Numbers 301. Report of Colonel James P. Simms, Fifty-third Georgia Infantry, commanding Simms' (Bryan's) brigade, Kershaw's division.
HEADQUARTERS SIMMS' BRIGADE, December --, 1864.
The brigade occupied this line [Petersburg] until the 23rd [June]. The enemy had thrown up works within sixty yards of ours, and when we were placed there the works were incomplete and we were compelled to complete them under the incessant fire of musketry and artillery, and on some parts of the line the works were begun without any protection whatever. The number of casualties occurring in the brigade at this place will give some idea of the difficulties which had to be contended against. There were 15 killed and 31 wounded, most of which proved fatal. When relieved from this line the brigade was held in reserve about three-quarters of a mile in rear of the line. Here we remained until July 23, during which time nothing occurred worthy of special notice, except an occasional march down the Weldon railroad in quest of the enemy; but failing to find him we returned to our same place of bivouac each time. On the morning of the 23rd received orders to move, and set out for the north side of the James.
On the 26th took position upon the New Market road and fortified. The enemy, ascertaining that a force was at that point, crossed over a heavy force and made disposition of their forces in order to attack, and did attack the troops on our left, when the general commanding thought it prudent to withdraw, and accordingly orders were given to fall back to Fussell's Mill, and the Darbytown road, prolongation of the line at New Market Heights. The enemy advanced, but the major-general disposed of the troops in such manner as to extend the line to such an extent as to make them believe that we had so great a force as to deter him from an attack; and thus he delayed the enemy until re-enforcements came to our aid. At this place the enemy advanced their skirmishers, and I was ordered to send out two regiments to drive them back. Colonel McGlashan was sent out with the Tenth and Fiftieth Georgia Regiments, with which he attacked their line, and succeeded in capturing the greater part of the enemy's skirmish line, which he had so advanced, and for the skillful manner in which he managed to accomplish this he deserves credit.
On the 29th the enemy withdrew from our front, and we recrossed the river to the south side and went into camp near Chester Station on the Telegraph road.+
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. SIMMS,
Major J. M. GOGGIN,
*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from June 2 to 18, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 1064.
+For continuation of report, see Vol. XLII, Part I.