War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0257 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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[Inclosure Numbers 3.]

HEADQUARTERS SIXTY-NINTH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,

October 31, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In reply to communication of this date from brigade headquarters, asking for a report respecting the recent capture of our picket-line opposite Fort Davis, I have the honor to inclose a statement from Lieutenant M. Murphy, of my regiment, who was in command of a portion of the picket detail; and to make the following report of the number of old soldiers, and new recruits from the Sixty-ninth, on the line that night; New men (recruits recently arrived), 190; old soldiers, 40; total, 230. Old commissioned officers, 2; acting lieutenants, 3; total, 5. Of this number 1 old commissioned officer and the 3 acting lieutenants, with 141 new men and 23 old men, were captured. I would state in regard to the acting officers that they were all old soldiers, awaiting commissions from His Excellency the Governor of the State of New York to be mustered into the service.

I have the honor to remain, lieutenant, your obedient servant,

ROBERT H. MILLIKEN,

Commanding Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers.

Lieutenant GEORGE MITCHELL,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Sub-inclosure.]

CAMP OF THE SIXTY-NINTH Regiment NEW YORK VET. VOLS..,

October 31, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to forward the following statement in reply to your communication of this date, calling for a report from me in regard to the capture of a portion of the picket detail of this regiment on the night of the 30th instant:

I was detailed on the evening of the Sixty-ninth, who were posted opposite Fort Davis, the left resting on an almost impassable swamp, and the right connecting with the Sixty-third New York Volunteers. After night-fall on the 30th instant I gave orders to the different posts along my line to fire at intervals of five minutes, which they continued to do until the sergeant on the left flank of my detail discovered men advancing partly in front and to the left of his post. He first thought that they were our own men coming to relieve him, but being somewhat doubtful, he hailed them and receiving no answer he ordered his men to fire on them, which they returned in a few moments. At this time a sharp fire was opened along the line to my right. I immediately went to the left of my detail and found the men in their proper positions firing briskly on the enemy. I had extra ammunition distributed to the men, as I could plainly hear the pickets on my left running through the brush. I had no idea at that time that they were captured, but as a matter of precaution I went some distance to the left and rear, fearing that the enemy might steal a march through the swamp, as our pickets lost sight of each other at this particular point, they being some twenty yards apart. Finding there was no one in the brush in my rear, I returned to my post feeling that everything was right, as I heard a smart fire from our picket-line on the left. Shortly afterward a captain of sharpshooters of the Third Division came along my line and stated that he was ordered to relieve the pickets on my left, but found that they were either captured or had run away,

17 R R-VOL XLII, PT I