No. 58. Report of Captain Lucius T. Hunt, Tenth Vermont Infantry, of operations September 19 and 22.
HEADQUARTERS TENTH VERMONT INFANTRY,
Camp near Harrisonburg, Va., September 26, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward, in obedience to orders, a report of the operations of this command during the recent engagements:
On the 19th instant, at about 9 a.m., this regiment having 267 muskets, crossed the Opequon Creek with the brigade, and, marching up the pike toward Winchester, was assigned a position in the general line of battle, being the right battalion of the brigade in the second line, lying upon and divided by the pike. The regiment lay here under fire, but without loss, until about 11.30 a.m., when, a general advance being ordered, the regiment moved into and through the woods to the front, the line bearing to the right of the pike, and arrived at the open field beyond, where the first line was found lying down. The fire of the enemy's artillery while in the woods was sufficiently hot and accurate to try the best disciplined troops. The regiment suffered there its heaviest loss, the greatest being that of its gallant commanding officer, Major Edwin Dillingham. The general alignment was a good deal disturbed, but the advance was not checked. The line being now reformed the advance was renewed, and the troops, somewhat unmindful of discipline in their eagerness, rushed across the field toward the enemy's line and battery, approaching the latter so nearly that it was hurriedly withdrawn by hand. It is believed that had the troops on the left of our division been at this time equally advanced the battery would have been taken by troops of this brigade. Halting and rectifying my line, I was informed by a staff officer that the troops were retiring, and therefore withdrew my command, at first in good order, but afterward, being involved among other troops, it shared the general confusion which then occurred for a time in consequence of disorder on our right and a flank fire from that direction. Order being restored the regiment was collected, and it was posted in line upon the right of the brigade front, in a direction nearly at a right angle to that of the first advance. After maintaining here a fire more or less active for a time skirmishers were thrown out from my command and a second advance prepared for. The second advance being made at 4 p.m. my command continued to occupy the same position in the front line. During the advance the regiment suffered considerably from the enemy's artillery fire upon the line of battle and from his musketry upon the skirmish line, but operations upon other parts of the field causing the enemy to retreat soon after we had emerged from the woods in his front, my regiment had no further part in the action, except that it shared in the general forward movement upon the heights of Winchester which followed.
I have to report, with pain, that Major Edwin Dillingham, commanding the regiment, was struck by the enemy's shell and mortally wounded early in the action. He died within a short time afterward. His loss is seriously and sadly felt in the regiment. First Lieutenant L. A. Abbott, commanding Company E, and First Lieutenant D. G. Hill, commanding company G, both gallant officers, were badly, the latter very dangerously, wounded at about the same time.