War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0581 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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Numbers 208. Report of Colonel John I. Curtin, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations September 29 - October 17.


Near Poplar Grove Church, Va., October 17, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this brigade from September 29, 1864, to the present date:

On the morning of September 30 I received for my information the following order addressed to Major-General Parke:

Major-General PARKE:

General Warren is ordered to move out to the Poplar Spring Church road and endeavor to secure the intersection of the Squirrel Level road. The commanding general directs that you move out after and co-operate with him in endeavoring to secure a position of the right of the enemy's position; try to open a route across the swamp to the vicinity of Miss Pegram's, below Poplar Spring Church, and take post on Warren's left. Gregg will be directed to move out to Wilkinson's.


Major-General and Chief of Staff.

In accordance with the above, my command was moved from its encampment near the Gurley house, by way of the Brick [Blick] house, through the woods to Poplar Spring Church. Having arrived at this position my brigade was formed in line at right angles with Poplar Spring Church road. Two regiments on the left of my brigade (the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers and the Twenty-first Massachusetts Veteran Volunteers) took a position at the Smith house on the left of the church. The Seventh Rhode Island Volunteers, temporarily acting as engineers, were thrown forward to cut a road through the swamp in the direction of Miss Pegram's. In the meantime the Fifth Corps had succeeded in carrying the enemy's position near the Peebles house. My brigade was then thrown forward beyond the Peebles house and on the right of the captured redoubt, and having formed in line of battle I advanced through the woods until my first battalion (the battalion of direction) rested on the open field adjoining the Squirrel Level road, and considerably in advance of the enemy's line, which had just been evacuated. The command occupied this position until 2 p. m., when I received orders to move to the left out of the woods, and, following General Griffin, to take a position beyond the Pegram house, on the left of road leading from the Pegram house and intersecting the Church road on the left of the Boswell house. The position was accordingly taken, with my right resting on the last-mentioned road. I moved forward to the support of General Griffin (the first battalion being the battalion of direction), until my left rested on the Bonyason house (since burnt), and my right occupied the road along the edge of the woods in front of the Pegram house. I then received orders to place my command on a line with General Griffin's, which I did by moving my right forward.

Finding that I was on a line with General Griffin, and that there was an open field in front, I took advantage of a favorable position and halted my command behind a thickly-grown hedge and fence. My brigade was then formed in the following order: Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Fifty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers, and Fifty-first New York Volunteers in the first line; the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran