Today in History:

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


very hilly, the bottom lands being soft and boggy. Moreover, I discovered that the railroad made a short turn to the right and was consequently compelled to change my direction of march. Arriving within 200 yards of the railroad, I found in its front an open road, a very high and strong fence skirted by thick underbrush, a ditch some 2 feet wide and 3 feet deep, with a belt of open, marshy ground. These were all swept by an enfilading and direct fire of artillery and infantry. My men advanced over these obstructions and through this heavy fire, carrying the railroad embankment and a hill beyond it,on which the enemy were strongly posted under cover, planting their colors on the crest, although entirely unsupported by artillery. This position we held, although flanked on our left, until directed by General Brooks to retreat, which we did slowly, bringing all our wounded and as many of the dead as possible. Meanwhile we had cut three several lines of telegraph in many places and destroyed several hundred yards of railroad, tearing up the rails and burning the ties. A saw-mill with a large amount of sawed lumber was also burned.

I learn from reliable sources that the enemy's loss in one single regiment was 60 killed. Inclosed I send a list of casualties,* which amount to 196, including several officers. I desire to commend in the strongest manner the conduct of my command on this occasion. I was never before engaged where there were so many difficulties of ground to overcome, and to crown all, the heat was extremely oppressive, many men actually falling in the ranks from sunstroke, and all, at the conclusion of the day's work, being completely exhausted.

My thanks are also due to Captain W. L. Lockwood, Forty-eight New York Volunteers, acting assistant inspector-general; Lieutenant C. Hale, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant F. J. Magee, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant F. D. Barnum, One hundred and fifteenth New York Volunteers, aide-de-camp, of my staff, whose duties were well performed under most difficult and trying circumstances.

The wounded were promptly and carefully cared for under the directions of Surg. J. L. Mulford, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, chief medical officer of the brigade.

Total casualties of the brigade during the operations: Killed, 14; wounded, 152; missing, 30.

Very respectfully, captain, your obedient servant,


Colonel Forty-eighth New York Vols., Commanding Brigade.

Captain P. A. DAVIS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, SECOND DIV., 10TH ARMY CORPS, In the Field, Va., May 17, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the brigade under my command from the 12th to the 16th, inclusive:

My first line of battle was formed on the 12th, on the right of Weitzel's division, Eighteenth Crops, on the ridge of hills near the house of Mrs. Friend in rear of the turnpike, and reaching nearly


*Embodied in revised statement, p. 14.