Today in History:

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


Numbers 11. Report of Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations May 12-16.

In the Field, Curtis', May 17, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit a preliminary and informal report of the operations of my division from the 12th to the 16th instant, inclusive:

On the first-named day, at about-o'clock, I received from the major-general commanding instructions to move with two of my brigades and two batteries out of the entrenchments and place them in support of the force which, under command of Major-General Smith was moving up the Richmond and Petersburg turnpike, and by the bank of the James River. In obedience to this order, I reported to him on the old turnpike with Plaisted's and Hawley's brigades, each consisting of three regiments (the fourth regiment of each being at the time on picket), and with Warren's and Rockwell's batteries. During the afternoon my force was moved to and up the turnpike to Perdue's house, where it bivouacked for the night. While here Colonel R. White, of the Fifty -fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers with two regiments from Ames' division, viz, the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers and the Fourth New Hampshire, by direction of General Gillmore, reported to me. In the morning of the 13th my force, under the immediate command of the major-general commanding the corps, moved to Chester Station and thence by a long and circuitous route through the woods west of the railroad to a position in rear of the right of the first of the enemy's line of entrenchments defending Richmond from the south. At the station Colonel White's command was detached, and, accompanied by one piece of artillery, placed on a car by Captain Langdon, chief of artillery, proceeded up the railroad to attack in front, while the main body should turn the enemy's flank. After a painful and fatiguing march our main column arrived directly on the flank of the enemy's works. The Third Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, under Lieutenant Colonel J. I. Plimpton, was then, by the order of the major-general commanding the corps, directed to make a detour still farther to our left, and gain the rear of the position. This was soon accomplished, and the regiment immediately attacked. The enemy's works were uninclosed, but were on a high, rounded,ridge and presented a bastioned trace fronting on and flanking the railroad. The works were defended by a formidable force, and when taken in reverse these threw themselves on the exterior slope of the parapet, and under its protection poured a deadly fire upon our troops. The Third New Hampshire charged up the hill in the most gallant and determined manner, and nearly reached the works, but the disparity of force was so great that they were ordered to fall back. They did so, leaving the ground covered with their men, having in a few minutes the ground covered with their men, having in a few minutes loss over 100 in killed and wounded.

As soon as the firing commenced by order of General Gillmore, I took up the Seventh Connecticut and Seventh New Hampshire Regiments in support of the one already engaged, but before they were brought in action the enemy, threatened upon the front of the works by Colonel White's column and shelled by Langdon from the