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


No. 24. Report of Colonel John L. Otis, Tenth Connecticut Infantry, of operations May 12-16.

May 17, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward the following report of the services performed by the Tenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers during the movements of the last four days:

May 12 the regiment left the intrenchments at 1 p.m., in light marching order, without rations, and reached the Richmond turnpike at the cross-roads about 4. Marched up the turnpike 1 1/2 miles and bivouacked for the night in line of battle. Distance marched, 4 miles. 13th, resumed our march at 6.30 a.m. At 8 I received orders to move the regiment on in advance of the column,and take such a position at Clover Hill Junction as would best enable us to cover the approaches to that point. I placed the regiment in position near the railroad junction, sending out pickets with strong supports on the different roads. After our advance had crossed the railroad, the regiment resumed its place in column, our brigade having the advance of the flying column under General Gillmore, designed to turn the enemy's position on the right. On reaching the rear of the enemy's position near Proctor's Creek, the regiment was placed in position to support a section of the Fifth New Jersey Battery, and as the enemy was driven from the works, moved up the hill in support of the artillery, taking position near the redoubt on the extreme right of the enemy's works. While in this position had 3 men wounded by the enemy's shells. At 6 p.m. received ordered to man and hold a portion of the captured works, and at 10 was ordered on picket, relieving the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, One hundredth New York, and five companies of the Seventh New Hampshire. Every officer and man was on duty the entire night. There was sharp firing in our firing in our front most of the night, but too far distant to do us any harm. The enemy evacuated the remainder of his first line of defenses before morning. Distance marched to-day about 6 miles. 14th, soon after daylight, a strong line of skirmishers appeared in front of our position. General Gillmore sent an aide, with orders for me to ascertain at once whether they were our own or the enemy's. Collecting a few men from the nearest picket-posts as skirmishers under Captain White, and leaving orders for a company to follow as reserve, I advanced to meet them. They proved to be the skirmishers of General Turner's division advancing to recover the communication lost in our rapid flank movement the day before. At 8 a.m. we advanced on the enemy's second line of works, the Tenth Regiment forming the reserve of the brigade. Being much annoyed by sharpshooters in the woods near the railroad, Colonel Plaisted directed me to take position in the brigade line on the left, send forward a strong lie of skirmishers under Major Greeley, support him with the balance of the regiment, and if possible uncover the enemy's position. This order was promptly executed. We drove the enemy's skirmishers from the woods and established our line on the opposite side. We found the enemy's main position to be a very strong one. About 600 yards from the wood on the right of the railroad was a strong redoubt mounting five guns. On the left of the road, about 200 yards