Numbers 83. Reports of Brigadier General Byron R. Pierce, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of operations October 1-5 and 27, and December 7-12.
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, THIRD DIV., SECOND ARMY CORPS, October 7, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, the part taken by this brigade in the recent operations on the left of the army.
At 12.30 p. m. of October 1 I received orders to move my brigade to Hancock's Station at once, where cars were in waiting to transport them to the Yellow Tavern, and then march to the left of the line and report to General Parke, commanding Ninth Corps, at the Peebles house, near Poplar Spring Church. I at once complied with the order, and arrived at the Peebles house, about two miles and a half beyond the Weldon railroad, at 2.40 p. m. Reported to General Parke and received orders to mass my command and await the arrival of the division. Subsequently received orders from the general commanding division to bivouac for the night. At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd received orders to be ready to move at 6.30 a. m. against the enemy's works. Moved at the time and formed line of battle on the left of the Ninth Corps, by orders from the general commanding division, with instructions to keep the connection with said corps.
My line of battle was formed in the following order from right to left: The First U. S. Sharpshooters, Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers deployed as skirmishers, supported by the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, Ninety-third New York, and One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers. Advancing about three-fourths of a mile we came upon the enemy's first line of works, which we carried at once, the enemy making but little opposition. As soon as the movement was commenced Colonel McAllister formed his brigade upon my left, as most of the firing was upon my left flank. After taking the first line of works, advanced about one mile, driving the enemy's skirmishers before us, when we came upon the second line, and stronger than the first. These works were well manned with infantry and artillery. After skirmishing with the enemy for some little time, I received orders to make a demonstration against the works in order to ascertain the strength of the enemy, using, if necessary, a portion of Colonel McAllister's brigade. I at once formed a storming party of the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, and the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, with the First U. S. Sharpshooters on the right flank, all under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Zinn, Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, with instructions to charge the enemy's works. This line was formed in a ravine about 200 yards from the enemy's works, and to the right of the battery. I also instructed Colonel McAllister to move one regiment of his brigade to the left and opposite the battery, and when the portion of my brigade charged to open a severe fire upon the battery, in order to draw a part of the fire, and relieve the charging column as much as possible. At 3 p. m. I ordered the line forward, when it charged most gallantly to within a few rods of the works, under a severe concentrated fire from musketry and artillery. Colonel Zinn, seeing it was impossible to take the works without great loss of life,