War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0074 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter XLVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

heights upon the right, overlooking the wide valley, while Burnham's brigade held the enemy in check in the front. I was ordered by General Brooks to descend into the valley to the right of Burnham and find the railroad, and to destroy as much of it as possible. Barton's brigade was also to make a demonstration in the enemy's front. Taking a wide detour to the right by a ravine, and concealed by the woods, I moved my brigade to the pike in three columns, the One hundredth New York Volunteers, Colonel Dandy, on the right; Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, Colonel Osborn, in the center; and the Tent Connecticut Volunteers, Colonel Otis, on the left, the two latter regiments somewhat retired. Finding no enemy on the pike, I put the One hundredth (my right regiment) in through the wood upon the railroad, a short distance to the north of the junction. This regiment immediately became hotly engaged. I then moved the Twenty-fourth and Tenth to the right and put them in echelon, the Twenty-fourth advanced, and about 400 yards from the One hundredth, aiming to get upon the enemy's flank without engaging all my regiments. The officer in command of the skirmishers of the Twenty-fourth reporting that he was on the railroad and no enemy to be seen, I held the Tenth in reserve, and sending in the pioneers of the brigade with the Twenty-fourth the work of destruction commenced. Colonel Dandy with the One hundredth attacked the enemy with great vigor on my left, charging across the railroad and driving him from the high ground beyond. He swung his right forward and held the enemy for full two hours and a half while the Twenty-fourth, and pioneers were destroying the road. In the mean time Barton's brigade attacked in front to the left of the One hundredth. The left wing of the One hundredth receiving some shots from Barton's fire was retired and set at work in destroying the trestle bridge and the road in their rear.

The following extract is from Colonel Dandy's official report:

Across this field, under a brisk fire from the enemy, I carried my colors, and, crossing the railroad, rallied my men on a height overlooking the rebel position and within short range of their advanced rifle-pits. The brigade of Colonel Barton was in the mean time advancing on our left and rear. A portion of his brigade, the Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, overlapping my regiment, joined me on the heights and planted its colors near the colors of the One hundredth New York Volunteers. We maintained this position for above two hours, repelled two successive charges of the enemy on our position, and materially aided Colonel Barton's brigade on our left, the enemy pressing upon them being checked by our fire on his flank. In the mean time my regiment and the remaining two regiments of the brigade were engaged in tearing up the railroad and destroying the telegraph lines, both on the turnpike and railroad. This having been accomplished to a considerable extent - as far as I could see in the Richmond direction - including one trestle bridge,* the brigade withdrew in sufficient time to prevent a flanking movement of the enemy on our left, caused by the falling back of Barton's, and retook the position from which the movement was made. The object of the movement was successfully accomplished, and as far as I was able to judge great damage inflicted on the railroad and telegraph lines.

The destruction of the road extended more than a mile, and was as through and complete as possible, considering the means at hand to work with. Four lines of telegraph were also destroyed - two each upon the pike and railroad. The enemy having appeared on my front and right, I made dispositions to retire, when an order came from General Brooks to retire immediately; that I was in


*See Dandy's report, p.87.