From the 3d to the 10th gradual approaches were made toward the enemy's works by means of zig-zag lines. Heavy firing was constantly kept up along the lines. The Third Division moved to the rear and left about 2 a. m. June 11, and halted in rear of the Second Division, Second Army Corps. At dusk the division relieved the portion of the line then occupied by the Second Division, Second Army Corps. Colonel Smith resumed command of the brigade June 12.

I am, captain, truly, your obedient and humble servant,

Colonel 110th Ohio Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. ANDREW J. SMITH, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, Sixth Corps.



Report of Col. John W. Horn, Sixth Maryland Infantry.


September 14, 1864.

SIR : I hereby transmit you a detailed account of the operations of this regiment from May 4, 1864, to July 9, 1864.


On the 3d day of May my regiment was on picket, I being division officer of the day. At noon was ordered to report to General Ricketts, and from him received orders to withdraw my pickets at 8 a. m. that day, as the corps was to move at 4 a. m. next morning. At the appointed time I withdrew the line and reached camp about midnight. Next morning, May 4, moved from camp with 419 muskets and 23 officers in line, taking the road to Germanna Ford, which we reached and crossed about 4 p. m., and went into camp for the night, supporting the artillery of the corps, who had also encamped for the night. Just before 6 a. m. on the 5th Brig. Gen. T. Seymour arrived and assumed command of the brigade, relieving Col. B. F. Smith, One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Next morning [?] May 5, marched at daylight in the direction of the Wilderness by the plank road, about 4 miles, but found we had passed the point where the brigade was to turn to the right; consequently we had to countermarch, and moved back about 1 mile, turning to the left into the woods, and took up a position on the right of our corps; our brigade being formed in two lines of battle, my regiment and the One hundred and tenth Ohio forming the first line, my regiment being on the left, connecting with the Fourth New Jersey Regiment, of the First Division, Sixth Army Corps. As soon as the line was formed, I was ordered to throw out one company from my regiment as skirmishers, relieving a portion of the Fourth New Jersey and covering my own regimental front. This I did, and they at once became heavily engaged with the enemy's skirmishers. About 5 p. m. I received orders that the enemy's works were to be charged, and that I should move forward the moment the First Division on my left did. At a few minutes past 5 p. m. the lines went forward with a shout, driving the enemy before them until we came upon their works, when we were checked, and a terrible fire of musketry opened upon us. We held the position gained, however, until about 10 o'clock at night, having no orders to fall back, although I had repeatedly reported that I had no support upon my left, the regiment on my left having fallen back as soon as checked by the enemy. Shortly after 10 (as near as I can remember) I received orders to fall back, which I did. I fell back about 200 yards, and formed the remainder of my regiment in line of battle, ordering them to rest upon their arms. In the engagement I lost heavily in officers and men, some of my dead and wounded falling into the hands of the enemy.

May 6. - I was with my regiment withdrawn from the first line just before day, and took up position in the second line, covering and supporting the One hundred and twenty-sixth Ohio,. which was in the first line. As soon as it was day skirmishing commenced in our front, and about 9 a. m. we were again ordered to charge the enemy's works. The line went forward with a yell, but were soon checked by a heavy fire of musketry from the works of the enemy. At this time I held a position in the rear of the first line, sheltered by a rise in the ground, and about 35 yards from the line engaged. I was ordered forward from this position to within about 20 yards of the first line, where there was no shelter. I remained in this position during the entire engagement, and suffered severely, although the men were lying down all the time. Shortly after 10 a. m. the line withdrew, and strong skirmish line established, which engaged the enemy. About 2 p. m. General Shaler came up with a brigade of the First Division and took post upon our right. About 3 p. m. I was assigned to the command of General Shaler, and took post near the left of his line. I was then informed that General Shaler was to charge the enemy's works with his command, and bayonets were fixed for that purpose. Shortly after, however, we fell back a short distance and began throwing up earth-works. There not being a sufficient number of intrenching tools, and not being permitted to cut any timber, our progress was necessarily slow. I was compelled to wait until the One hundred and twenty-second New York on my left had completed the work in their front before I could get the tools. After finishing their own work officers and men worked with a will, aiding my regiment in the completion of our work, which was finished in a short time, and the tools turned over to Colonel Cross, on my right. About this time the firing had almost ceased in our front. Near sundown, however, the enemy having massed heavily on our right, charged and drove in the regiments of General Shaler's command on my right in the utmost confusion, the enemy pressing on their flank and rear. To prevent the capture of my whole command, I ordered my command to fall back, which was done, but they soon became mixed up with other troops, and panic and confusion ensued. General Shaler did all that man could do to rally his troops, being captured by the enemy while so engaged. After considerable exertion, assisted by Captain (now Major) Cornyn, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio, Lieutenant Ocker, of my regiment, and another officer, whose name I do not now remember, we succeeded in rallying quite a number of the men, and marching them back to the line held by Colonel (now General) Upton. Here I was joined .by Lieutenant-Colonel Ebright, who had also succeeded in rallying quite a number of the men of our brigade. About 10 p. m. the enemy again made an attack upon the line held by General Upton in our front, but were easily driven back.


May 7. - Moved by the left flank about 2 p. m. to a point near the Wilderness Tavern, and took up a position. At daylight the enemy made a show of attack, but were severely punished, and driven back by the artillery in position. During the day we were joined by the rest of the regiment, which had gotten separated from us in the confusion occasioned by the turning of our flank on the 6th instant. We remained in this position until 8 p. m., when we took up the line of march for Spotsylvania Court-House. This march was very slow and tedious, the men dropping to sleep at every halt. On the 8th found the enemy in strong position, and at once made preparation to storm his works. This was abandoned, however, and we moved forward as much as possible without bringing on an engagement. Early in the morning of the 9th skirmishing began, and continued during the entire day. In the morning threw up a line of intrenchments; remained in this position during the day. About 5 p. m. sent 90 men, under the command of Lieutenants Kuhn and Orr, upon the skirmish line; about 1 p. m. General Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter near the right of my regiment.

May 10. - Early in the morning heavy skirmishing commenced, which was continued throughout the entire day. Some desperate fighting took place on our right, the enemy endeavoring to break through our lines. During the day Lieut. David G. Orr was killed upon my skirmishing line, and quite a number of my men wounded.

May 11. - Opened with heavy skirmishing along our entire front; about 10 a. m. heavy artillery practice; shelled during the day, but sustained no loss. About 4 p. m. I was relieved and ordered with my regiment to guard the corps train. I left the front about 5 p. m. and joined the train at their park on the plank road. The march here was rather severe on account of the rain and mud. On reaching the train I established guards and went into camp for the night. Next morning, May 12, started in the direction of Fredericskbnrg, guarding the train. The march was very severe on the men, made so by the heavy rains and the wretched condition of the roads; about noon we reached a point about 3 miles from Fredericksburg, where the trains went into park. Upon the assembling of my regiment I received an order to report back to my division at once, as every available man was required at the front. I at once moved out with my regiment and by a forced march reached the front again, between 3 and 4 o'clock, and took up a position with my brigade.

May 13.- Nothing of special interest took place. Read the congratulatory [address] of General Meade to the regiment. Received orders to move at daylight.

May 14.- Moved with the corps, about 6 a. m., to the Richmond and Fredericksburg pike, which position we reached about 11 a. m. and remained until about 3 p. m. We then moved down the pike a short distance, and filed off to the left, forming two lines of battle on the Anderson farm, my regiment being in the front line. Shortly after 5 p. m. we received orders to charge across the Ny River and occupy a position on the opposite side, from which a brigade of the First Division had been arriving a short time previous. At the word the men went forward on a run, but in crossing the river found it so deep in many places as to be over the heads of the men. All the ammunition and most of the rations on the persons of the men were rendered worthless by being submerged in water. We met with no opposition, however, and about dusk began throwing up intrenchments. This being completed we went into camp.

May 15 - We remained in the works, all being quiet in our front.

May 16 - All quiet; had the men engaged in renovating their arms and accouterments.

May 17 - My regiment was detailed for picket, I being detailed as division officer of the day. About 6 p. m. I received orders to advance the picket-line about 1 mile, resting on the Massaponax road. Here my line, while advancing, became exposed by a portion of the First Division line on my right falling to the rear. They were at once advanced again, however, and the line was established. About 10 p. m. I received orders to withdraw my line at 3.30 o'clock next morning, and marched back to battle-ground of the 12th.

May 18 - I withdrew the picket at the hour named, and marched to join the division, which I did about 8.30 a. m. Here we remained until about 4 p. m., when we moved with the corps back to our former position on the Ny, and encamped for the night.

May 19 - Moved out with the corps about 9 a. m., with orders to get as near the enemy's works as possible without bringing on an engagement. This we did, and at once intrenched.

May 20 - The troops rested to-day.

May 21 - Early in the morning my regiment was detailed to assist throwing up a second line of works in rear of the first line and occupied the second. About this time the enemy charged our skirmishers, and succeeded in driving them a short distance. About 9 p. m. marched in the direction of Guiney's Station.

May 22 - Crossed the Fredericksburg railroad near Guiney's Station about 7 a. m. In the afternoon crossed White River, and went into camp at sundown near Bowling Green.


May 23 - Our brigade was detailed to guard the wagon train, which we did until the afternoon of the 25th. We then left the train, about 1 mile from the river, and crossed, taking a position in the works.

May 26 - Crossed the works and marched for the Virginia Central Railroad, but immediately countermarched and occupied our position in the works. About dusk we again marched out from the works and recrossed the North Anna River, and went into camp near Chesterfield Station about 12 o'clock at night. This march was very severe on the men, a portion of road marched over being knee-deep with mud.

May 27 - Left camp about 8 a. m. and marched in the direction of the Pamunkey River, and encamped within a few miles of it for the night.

May 28 - Crossed the Pamunkey about 12 m. on pontoons, formed line of battle, and intrenched about 2 miles from its southern bank.

May 29 - All was quiet to-day; ordered to be in readiness to sup- port General Russell; received orders to be in readiness to move in the morning.

May 30 - Marched at daylight in a northeastern direction, striking the Hanover Court-House and Richmond. pike at the 17-mile post; thence along that road, marching with the corps, to the Totopotomoy. Formed line of battle on the north side of the stream and remained in this position in sight of the enemy until noon of the 31st.

May 31 - Moved across the stream and formed line of battle, the brigade being in two lines; heavy skirmishing all day, the enemy firing from their works.

June 1 - About 12.30 a. m. marched to Cold Harbor; this march was forced, and was the heaviest of the campaign. The day was very warm and the dust heavy, yet the men never marched better, and there was less straggling than on any other march of the same length. We reached this place about 10.30 a. m., and at once threw up earth-works. We had hardly completed them, however, before we moved to the left and formed in four lines of battle previous to charging the enemy's works. I was taken with my regiment from the fourth line and placed in the first, the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers on my left. About 5 p. m. the order was given to forward, which was done with a yell, driving the enemy about 1 ½ miles, capturing quite a number of prisoners. We were, however, checked by the enemy, who opened a fearful fire of grape upon us, compelling us to fall back until relieved by the lines advancing. Night soon closed the scene, we holding the position gained.

June 2 - Turned the works constructed by the enemy for our own protection.

June 3 - I received orders to assume command of the brigade. At the same time I received orders that the enemy's works were to be charged at once. I formed the brigade in four lines of battle, with bayonets fixed, ready for the charge. I was ordered to move when the Second Division on my right did, but for some cause the charge was not made. In the afternoon I received orders to hold the position gained and intrench it; this was done that night. From the 3d to the 11th we were approaching the enemy's works by zig-zag lines. On the afternoon of the 10th I received orders to be in readiness to move to the left for the purpose of relieving a portion of the Second Corps. Moved to the left and rear about 2 a. m. June 11. At night relieved the Second Corps, holding a position 50 yards from the works of the enemy.

June 12 - Colonel Smith took command of the brigade. About 10 p. m. moved from the works and marched in the direction of Charles City Court-House, leaving a greater portion of my regiment in the trenches.

Very respectfully, &c.,

Colonel, Comdg. Sixth Regt. Maryland Vols.

Lieut. J. A. GUMP,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Return To Battles & Skirmishes Page



Copyright 2002-2015. The Sixth Regiment of Maryland Infantry Descendants Association. Updated 25 September 2015