Today in History:

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


ordered to withdraw the regiment and establish a picket-line along the railroad. At 10 p.m. the regiment was relieved and bivouacked within the works.

Saturday a.m., May 14, marched with the rest of the troops to the attack of the second line; occupied a position in a field covered with low pines, my left resting on the railroad. In front was open field about 600 yards wide, on the opposite side, of which were the enemy's skirmishers in great force under the shelter of a Virginia fence. Being ordered to deploy a strong line of skirmishers, I sent out four companies; after some skirmishing the line advanced rapidly and drove the enemy back to their works. In the course of the afternoon I was compelled to relieve the four companies and sent others, they having expended both their strength and their ammunition; these companies also expended all their ammunition. I was supplied by Colonel Plaisted with enough to furnish the regiment with 60 rounds. Hardly had this been issued to the skirmishers when the enemy, stealing cautiously up through a thick undergrowth, made a rush upon them, but were repulsed with great loss. My regiment was relieved at 11 p.m., and bivouacked in the woods in rear of our position.

Sunday, May 15, the regiment was engaged in no operations.

Monday, May 16, the fighting commenced early in the morning. I was placed in reserve for Colonel Plaisted's brigade, but at about 10 a.m. was ordered to the right to support Hawley's brigade. On moving to the right, found the troops falling back in confusion, and could see no regiments of Hawley's brigade. Finding myself far in advance of any other organization, with both flanks exposed, and the enemy advancing rapidly, fell slowly back through the woods until I reached the brow of a hill in front of the works captured on Saturday.

Having been separated from my brigade I reported for orders to Brigadier-General Marston, who was at that point with one regiment. He posted the Twenty-fourth on the left on the Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers, where it remained until the whole of General Turner's division had passed to the rear; then rejoined Colonel Plaisted's brigade and marched to the rear, halting in the field in which we had bivouacked on Thursday night. An hour later was ordered forward again with the Tenth Connecticut Volunteers to the Half-Way House, formed line on the right of the turnpike, and remained an hour - a portion of the time under artillery fire. On being withdrawn from this position marched in the rear of the column back to the intrenchments, reaching camp about 8 p.m.

I deeply regret to report the loss of 3 valuable officers, who were instantly killed by musket-balls in the head while in the discharge of their duty. They were First Lieutenant Mason A. Rea, Adjt. Charles G. Ward, and Second Lieutenant Edgar Clough. Captain John N. Partridge was also wounded in the head, but the wound is thought to be slight. The other casualties in my command were 4 enlisted men killed, 43 wounded, and 7 missing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers.


A. A. A. G., 3rd Brigadier, 1st Div., 10th Army Corps.