Today in History:

37 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


ments under General Terry, and Marston's brigade of three small regiments. I took battery with me. Upon reaching the railroad of Chester Station, I divided, my command sending two regiments of infantry, under Colonel White, Fifty- fifth Pennsylvania, with one piece of artillery mounted on a platform car, up the track to attack the works in front, while with the balance of the force under General Terry I made a wide detour of several miles by a blind road through the woods, so as to turn the works and take them in rear. About the time the head of Terry's column came in sight of the enemy's works. White's command had engaged them in front. General Terry opened upon the works with a piece of artillery, as soon as he got within range, as an indication to Colonel White a position in rear of the enemy had been gained. We found the enemy in force and strongly intrenched, the extreme right of their line resting on Wooldridge Hill, a very commanding position about half a mile west of the railroad. The works had a return fronting the road on which Terry approached. General Terry was ordered to storm the hill while Colonel White, engaged the enemy in front. The storming party recoiled under the severe fire brought to bear upon them, and while preparing for another assault in larger force, the enemy evacuated the position in haste, passing down their line of entrenchments toward Drewry's Bluff. We pressed them until dark, obtaining of about a mile of their line. The Third New Hampshire, Lieutenant-Colonel Plimpton, behaved gallantly in this assault.

On the morning of the 14th I moved down the line of works and formed a junction with Turner's division. Tenth Corps, occupying at that time the left of General Smith's line. The enemy retired before us, leaving about 2 1/2 miles of their advanced line of entrenchments in our possession. During the 14th the enemy were pressed back into a second line of works, as formidable to all appearances as the first, diverging from it to the westward, with its right well refused. Where these two lines cross railroad they are about a mile part. From their general direction I judge the second to be but a branch of the first forming a junction it in front of Drewry's Bluff, near James River. Both lines are judiciously located, of great strength, naturally artificially; have deep ditches on their exterior at all available points, and are arranged for defense by both infantry and artillery. Through the day had night of the 15th we lay before this line, the skirmishers on both sides being constantly, and the artillery, frequently, engaged.


Early on the morning of the 16th under cover of a dense fog, the enemy made a fierce attack upon the right of General Smith's line, attempting to turn it. About 6.20 a . m. I received the following dispatching from Major-General Butler, dated 6 a. m.:

The enemy has advanced from his works on our right and made a vigorous demonstration there; a rapid movement on the left would, I think, carry his lines in your front. Make it at once.

About 6.30 a. m. the enemy made an assault upon General Terry's front in force and were repulsed. At 6.40 a. m. I sent Major-General Butler the following dispatch:

Your orders to charge the enemy's line will be obeyed as soon as the troops are ready. Terry has just repulsed an assault on his part of the line.