War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0373 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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No. 62. Report of Captain James C. Farwell, First Minnesota Infantry.


Near Petersburg, Va., August 7, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the part taken by my command during the present campaign, since its assignment to this brigade, at Cold Harbor, on the 11th day of June, 1864, by order of Major-General Hancock, commanding Second Army Corps.

On the evening of the 12th, in accordance with orders from the general commanding, we left our position at Cold Harbor, marched that night, and at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 13th reached the Chickahominy River, where we halted and rested until 3 p. m., when we crossed and again halted until sundown. We then proceeded to Charles City Court-House, where we arrived at 1 a. m. of the 14th, and remained until 7 o'clock, and then marched to army headquarters, distant nearly two miles, where we formed in line of battle. At 3 p. m. we moved to Wilcox's Landing, on the James River, where we took transports and crossed to the south side. Four miles from said river we were formed in line of battle and remained there until 12 m. of the 15th, when we moved toward Petersburg, and arrived within the outer fortifications at 11 p. m. on that day. The men were immediately put to work, and by the morning of the 16th had succeeded in constructing a strong line of rifle-pits, connecting with those abandoned by the enemy on the day previous. During the day the men were constantly exposed to the artillery fire of the enemy, but suffered no loss until 4 p. m., when a charge was made by our forces. Part of my command, being on picket duty near the enemy's line, was exposed to this fire, and one man was wounded. During the charge the most of my battalion were stationed in the rifle-pits, which they had constructed, and directly in rear of the Sixth Maine Battery, which during the battle was enabled, from the effectiveness of its fire, to advance midway between our works and those of the enemy. We remained in this position until the morning of the 18th, when we were moved nearer the enemy's works, and massed by brigade. At a given signal the line moved forward, led by General Pierce, who was slightly wounded during the engagement. Owing to the thick woods through which we were compelled to charge it was necessary tho halt the line several times for the purpose of reforming, when we were again moved forward and succeeded in driving the enemy before us for some distance, when the line was halted, it being impossible to force the enemy from his position by a direct attack on his front. This brigade was then moved to the extreme right of this corps. I then received orders from General Pierce, who still retained command, to deploy my command as skirmishers, and if possible take possession of a certain road running perpendicular to and striking the City Point railroad, about three-quarters of a mile from Petersburg. My men moved forward steadily, although exposed to a heavy fire from the front and an enfilading fire from the enemy in front of the Sixth Corps, who up to this time had not been forced from their position. I at last succeeded, though with severe loss, in gaining the position ordered. I then, by General Pierce's order, moved my command forward and occupied a position beyond the road and near the enemy's works, which were very formidable and still remain in his possession. The presence of my men on the enemy's right and rear compelled him to fall back in front of the Sixth Corps, on a line with those in our immediate front. That corps