War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0941 Chapter LVIII. THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 114. Report of Colonel Oliver Edwards, Thirty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.


April 7, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this brigade in the late operations:

The command moved from its camp on the night of the 1st, at 10.30 o'clock, and massed in front of Fort Fisher, where the brigade remained some time waiting for the Second Division to get into position. I then moved outside the works, marching left in front, and formed on the right of the First Brigade, Second Division, twenty-five paces echelon, in three lines, with an interval of 300 paces between each line, in the following order, from right to left: First line, Thirty-seventh Massachusetts and Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers; second line, One hundred and nineteenth Pennsylvania, Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, and Second Rhode Island Volunteers; third line, Eighty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers. I caused a skirmish line of seventy-five Spencer rifles (all volunteers) to be deployed along my brigade front, and twenty axmen, selected from the pioneer corps. I also distributed a sufficient quantity of axes along the first line, to be used incase of axmen had trouble in removing the obstructions. The command was severely harassed by the fire of the enemy's skirmishers while forming. At 4 a. m. the line moved forward, taking up the double-quick after passing the ravine in my front, and stormed the fort in my front, together with a portion of the works on its left, successfully carrying them, capturing 10 guns, 3 battle-flags, and large number of prisoners. I then directed a fire to be opened on the right and left flanks, for the purpose of sweeping the front of the First and Second Brigades and as much of the Second Division as possible. I caused the One hundred and nineteenth pennsylvania Volunteers to change front forward on first company, and to sweep the front on my right, which they accomplished, connecting with the One hundred and twenty-first New York Volunteers, of the Second Brigade. My skirmishers at once pushed on to the South Side Railroad, cut the telegraph wire and tore up a portion of the track, losing heavily undoing so. I then reformed my lines on the edge of the woods in rear of the position we had taken, the Eighty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers in the meantime destroying Mahone's division hospital, some distance in advance, on the right of the plank road. I then moved to the left along the Twenty-fourth Corps front a distance of about two miles and a half and halted. I was then ordered to move back in the direction of Petersburg. My brigade skirmished toward the city for a distance of two miles, where we formed a connected line with he First Brigade, on my left, and the Second Division of the Second Corps, on my right. During this advance, and while forming my lines, the command was exposed to a severe and at times to an enfilanding fire from the enemy's batteries, advantageously posted. As soon as my lines were formed I received orders to throw up a rifle-pit, covering my front, which was completed before dark. During the night the city was evacuated.

In the several marches my brigade participated in common with the rest of the division.

To loss of the brigade in the assault on the 2nd instant was about 192 killed and wounded.

On the 6th my brigade led the division, following in rear of the Third Division. About 3 p. m., while in the vicinity of Little Sailor's Creek, I received orders to push forward with all possible dispatch and to form