War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0200 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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Numbers 34. Report of Lieutenant Colonel James J. Smith, Sixty-ninth New York Infantry, of operations March 25.


March 27, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders, I respectfully submit a statement of the operations of this regiment through the day and during the action on Saturday, March 25, 1865.

Early in the morning we, in obedience to orders, struck tents, loaded our wagons, and got under arms on the color front. About 9 o'clock the regiment was marched up and deployed inside of the breast-works in front of the First Brigade. About 2.15 p. m. the regiment was marched out, and a line formed along our old line of picket-pits and facing the woods; ten minutes afterwards the line moved forward and halted about twenty paces in front of the Kenner house. About 4 o'clock the line was again, advanced and halted just in rear of the line of picket-pits abandoned by the enemy during the morning. About this time part of the First brigade, then in our front, moved to the left and the enemy commenced to take demonstrations of an attack on our front and on our right flank; and, in obedience to orders from the brigade commander, I threw out my right and left flank companies as skirmishers - the left company covering our front, and the right company covering and encircling our right flank, which was otherwise unprotected. The enemy's skirmishers being very close, our skirmishers commenced firing as soon as in line. Soon afterward the enemy's bugles sounded a charge, and from the right of our skirmish line the enemy was seen to advance in line, in very force, at the double-quick, and directly in our front. Our skirmishers immediately in front were driven in slowly, fighting stubbornly every foot of the ground. Captain Mulhall, commanding at this point, received a severe wound, falling some distance in front of our line, when the skirmishers (the left company) approached within twenty paces of our line. In obedience to orders, I called them in, and they formed on our left; soon afterward, the enemy having approached within about 200 yards, we opened fire. During this time the right company, under the command of Captain Murtha Murphy, whit with excellent judgment selected a good position for his men, poured in a good fire of the enemy, who were much exposed in his front; the first line of the enemy broke, and another line was immediately advanced, and also broke, but was also closed up again, and advanced as far as a swamp in our front, where they commenced firing. A heavy line of the enemy was then advanced on our skirmishers on the right, who, in consequence, had to fall back, and made a bold stand behind some old works, on a line with our right flank, in the field to our right. The enemy about this line discovered that this was our weakest [point] and commenced to pour in some of their troops. Not being able to drive Captain Murphy's company from his position, or fearing that a line of battle was there in reserve, they passed around to his right and advanced up, flanking his position, when he had to hastily fall back on the battalion to avoid capture. I then, in obedience to orders received from the brigade commander, in anticipation of such an event, threw back three companies on my right wing, and the fire changing from our direct front to our right and front, I directed our fire to the right oblique. The enemy soon afterward appeared to fall back, when the order to cease firing was given, and some four of our men went out and brought in Captain Mulhall, wounded, and who for