In connection with General Hartranft's division we now held possession of the captured line of works in front of Fort Sedgwick, but the enemy was fast bringing up re-enforcements, and kept up a constant and murderous fire our troops. Many of our commanding officers were killed or wounded, and it was with the greatest difficulty anything could be done forward reorganizing our broken regiments. The Fifty-sixth Massachusetts, which had been held in reserve, was sent forward to assist in holding the works already gained, and our troops, bravely resisted the fierce and repeated attacks upon our lines without yielding an inch of ground. Re-enforcements were asked for, and about 2 p. m. brevet Brigadier-General Collis reported to me with four regiments from City Point. General Collis was immediately ordered forward to strengthen the. line. In moving his brigade into position, from some unexplained cause, a slight delay occurred, during which the enemy made a furious attack, recapturing a few traverses, but the Fifty-sixth Massachusetts, Second Maryland, and parts of other regiments held firm and no material part of the works was given up. General Collis charged the enemy in turn and reoccupied the disputed portion of the line. A sharp fire of musketry was kept up between the opposing parties during the evening, but no serious attack was made on either side. During the night large fires were seen and heavy explosions heard in the direction of Petersburg, and by 3 a. m. it became evident the enemy were evacuating.
Disposed us were immediately made to advance, and at daylight skirmishers were thrown out, and the whole line moved forward and entered the city without opposition. Detached parties were sent to secure the bridges across the Appomattox. They were found to be on fire, but the flames were soon extinguished and two of the bridges saved.
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the officers and men of this command for the gallantry displayed in this army daring and successful assault. Nowhere throughout the entire line were the works more formidable than in front of Fort Sedgwick, and every foot of approach was covered by the enemy's artillery. the previous attack had served to put the enemy on the alert and we were received with a most destructive fire.
The division suffered a loss of 6 officers and 109 men killed 44 officers and 517 men wounded, and 3 officers and 96 men missing.*
Among the killed were Colonel George W. Gowan, Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, and Bvt. Major P. R. Peckham, acting assistant adjutant-general First Brigade, both accomplished and gallant officers.
Soon after entering the city orders were received from Major-General Parke to be prepared to move at once in pursuit of the enemy, and Brevet Brigadier-General Collis was relieved and orders with his command to City Point. Preparations were immediately made and early in the afternoon the division passed through the city, taking the River and Namozine roads on the right bank of the Appomattox and bivouacked that night April 3, some ten miles from the city. The next morning the march was resumed, passing from the Namozine to the Cox road, and halting that night, one brigade at Pickett's and the other at Ford's Station on the South Side Railroad. On the 5th First Brigade advanced to Morgansville, the Second to Wellville. on the 6th the First Brigade moved to Burkeville, the Second to Nottoway Court
*But see revised table, p. 589.