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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 1 (Appomattox Campaign)

to the left to assist the Third and Second Division of this corps in their movement toward Hatcher's Run, and with the remaining troops of the division to hold what we had gained and to wait further developments, it having been reported that the enemy were advancing in strong force to recapture their works.

In compliance with that order, I sent the First and Third Brigades, and withdraw the Second Brigade from the right to the position first occupied. Strong skirmish lines were advanced by the latter brigade toward Petersburg and the Appomattox River, and the enemy's reconnoitering parties checked; but a force of some 600 of them came down the line of works, driving a detachment of some eighty men from the Sixty-fifth New York Volunteers, Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and division sharpshooters out of a fort they had captured some three-quarters of a mile to our right. They soon opened an enfilanding fire upon us with two rifled guns from this work, and at the same time the tower signal officer reported a column of some 600 of the enemy as having passed through the woods between us and the Appomattox, apparently to attack the left of the Second Brigades it faced toward Petersburg. More than three-quarters of this brigade was already deployed in the line of works and skirmishing, and there were but few troops in reserve for any emergency. In a very short time, however, a column of our troops arrived from near Fort Fisher, and the Second Brigade was relieved by a division of the Twenty-fourth Corps.

Almost immediately after, about 9.45 a. m., the First and Third Brigades returned from the left with the Second and Third Divisions, having met with but little resistance and encountered the advance of the Second and Fifth Corps from Hatcher's Run. Soon after these brigades returned, by direction of the corps commander, I sent the Second Brigade to report to General Parke, commanding the Ninth Corps, and with the other two brigades moved to the right on the enemy's line of works, forming on the left of the Second Division, joining it in the advance toward Petersburg, the Twenty-fourth Corps being on this right. In this order, with the Third Brigade in line and the First Brigade in echelon and refused on its left, we advanced for nearly three miles, exposed to a constant front and flank artillery and occasional musketry fire, until arrived within two miles of the city, at 1 p. m., and touching the South Side Railroad, we halted to await the arrival of other troops to complete a more thorough connection to the Appomattox. This, for reasons best known to the major-general commanding the corps, was not perfected, and at 5 p. m. orders were received to form my command in two lines on the left of a division of the Second Corps, which had arrived, and to intrench my front, which was accomplished at 10 p. m.

The work accomplished by the division on this day was the most difficult I had ever seen troops called upon to perform. Massing and advancing in the dark they successfully assaulted strongly entrenched and elaborately obstructed lines with a determination and gallantry that could never be excelled.

I cannot repress my admiration of the conduct of both officers and men and my deep-felt obligations to the brigade commanders for their distinguished services an able handling of their troops. Brevet Brigadier-General Penrose, Brevet Brigadier-General Hamblin, and Colonel Edwards more than earned for themselves this day the promptest recognition of their past long and gallant services.

During our advance toward Petersburg Captain Crawford Allen's battery (H) of the First Rhode Island Artillery was admirably handled,

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 1 (Appomattox Campaign)
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