The regiments selected to lead in the latter were the Seventeenth Vermont, Ninth New Hampshire, and Thirty-second Maine, the Seventeenth on the right, with instructions to take the battery. At 3 a.m. the line was put in motion, the Seventeenth leading off. Marching up a steep hill over Frank's brigade and the earth-works protecting their skirmishers I reformed my line and gave the order to charge. The men (only numbering 135 guns) rushed impetuously forward, driving the enemy's skirmishers, and carrying a strong line of earth-works fully manned. In less time than I can write this we had captured 2 cannon, a caisson, 6 horses, 70 prisoners, and the colors and adjutant of the Seventeenth Tennessee. The other 2 guns fell to the Ninth New Hampshire, their position having been changed during the night. Our casualties in this engagement were 5 killed and 16 wounded. Among the killed, I regret to record, was First Lieutenant Guy H. Guyer, one of the most gallant and faithful officers in the regiment. He fell early in the charge, shot through the left breast.
The gallantry of my officers and men in this charge would be worthy of especial mention were it not that on that occasion there was no deviation from their usual conduct before the enemy. I cannot refrain from noticing the coincidence that on the anniversary of the 17th of June, the Seventeenth Vermont captured the colors of the Seventh Tennessee, Colonel Fulton's brigade, Bushrod Johnson's division, Buckner's (formerly of Hardee's) corps, together with guns and prisoners numbering more than half their own men. To us the 17th of June will hereafter have a double significance. I understand that the First Brigade captured 2 guns (the others having been removed) and quite a number of prisoners. This charge by the Seventeenth was warmly complimented by our brigade and division commanders, and the entire assault has elicited a general order,* of which the following is a copy. As the regiment has been in advanced works and under a hot fire most of the time since the morning of the 17th, I append a list of casualties since last report till this morning.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Seventeenth Vermont.
PETER T. WASHBURN,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH REGIMENT VERMONT VOLS.,
Near Petersburg, Va., August 1, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Seventeenth Vermont Volunteers participated in an assault made by the Ninth Army Corps, under the enemy's works in front of Petersburg, Va., on Saturday morning, July 30, losing very heavily both in officers and men. The blowing up of one of the enemy's forts, previously mined for the purpose, was the signal for a terrific bombardment, under cover of which the assault was made. The first line of works in clearing the demolished fort was carried with but little loss, but the enemy's batteries, instead of replying to our guns, reserved their fire for our advance, and now commenced pouring in a withering fire of case and canister that compelled our men to seek protection in the trenches and the ruins of the fort. Very soon our troops were thrown in confusion, and the enemy, advancing through
*No. 24, headquarters Ninth Army Corps, June 18, 1864; see p.530.