Numbers 18. Report of Lieutenant Rhode Lewis, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, commanding Company L, of operations March 25.
BATTERY Numbers 12,
Before Petersburg, Va., March 25, 1865.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the part taken by Captain William G. Pride's company (L), First Connecticut Artillery, in the engagement of 25th instant.
It was reported to me at 4 a. m. that the enemy were advancing and then past our picket-line. I immediately ordered the company to stand to their pieces, which order was scarcely complied with, when an officer of the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts reported to me that Battery Numbers 11, command taken prisoners. I immediately commenced shelling Battery Numbers 11 until ordered by a battalion commander to cease firing, which I immediately complied with, as I saw his battalion ready to charge and retake the work. I then saw two lines of the enemy advancing on my position from the rear, the rear line at about 500 yards distance; these I shelled by reserving my mortars until they came within 100 yards, when I ceased firing on them with mortars and opened with musketry. Seeing the strengthened of the enemy, which I this must have been 1,000, and being without support on either flank, I ordered the company to Fort Haskell, which place was reached, with a loss of thirteen men taken prisoners. On joining Lieutenant Bingham's detachment at Fort Haskell, I opened fire on my old battery, Numbers 12, and on Fort Stedman from two Coehorn mortars, which I kept up until the enemy were driven out; Lieutenant Bingham, in the meantime, replying to the enemy's batteries in front from the other two Coehorns. As soon as our infantry came within 150 yards of Battery 12, Lieutenant Couch and Sergeant Mcnamara re-entered the work, taking 1 lieutenant of the Twenty-sixth Georgia Regiment and 12 men prisoners. As soon as we regained the battery, I opened fire on the retreating and on their picket-lines from four Coehorn mortars, which was continued until they had nearly all regained their lines.
I am much indebted to Lieutenant Couch and Sergeant McNamara for their coolness and decision during the engagement; to them I must ascribe the small loss in prisoners by the company. I would also recommend to your notice Private James T. Murphy, Company L, First Connecticut Artillery, for distinguished bravery during the engagement, he having been in charge of a light 12-pounder gun of the Third New Jersey Battery, after most of the cannoneers belonging to the piece were disabled.
The following is the loss of Company L, First Connecticut Artillery, during the engagement: 1 enlisted man killed, 5 wounded, and 13 missing (supposed to be prisoners).
I am, sir, yours, most respectfully,
First Lieutenant, First Connecticut Artillery, Commanding Company L.
Lieutenant W. S. MALONY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Siege Batteries.