Today in History:

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


No. 18. Reports of Major Oliver S. Sanford, Seventh Connecticut Infantry, of operations May 10 and 16.


COLONEL: I have the honor to report the part taken in the late action by the companies under my command, as follows:

After leaving the regiment on the morning of the 10th, with the left wing of the command I moved up the railroad toward Chester Station, covering the Sixth Connecticut Volunteers, who were destroying the railroad. I remained there nearly an hour when I was ordered to the turnpike to join the left of the column. I pushed forward at a rapid pace, arriving just as the right wing had gone in line of battle to the right of the turnpike. I was ordered to send two companies (E and H), under Captain Dennis, forward to support a battery. The three remaining were joined to the regiment. You then ordered me forward with two companies (B and K). I proceeded to the top of the hill, where I was joined by Captain Dennis with the two companies under his command. I threw the right of my lie a little forward and opened fire upon the left flank of the enemy, stationed in the woods, and drove them back. We engaged the enemy at intervals, who was trying to take a piece of artillery which had been abandoned by the Fourth New Jersey, and was near their lines. I drove them back at every attempt. The enemy opened fire upon me with two pieces of artillery and I sent a request for a section of battery to silence the enemy. One piece of the Fourth New Jersey was sent to my position, and immediately opened upon them. I then ordered Company K, under command of Lieutenant Barker, to move forward and bring in the abandoned piece, which he succeeded in doing. I placed the piece in position, manning it with men from Company K, taking ammunition from a caisson which was also abandoned by the Fourth New Jersey, all the horses having been shot. After firing about 10 shots from that piece and as many more from the one already there, we drove the enemy's battery from its position. The enemy having retired from our front, I turned the piece over to the lieutenant in charge of the one sent there, it belonging to that battery. I was then ordered to fall back slowly. After falling back a few hundred yards, I found two companies (C and G) on the left of the road, and one (D) on the right. I took command of the whole, seven in all, forming them in column by company, and marched them to the rear. After proceeding a few hundred yards, I was ordered across the field to the right of the turnpike, and took position on a cross-road, where I remained about one hour. I was then ordered to take position on the left of the One hundred and sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, where I found the other three companies, under command of Captain Bacon, supporting a section of the First Connecticut Battery. We remained there until dark, and were then ordered to camp.

Of the conduct of officers and men under my command, during the engagement, I can but speak in terms of highest praise, particularly of Lieutenant Barker and his company, for their gallant conduct in rescuing the gun, which had been abandoned and was near the enemy's lines. On attempting to work the piece I could find no