War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 1222 N. AND SE.VA., N.C., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

right flank, and took a position immediately in rear of my line for the purpose of cover and rest. Immediately after gaining this position I threw forward my skirmishers and sharpshooters, the latter armed with the Spencer rifle, and drove the enemy's advance line some distance, and as soon as my men were rested a little I started on a charge for Fort Whitworth, situated obliquely to my right at a distance of about 600 yards. My command advanced in gallant style, the men cheering and shouting as they ran, and notwithstanding they encountered a perfect storm of rifle-balls from the garrison of the fort (the enemy's guns having been removed) as also from skirmishers and sharpshooters on my left, succeeded in making a lodgment behind a cluster of small buildings, in which a regiment of the enemy had been lately quartered, at a distance of from 150 to 100 yards of the fort, with a comparatively small loss.

Finding myself now quite in advance of any portion of our lines, I here waited for them to advance, as I could not go farther without receiving an enfilanding fire from Fort Gegg, situated about 600 yards to the right of Fort Whitworth, and being also at the same time under the necessity of respecting somewhat the movements of a line of the enemy with a section of artillery that had commenced to form in a position that menaced my left, and apparently for the purpose of taking advantage of my position. During my stay here my command was engaged in pouring a perfect storm of balls into the fort, and succeeded in completely silencing the garrison. I now had the satisfaction of seeing General Foster moving by a right oblique upon Fort Gregg, and the First and Second Brigades, of the Independent Division, under General Turner, coming up against it on his right, and at the same time also to see a division of the Sixth Corps and a battery advancing against the force on my left. I now only waited for this force to advance sufficiently to protect me in an advance, and during this time a most desperate conflict was going on for the possession of Fort Gregg, which finally ended on my left, as the garrison of Fort Whitworth had commenced to leave. Our final charge was now made, my command making an entrance only in time to secure a portion of the garrison. I captured, however, 1 colonel, 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 65 men. In addition to these, we found 2 dead and 2 wounded men in the fort. A portion of my command pursued the retreating force, secured a few more prisoners, and a few were picked up by my skirmishers, raising the number to about eighty-five in all. That portion of my command which advanced beyond Fort Whitworth Captured a small redoubt about 200 yards in advance, thus completing the possession of the outer defenses of Petersburg. After resting my command an hour in the fort I proceeded to join the division, by the direction of the general, commanding, on the right of Fort Gregg, thus closing the day's operations.

The officers and men of my command, almost without exception, displayed great gallantry, endurance, and determination, whilst many rendered themselves conspicuous by their courage and intelligence. Without being invidious I may mention particularly Major Ayers, commanding the Eleventh West Virginia Volunteers, who though a young man, and having risen from the ranks within the lat eight months, has shown himself on all occasions on which he has been tried worthy of especial notice as a most promising young officer, and I beg leave to recommend him for promotion to colonel by brevet, in order that he may continue to command the regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel King having