Numbers 40. Report of Colonel Richard White, Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Third Division, of operations May 9-10.
HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, THIRD DIV., TENTH ARMY CORPS, Foster's, near Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 11, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that on Monday, May 9, at 5 a. m., the regiments compassing this brigade marched to the line of Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, at a point near the intersection of the turnpike road connecting those two cities with the railroad. Details were made from the command to assist in tearing up the superstructure of the railroad. This duty was performed rapidly and effectually. Some hundreds of yards of track were torn up; the this piled up and burned. The timbers forming portions of the roadway over culverts and ditches burned also. The availability of this road as a line of communication and transport was completely destroyed. Many hundred yards of telegraph wire were also cut down and rendered useless, both on line of turnpike and railroad. Pending these operations no enemy was seen and no resistance encountered. About 10.30 a. m. the command left the point above mentioned and marched, following the line of the turnpike toward Swift Creek, in front of Petersburg. Beyond Bake-House Creek indications of the enemy to this command. Continuing the march the command came up with the brigade of Brigadier-General Weitzel, of Eighteenth Army Corps, which was engaged with the enemy, and was ordered to support that general. In the action, becoming exposed to the enemy's artillery fire, some casualties occurred in the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, Eighth Maine, and Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiments, of this brigade. Toward dark, the firing having ceased, the brigade formed into line, the left resting near a little church near Swift Creek, and bivouacked. On Tuesday, May 10, about 10 a. m., the regiment composing the brigade were ordered to the support of Brigadier-General Terry's division, which was hotly engaged with the enemy near the point where the railroad had been destroyed.
The command moved up with commendable rapidity, but on its arrival the enemy had already retired. Portions of the different regiments were sent out to observe, reconnoiter, &c.; line was formed, left resting on turnpike. About 5 p. m. the command was ordered back to this point, where it arrived shortly after. Although the heat of the sun during the two days (9th and 10th) was excessive, yet the men marched rapidly and without much apparent suffering, and generally well closed up.
I inclose list of casualties.*
I have the honor, lieutenant, to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel 55th Pa., Commanding First Brigadier, Third Div., 10th A. C.
Lieutenant C. A. CARLETON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
*Embodied in revised statement, p. 14.