No. 48. Report of Colonel Lucius F. Hubbard, Fifth Minnesota Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations March 20-April 9.
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, FIRST DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS,
Near Blakely, Ala., April 12, 1865.
CAPTAIN: The following report of the part taken by the Second Brigade, First Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, in the operations which have recently culminated in the capture of Spanish Fort and its dependencies, is respectfully submitted:
On the 20th day of March the command broke camp at Dauphin Island and moved by transports up Fish River. Disembarked at Dannelly's Mills on the 21st, and encamped in that immediate vicinity. On the following day a new position was taken and entrenchments constructed covering the front of the brigade, which were occupied as a line of defense until the 25th. On the 23rd and 24th our pickets were attacked by the enemy, but each time the latter was repulsed with the occurrence of but a single casualty in this command. At 8 a.m. on the 25th of March the brigade, holding the advance of the corps, moved out on the Deer Park road. A small force of the enemy was soon encountered, with which skirmishing at once commenced. With four companies of the Ninth Minnesota Infantry deployed as skirmishers, and the balance of the regiment as support, the enemy was steadily pressed back and the road made clear for the column to pass. Until ordered to halt and encamp for the night the skirmishers made no pause in their advance. During the following day's march the brigade, being in the rear, encountered no enemy. On the 27th during the progress of the investment of Spanis Fort, the Second Brigade held a position in the center of, and advanced in line of battle with, the First Division. A line of skirmishers deployed along my front met those of the enemy within perhaps a mile of the rebel defenses and engaged them actively, the latter slowly giving way, but contesting the ground quite stubbornly. The line of battle advanced by degrees until a position was secured within about 800 yards of the fort, the enemy the while delivering from his works a spirited fire of musketry and artillery. During the following night a line of investment was established and the command employed entrenching the position. The Second Brigade held a front of four regiments running from right to left in the following order, viz: Eighth Wisconsin, Forty-seventh Illinois, Fifth Minnesota, and Ninth Minnesota, the Eleventh Missouri being held in reserve. My skirmishers were advanced during the night and posted as pickets within 300 yards of the enemy's works. The 28th and 29th were spent in strengthening our defensive works and constructing bomb-proofs for the protection of the men. On the night of the 29th I commenced to run a sap in the direction of the fort, and on the 31st had reached a position and constructed a parallel was at once manned with sharpshooters, a detail of 250 picked men, the best shots is the brigade, being made for that purpose, and placed under the command of Captain A. P. French, Fifth Minnesota Infantry, which detailed was retained permanently on duty during the continuance of the siege. These sharpshooters rendered very effective service throughout the siege, greatly annoying the enemy's artillerists, in some instances compelling him to abandon the use of his guns and fill his embrasures with earth. Captain French is entitled to much credit for the efficient management of his command.
The work upon the approaches to the fort was actively prosecuted until the night of the 8th of April. At that date my sharpshooters had