War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0565 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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Report of Brigadier General John F. Hartranft, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of operations September 30 - October 8.


October 17, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in obedience to orders from the general commanding the division, my command moved from the Gurley house about 10 a. m. on the 30th of September, following the Second Division. We took the road passing Poplar Grove Church. Soon after passing the Peebles house, formed in line of battle, facing to the left and westward, in the following order from the right: First Michigan Sharpshooters, Colonel C. V. DeLand; Second Michigan, Lieutenant Colonel E. J. March; Fiftieth Pennsylvania, Captain G. W. Brumm; Twenty-fourth New York Cavalry, Colonel W. C. Raulston; Forty-sixth New York, Captain Adolph Becker; Sixtieth Ohio, Lieutenant Colonel M. P. Avery, and Twentieth Michigan, Lieutenant Colonel B. M. Cutcheon. The brigade was moved forward, in accordance with orders, for the purpose of establishing a line from the left of the Second Division to the Clements house. After passing the low ground and reaching the woods I sent Lieutenant-Colonel Cutcheon with the Twentieth and Second Michigan Regiments to the Clements house to guard the road, and feel by scouts for the left of the Second Division. After he had reached the house and had sent out his scouts, but before they had found the left of the Second Division, orders were received to withdraw the command and move to the right. Moved up beyond the Pegram house and formed in line, facing westward and at right angles to that of the Second Division, with my right just east of and close to Doctor Boisseau's house, with orders to protect the left of General Potter's division. Immediately in front of the left of my line I found a swamp almost impassable. The course of the stream running through it was about southeast. From the right of my line to this swamp was a space of about 200 yards. About 1,000 yards to the front and westward of my line were works of the enemy, occupied by some cavalry, but no artillery or infantry were shown. I established a skirmish line on a little crest beyond the swamp referred to. When the Second Division moved forward I moved the brigade by the right flank, preserving the formation. After the left of Potter's division had passed into the woods they commenced extending their left, throwing it into the open field beyond the Boisseau house and about 300 yards in advance. I then changed front, forming line of battle parallel to the Second Division line, my right being immediately in advance of the Boisseau house, and about 150 yards distant, the left resting on the swamp. This line in respect to the Second Division was in echelon, and a portion of the right was covered by the Second Division. On our right the firing became very heavy. The Thirty-sixth and Thirty-fifth Massachusetts regiments came to the rear in confusion. I attempted to rally and put them in position on the right of my line. We succeeded in halting these regiments. A staff officer came to me about this time from Major-General Humphreys with an order to withdraw the troops. I obeyed this order very slowly. I was unable on account of a dense growth of sorghum on the right of the brigade to see the condition of the troops on my right, and consequently did not see the necessity of retiring, but I retired and formed another line on a road about 100 yards in the rear, still in advance of the Boisseau house. I discovered here from the direction of the enemy's fire that our right