No. 46. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Winsor B. French, Seventy-seventh New York Infantry, of operations September 19 and October 19.
HDQRS. SEVENTY-SEVENTH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
October 4, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part this regiment took in the engagement of the 19th ultimo near Winchester, Va.:
In marching to take position my regiment was second in the column and followed the One hundred and twenty-second New York. Soon after sunrise we were formed in line and advanced through a corn-field and took position in an old road on the crest of a hill and at the left of the One hundred and twenty-second New York, somewhat protected from the enemy's fire, which was quite severe, by temporary breast-works taken from the enemy by Wilson's cavalry, which we relieved. I at once detached twenty good shots to go a little in advance, with orders to fire upon two of the enemy's pieces of artillery, and which were very annoying to us, and also to act as sharpshooters to keep down those of the enemy who were constantly picking off my officers and men, [and they,] together with the occasional firing of the One hundred and twenty-second New York, in a measure kept the two pieces silent. There were two other pieces of the enemy's artillery in a ravine running between the First and Third Brigades, and so far in front as to be out of rifle reach, which gave us much trouble. Having remained in this position for some hours, I was ordered to throw out skirmishers, connecting with the First Brigade on the right, which rested in a deep ravine before mentioned, and extending left to the road in which we were lying. Four companies were deployed, under the charge of Major Babcock, and the six remaining companies moved so as to give them support. We were ordered to advance, keeping connection with the First Brigade, and to move at the same time with them. When the order to advance was given the skirmishers moved forward promptly and in good style, closely followed by the six companies, in line. The enemy's fire of artillery and musketry was very severe, their infantry holding a strong position on the crest of a hill and behind a fence directly in front, but they soon broke and ran, leaving open field clear for 500 yards to a piece of woods, to which we quickly advanced, keeping good connection with the First Brigade, but losing it entirely with the One hundred and twenty-second New York. In advancing the First Brigade moved forward, changing direction to the left, thereby compelling me to do the same. When we reached the woods the First Brigade slowly fell back, but owing to the conformation of the line I was able to keep my position and line intact. We remained here several hours and at length advanced, with skirmishers well out, driving the enemy rapidly back, keeping good connection with the First Brigade until the victory was won and the enemy routed.
My loss was not severe-2 killed and 38 wounded.
I take great pleasure in saying that the officers and men under my command did their duty manfully and bravely.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
W. B. FRENCH,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Major WILLIAM H. LONG,