War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0558 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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Report of Colonel Samuel Harriman, Thirty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations September 30 - October 9.


Near Peebles' House, Va., October 16, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my command from September 30 to October 9, 1864:

I assumed command of the brigade on the morning of the 30th of September, as it lay near the Gurley house, relieving Colonel B. C. Christ, mustered out of service by reason of expiration of term. My command consisted of six regiments, the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers and Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers having been left as a garrison to Fort Hays. We moved from camp at 11 o'clock, following the Third Brigade; passed by Poplar Grove Church and formed line of battle in the woods near the road to the left of the Peebles house, to protect the left flank of the army, at the same time throwing out pickets. I advanced a scouting party to beyond the forks of the road, which reported nothing not before discovered. Subsequently I moved my command across the little ravine near by and formed it in line of battle across the road at right angles, leaving two regiments in reserve. I sent out twenty additional men with a lieutenant, conducted by a staff officer, who returned late in the afternoon and reported they had advanced a distance of one mile and a half; found one line of works vacated by the enemy, which were taken possession of. The cavalry pickets were discovered, and through information given a force of cavalry was sent out and occupied the ground. At near 3 o'clock my command was moved to the right and formed in line of battle to the left of the Pegram house. Thus far we had scarcely received a shot from the enemy. The One hundred and ninth New York was posted on picket on a road running west of south. The troops to our left, about 4.30 o'clock, were attacked and compelled to fall back. This emboldened the enemy and they rushed into the field and poured a deadly fire into our ranks. The men held their position for a while, but were finally compelled to fall back. This the right regiments - Thirty-seventh Wisconsin, Eighth Michigan, and Twenty-seventh Michigan Volunteers - did in good order, and sought what shelter they could behind a rail fence from which they hastily constructed rude breast-works. These regiments did good service in keeping the enemy at bay and held the ground till relieved. The Thirteenth Ohio were thrown into a panic by a few shots and fled, the greater part of them, from the field. A part of them, under Captains wheeler and Gore, were afterward collected and placed on the line. The Thirty-eighth Wisconsin were thrown into confusion by the Thirteenth Ohio, but were formed and placed in line in General Hartranft's brigade. At 11 o'clock my command was relieved and marched farther up the road, where it had lain in the early part of the afternoon, on the hill where a line of works were constructed during the night. The works were perfected on Saturday as much as we could in the drenching rain, and our picket-line in front and along the road well established.

Orders were received to be in readiness to advance at 7 o'clock Sunday morning, 2nd instant. Just 500 men from the Thirty-eighth Wisconsin, who had joined the brigade the day before, were left in command of Colonel Bintliff to hold the works. We commenced advancing after 8