War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 1224 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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Report of Colonel Alvin C. Voris, Sixty-seventh Ohio Infantry, of operations May 9-10, 1864.


In the Field, May 11, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance to verbal instructions received on the turnpike on the morning of the 9th instant, my command, consisting of 539 enlisted men and 26 officers of the Sixty-seventh Regiment Ohio Veteran Volunteers, and one section of the First Connecticut Battery, Lieutenant George Metcalf commanding, occupied the positions directed, and was engaged by the enemy about 5 p. m., they evidently intending to compel me to develop my strength and position. In this affair the Sixty-seventh sustained a loss of three men. Just before dark, learning that my position was being turned on my left, seriously endangering my rear, I fell, back under cover of the woods to the crossing of the diagonal or Bermuda Hundred road with the turnpike, and made such dispositions for the night as were necessary to prevent surprise. Frequent firing during the night on my picket-lines indicated that the enemy were feeling my position, [reports] of which, with request for re-enforcements, were communicated directly to General Gillmore, commanding corps, to whom I was instructed to report. At daybreak of day I was re-enforced by the Thirteenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, One hundred and sixty-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, and section of Fourth New Jersey Battery, and shortly afterward by the colored cavalry under my command as to occupy with a strong line of skirmishers an irregular curved line reaching from the railroad to a point near to the river and above Doctor Howlett's house, the curve extending toward the front. The enemy appearing in strong force before noth flanks and in front. I placed all my available force so as to give prompt support to the line of skirmishers, saving only four companies (of the Thirteenth Indiana Volunteers) for a reserve; which I placed at the crossing of the diagonal road with the turnpike. The deployement of so large a portion of my command as skirmishers may apepar injudicious, but the thickly wooded nature of the country and the habits of the Thirteenth Indiana Volunteers and Sixty-seventh Ohio Volunteers made them the best troops in the world for this purpose, and all the circumstances were favorably adapted to make a strong skirmish line effective. The enemy appearing on so wide a front, I was compelled to make a large showing to keep them in check till re-enforcements could come up, which were promised me. The cavalry were placed so as to cover my left flank and be able to give support on the turnpike, I having before this communicated with Colonel Howell, requisting him to look after the force that was reported on my right and in the immediate vicinity of his left. I placed one section of light artillery on rise of ground on the diagonal road, so as to command the approaches to my left, and the other sections on the pike to the front, each properly supported by infantry (two companies Sixty-seventh). I must confess to great embarrassment in making all these dispositions in the manner I did, considering the weakness of my force and the presumed ability of the enemy to throw a large force upon me. These dispositions were not materially changed when General A. H. Terry arrived, shortly after which a general engagement ensued. My arrangements were approved by him, and I was left in command of the field. The troops under my command acted their part through the entire engagement with great vigor and tenacity,