Today in History:

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


No. 22. Report of Colonel Joseph C. Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire Infantry, of operations May 12-16.

May 17, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the late expedition, commencing on Thursday, May 13, and closing on Monday, May 16:

On Thursday, May 12, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, the regiment marched to the place known as Perdue's, on the turnpike, and there bivouacked. At that place I joined it during the night. The next morning, May 13. I marched toward Chester Station, passed it, crossed the railroad, and proceeded in the direction of Chester Court-House; thence turning toward the right, again approached the railroad and a rebel earth-works, which it was proposed to assault. By order of Colonel Hawley, commanding the Second Brigade, Terry's division, I took position fronting the earthwork, in order to support a battery. While in that position the assault on the work was commenced on my left, and I was ordered to support it. I accordingly moved in that direction across a small stream, and passed up toward the earth-work and took position in the edge of the wood fronting it. I there met the Third Regiment Hew Hampshire Volunteers falling back. An assault having been made on the opposite side of the work, and the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers having come up on my left, an advance was made, and it was ascertained that the works had been already evacuated. I was then ordered by Brigadier-General Terry to proceed into a piece of wood, and from its edge obtain a flanking fire on a rebel battery posted in a field about 600 yards from the earth-works. I at once proceeded skirmishing through the wood, and reached a point opposite, where the battery was posted, and found that it had retired within an earth-works. I then sent forward skirmishers to examine the earth-work, and ascertained that it contained three pieces of artillery, supported by infantry. I then called in the skirmishers to the railroad, threw out a line of pickets on the railroad, and remained until about 10 p.m., when I was relieved and returned within the intrenchments for the night.

The next day, May 14, I occupied a portion of the front of the whole line of Terry's division, which had been advanced about a mile to the eastward. This position was directly in front of a strong earth-work. During the afternoon the line was advanced within 250 yards of the earth-works, and at that point I held a position on the left of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers. The firing both from artillery and musketry was constant, and after dark my position was assaulted by a heavy force, which was handsomely repelled. By order of Colonel Hawley, having been relieved by the Third New Hampshire, I withdrew at about 8 p.m. to a field 400 or 500 yard in the rear, where the command rested until daylight on the morning of the 16th. At that time heavy firing was heard on the extreme left right of the Eighteenth Corps, which gradually extended along the whole line to our front, and I received orders to form line of battle and advance toward the earth-work already spoken of. For about an hour I occupied a position in the edge of the woods,