Numbers 160. Reports of Brigadier General Samuel W. Crawford, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations August 18-21, October 27-28, and December 7-12.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Petersburg, Va., September 25, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command during the 18th, 19th, and 21st of August:
Having reached the Globe Tavern (or Yellow House) about noon on the 18th ultimo, I received instructions to mass my command in the immediate vicinity, and to hold them in readiness to move at a moment's notice. My division consisted of the First Brigade, Colonel P. Lyle commanding; the Second Brigade, Colonel Coulter commanding, and the Third, a provisional brigade, consisting of two regiments (the One hundred and ninetieth and One hundred and ninety-first Veteran Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers, Colonel Hartshorne commanding), numbering in the aggregate about 3,000 effective men. In about an hour I received orders to advance. The Second Division under General Ayres was advancing on the left of the railroad. My orders were to advance on the right in line of battle and form connection with the Second Division on my left. The ground in my immediate front was low, and in front ended in a dense and almost impenetrable thicket which ran along the whole line from right to left. The thicket was cut up which swampy grounds, and was almost impassable. The First Brigade, under Colonel Lyle, was on the left, the Second, under Colonel Coulter, was in the center, and the Third Brigade, under Colonel Hartshorne, advanced in support on the right. I at once directed that a strong skirmish line should be deployed and thrown into the woods. The One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers was deployed and advanced, the line of battle following. Meantime the enemy's batteries stationed near the Davis house had opened and obtained range of the command. Finding that the regiment deployed as skirmishers did not properly cover my front, I ordered it to be relieved by the One hundred and ninetieth Pennsylvania, or First Pennsylvania Reserve Veteran Volunteers, under Colonel Hartshorne, and directed the One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania to rejoin its brigade.
While superintending this movement and the general advance of my line, I sent a staff officer to find the right of the Second Division and to insure a firm connection with it on my left. This was thoroughly effected by the Sixteenth Maine Regiment, of Lyle's brigade (see report of Colonels Lyle, McCoy, and Tilden). It was raining heavily as we advanced. On the right of the Sixteenth Maine was the Thirty-ninth Massachusetts, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Peirson. Hardly had the connection been made and the brigade advanced into position on the right when the enemy threw himself on the right of the Second Division and forced it back. The woods and undergrowth on the right of the railroad were so thick on the left of my line as to be almost impenetrable. The enemy, however, after having driven back the right of the Second Division, seeing his advantage in regard to the troops on the right of the road, advanced directly on my left flank. The line fell back, continuing to fight until it entirely confronted the enemy, when a stand was made and the enemy retired, and the line again advanced to its original position. At this time I received an order from the major-general commanding the corps, which was reiterated through