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


Numbers 12. Report of Colonel Joshua B. Howell, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations May 9-10.

Near Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 11, 1864.

In pursuance of instructions from division headquarters, directing from me a formal report of the operations of the different regiments of my command during the past two days, I have the honor to respectfully report that my brigade, consisting of the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell commanding; Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Colonel T. O. Osborn commanding: Sixty-seventh Ohio Volunteers, Colonel A. C. Voris commanding, and the Eleventh Maine Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Spoford commanding (the last temporarily assigned to me in place of the Sixty-second Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Pond, being on detached service), was in line on the 9th instant (May) at 4.30 a. m., and proceeded with the division on the expedition. At a point on the line of march where a road leading to Ware Bottom Church diverged, it having been ascertained by the brigadier-general commanding the division that there were some of the enemy in that direction, and between that point and the church, the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers and Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers were ordered by the general, under the command of Colonel Osborn, to proceed toward the church and drive the enemy, which they did promptly. These two regiments took position at the church, in obedience to instructions, and remained there; and, in advance with the Sixty-seventh Ohio and Eleventh Maine, I proceeded with the main column of the division to the leading from Petersburg to Richmond. The Sixty-seventh Ohio Volunteers, under command of Colonel voris, was left in position on the turnpike at the brow of a hill commanding a view of every think beyond them in the direction of Richmond. The position was gallantly held by the gallant colonel and his brave regiment-officers and enlisted men. The enemy were in force in front of them. With the Eleventh Maine I proceeded with the main body to the railroad. Beyond the Chester Depot and in the direction of Petersburg, I was ordered by the brigadier-general commanding the division to return to Ware Bottom Church, and take with me the Eleventh Maine and to assume command of all the troops at the church. I did, so arriving at that place the afternoon of the same day.

On the return of the regiment the enlisted men suffered greatly from the oppressive heat and fatigue of the march, which they bore with cheerfulness and fortitude, anxious to perform their duty faithfully; there was little or no straggling. On arriving at Ware Bottom Church and assuming command there, I discovered that the position taken for the troops had been judiciously selected and the pickets skillfully posted. I proceeded with Colonel Osborn at once to ascertain, the localities around and about there, the where- abouts of roads and their convergence. I proceeded at once to make all further necessary arrangements to hold the position and make such other changes as I thought proper. Four pieces of Captain Langdon's battery reported to me in the evening.

In this connection I beg leave to adopt as part of my report extracts from the reports of Colonel Osborn and Lieutenant-Colonel