War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 1185 Chapter LVIII. THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

No. 222. Report of Colonel Thomas O. Osborn, Thirty-ninth Illinois Infantry, commanding First Brigade.


Appomattox Court-House, April 14, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of this brigade since leaving the north bank of the James:

The brigade, preceded by battalion of sharpshooters, under command of Captain Curtis, moved from camp on the New Market road at 6.45 p.m. March 27, 1865, crossing the James River, at Deep Bottom, at 11 p.m.; crossed the Appomattox, at Broadway Landing, at daylight, halting about two hours a mile beyond for breakfast. Marched during the day toward Hatcher's Run, on the left, bivouacking for the night near Humphreys's Station. At 4 a.m. March 29, 1865, moved forward and relieved General Miles' (First) division, of the Second Army Corps, occupying his entire division front.

At 3 p.m. on the 31st of March, the Third and Fourth Brigades of this division being engaged on our left, our pickets were strongly re-enforced, in accordance with orders of the brigadier-general commanding, and a brisk skirmish was commenced with the enemy's pickets, which continued about two hours, drawing heavy re-enforcement to their lines. But two of our men were wounded, one of the Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers and one of the Sixty-second Ohio Volunteers, both slight.

Being relieved by a brigade of colored troops April 1, 1865, at 7 p.m. I moved my brigade to the left in accordance with orders, reporting to the brigadier-general commanding. Arriving on the ground designated my command was placed in readiness to charge. In the meantime, by direction of General Foster, I sent six men forward to ascertain, if possible, the strength of the enemy and the nature of the ground and obstructions intervening between our forces and the enemy's works, which was satisfactory accomplished, the scouts giving full and reliable information.

At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd of April I ordered forward one regiment of my command-the Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers-by direction of the general commanding, to support the Third Brigade, which was skirmishing with the enemy. At 6 a.m. I withdrew the regiment, and in accordance with orders from the brigadier-general commanding I moved left in front to the ground of the Sixth Army Corps, some four or five miles to the right. Nearing the front of the Sixth Corps, and would having been received that the enemy were reoccupying a portion of the line of works from which they had been driven early in the morning, the command "double-quick" was given. Passing through the lines of the Sixth Corps, the Sixty-second Ohio Volunteers, being in advance, I threw them forward as skirmishers, while the other regiments of the brigade were thrown into position in echelon, in the following order: The One hundred and ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers on the right, their right resting on the line of rebel works, the Sixty-seventh Ohio Volunteers in the center, the Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteers being on the left. At once pressing rapidly forward we drove the enemy from their positions, capturing some 25 prisoners, with 2 pieces of artillery, and, turning these guns upon the enemy, moved forward until we gained the hill immediately in front of Fort Gregg and the chain of forts in the interior line of defenses of Petersburg, which we found to be strongly defended by artillery and