War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0577 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the line advanced I went up to the Second Michigan with Major Morton to show him the formation. He said the regiment was formed at right angles to the line of direction. I immediately gave the command "Forward," which was about 2 p.m. The line advanced under a most terrific fire of the enemy's artillery from the left flank. The dust raised by the brigade passing over the plowed ground on the double-quick and the enemy's shot plowing up the dust made it impossible to see the lines as they advanced. The extreme left companies of the regiment of my first line struck the enemy's pits, and but 18 out of 95 in those companies made their escape. The remainder of the brigade passed on in front of the enemy's lines, passed over the Second Corps line, and reformed. The attack was a failure. An hour afterward I had, by report of regimental commanders, 1,050 men in line out of 1,890. A few more men came in during the afternoon and evening.

Subsequent inspection of the ground satisfied me that the general direction of the advance was too much to the right by forty-five degrees; also that the troops advanced in the general direction which the formation of the Second Michigan indicated. Before this inspection I did think that the troops gave way from the heavy fire of the enemy's artillery on the left and passed too far to the right. Christ's brigade moved up in support. His general direction was more to the left, and after my troops had uncovered his line by passing to the right, he halted and held his position. Later in the day the First Division (Brigadier-General Ledlie commanding), and part of Christ's brigade, advanced over the same ground and carried the enemy's line of pits. I moved up at the same time in support on the bank of the ravine. Remained in this position until daylight next morning, when I moved forward in the following order: First line, in charge of Colonel Humphrey, Second Michigan (the directing regiment) with the Twentieth Michigan on the right; Fiftieth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers on the left. Second line, from right to left, Twenty-seventh Michigan, Captain Leadbeater commanding, One hundred and ninth New York, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Thirty-seventh Wisconsin, the remainder of the Second Brigade, Colonel Raulston commanding, in support; Crawford's division, Fifth Corps, immediately on my left. The One hundred and ninth New York and Twenty-seventh Michigan I placed on the right of the first line to keep up connection with the Second Corps. I also placed Thirty-eighth Wisconsin and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers in the first line. Advanced in good order to the Nortfolk railroad cut, followed by Raulston's brigade, which also entered the cut. The enemy's sharpshooters commanded this cut from the right. A traverse was at once built across the cut on the right of the line, by tearing up the track and ties. Between 3 and 4 p.m. an order was received to advance upon the enemy's works without regard to the troops on our right or left. The enemy's line was about 300 yards in advance. A little stream of water, forming a ravine, with trees on the opposite side of the bank, intervened. This railroad cut was about fifteen to twenty feet deep, and the sides almost perpendicular. Steps and holes had to be made in the same so as to enable the troops to climb up on the bank, which was commanded by the enemy from his mainline, but the trees intervening offered some cover from his view. Many, however, were killed and wounded here. The troops regiments scarcely averaged 100 men. The losses had been very heavy in killed and wounded during the day and the day before, and many stragglers were still back.