June 18, the division had a severe engagement, lasting nearly all day, moving up to, across beyond the deep cut of the Norfolk railroad, in front of the Taylor house, driving the enemy into his new works, notwithstanding our very heavy loss, and finally establishing ourselves nearer to the enemy than any other portion of the army.
A full report of the affair on the 30th of July had been forwarded;* also report of the action of the 19th and 20th of August, on the Weldon railroad.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. B. WILLCOX,
Captain JOHN C. YOUNGMAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Ninth Army Corps.
HDQRS. (LATE) THIRD DIVISION, NINTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Peebles' House, Va., October 29, 1864.
June 12, in the night marched for the James River, via Tunstall's Station. Crossed the Chickahominy on the 13th at Jones' Bridge and the James on the 15th near Wilcox's Landing, and came up on the left of Second Corps, in front of Petersburg, on the afternoon of the 16th. On the night of the 16th one brigade (Hartranft's) was ordered to the support of Barlow's division, Second Corps, and Christ's brigade held the extreme left. On the morning of the 17th Hartranft reported back, and I was ordered to attack the enemy in their works on the right of the Avery house and in front of Shands' house. At the latter point there was a good position for a battery, which I requested to place there, but time would not allow. My two brigades were formed partly in the ravine in front of Shands' and partly on the crest beyond. Major-General Burnside indicated the point of attack on the enemy's breast-works in an open field. Fixing this required point caused a little delay, by the necessary movement of troops, in the tangled ravine, farther to the right than that at first indicated by General Parke, chief of staff. Major J. St. Clair Morton, chief engineer of the corps, accompanied the commander of my leading brigade (General Hartranft), and verified the point, compass in hand, after Hartranft's line was formed on the edge of the field. The direction indicated was so unfortunate that, as soon as my lines started from the brow of the ravine, they were swept by an enfilading fire of canister from a rebel battery, nearly opposite Shands' house. Our artillery did nothing at the critical moment. My troops advanced at a double-quick, unsupported in any manner whatever. A cloud of blinding dusk was raised by the enemy's artillery missiles. Hartranft's left struck the enemy's pits, but melted away in a moment. But eighteen out of ninety-five survived in the ranks of the left companies of the left regiment, and out of 1,890 men, which composed his lines, but 1,050 came out, and a few afterward through the Second Corps works on my right. Among the killed was the gallant Morton. Hartranft's line having thus melted out of sight,
+For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 4 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p.942.