Headquarters 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Corps
Sept. 17th 1864
Major Chas Mundee
Asst. Adjt. Genl.
I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this Brigade from the time it left Cold Harbor June 12, to the time it embarked at City Point for Washington July 9th 1864.
Leaving Cold Harbor at midnight we crossed the Chicahominy at Jones Bridge on the 13th of June and continued the march the next day towards the James River and encamped about one mile from Charles City Court House and remained in that vicinity until the evening of June 16th when we crossed the James River and marched for Petersburg where we arrived on the afternoon of the 17th. The Brigade relieved Gen. Brooks Division of the 18th Corps and occupied the rebel works which had been carried by that Corps. The 2nd Vt. And part of the 5th Vt. went to the front on picket.
On the morning of the 18th there was a general attack upon the enemy's works and it was ascertained that the enemy's main lines had fallen back during the night. Later in the day the enemy was attacked in his rear position. The Brigade except for the 2nd and the 5th Vt. Regts. which held the skirmish line took no part in the engagement being held in reserve.
On the evening of the 19th the Brigade relieved Wheaton's and Edward's Brigade from the front line and held it during the next day skirmishing with the enemy during the day. While in this position the enemy opened upon us heavy artillery fire from the front and also several batteries across the Appamattox to our right and rear, inflicting however but small loss.
Upon the evening of June 20th the Brigade was relieved from it's position on the right and moving to the left it relieved Gen. Gibbon's Division of the 2nd Corps and held that position twenty four hours. The front line was more or less engaged during the day.
On the evening of the 21st, I was relieved from the front by a Division of the 18th Corps and following the other Brigades of the Division marched to the entire left of the army and halted the next morning near the "Williams House".
This Brigade took position on the left of Rickett's Division, and as that Division advanced in line, I was ordered to move by the flank so as to protect his left. Subsequently the whole force fell back and commenced fortifying near the Williams House. The orders were however soon changed and an attack on the enemy's position just after dark. The main force of the enemy by this time had fallen back and the charge was made for about a mile through thick brush. I was ordered to follow and protect the left flank of Rickett's Division, which order was obeyed, and the Brigade got into position on the left, about one mile from the Weldon Railroad, late that night. The 4th Vt. Was placed on picket to protect our then present front and flank.
June 23rd. No enemy appeared in our immediate front. Captain Beattie 3rd Vt. Com'd about ninety picked men as Sharpshooters pushed to the left and front as far as the Weldon Railroad, and a portion of the Pioneers of this Brigade went out to the road and commenced it's destruction. At the same time I was called upon for 200 men, properly officered to report to Lieut. Col. S.E. Pingree 3rd Vt. General Officer of the Day. The detail was made from the 11th Vt. And the men were deployed so as to form a skirmish line from the right of the 4th Vt. to the Railroad for the purpose of protecting the pioneers, and at the same time of maintaining a connection with the main force. Soon after, I was called upon for another detail to support the line. This detail was to be reported by a Brigade Staff Officer at a house named, to a Division Staff Officer, and by him placed in position. Major C.K. Fleming 11th Vt. Was sent out in command of the force and received instructions from the Division Commander through the officer of his staff. Major Flemming's command was posted about half or three-fourths of a mile in front and to the left of the Brigade which constituted the extreme left of the line.
The enemy attacked the party on the railroad and the skirmishers gradually fell back. It became apparent that the enemy was advancing in considerable force and Major Flemming strengthened his position by throwing up a breastwork of rails. It was thought that the attack would be made upon his front, but the enemy bore to the left around a skirt of woods. The picket line in front of Rickett's Division advanced. It was said that it was ordered forward one mile and would protect Major Flemming's right. About the same time the 4th Vt. was ordered forward as skirmishers on the left of Major Flemming. The enemy bore still further to the left and attacked the right of Major Walker's Battalion. Two Regts. of the first Brigade were hurried forward to strengthen the line in that direction.
The enemy broke through at the threatened point and occupied an open field in rear of the 4th Vt. and Major Flemming, and when they attempted to fall back towards the right, it was found that the picket line in front of the 3rd Division had fallen back, and that the enemy occupied in force the woods to the right and rear. Escape in that direction was impossible. The forces on the right and left closed up and formed a line in the rear, and but a few escaped. All that subsequently transpired is not fully known, but enough is known to satisfy me that our men fought to the last, and surrendered only when ammunition was nearly exhausted and surrender became necessary.
The 4th Vt. Vols was commanded by Major John E. Pratt a cool and intrepid officer, whose dashing bravery had often been put to the test and has never been found wanting. Major Flemming had also on more then one occasion proved himself a gallant and accomplished officer.
Although Lt. Col. S.E. Pingree 3rd Vt. Was not under my command that day, but was acting as Officer of the Day in charge of the whole picket or skirmish line, I bear willing testimony to his coolness and bravery, and almost superhuman efforts. He had a difficult and expanded line, and his attention was called to different points almost at the same time. He performed his duties in a manner entitling him to great praise.
In this engagement Lieut. M.H. Sherman a valuable officer of Major Walker's battalion was instantly killed, and Lieut. Charles G. Fisher was wounded in the early part of the skirmishing.
Captain Wm. C. Tracy 4th Vt. was killed. His dead body was found on the field next day surrounded by the muskets of his men lying on the ground, giving evidence that he had rallied around him the men of his command, and that they had surrendered only when their gallant leader had fallen. He was near the left of the 4th Vt. skirmish line and separated from the main force. Capt. Tracy was a good and brave officer.
Later in the day of June 23rd the command moved back and took position near the William's House and here it remained until the 29th of June when the 6th Corps marched to Ream's Station to assist Gen. Wilson who was attacked there on his return from his raid upon the Danville Railroad. This Brigade took the lead. The 3rd Vt. was deployed as skirmishers and met the rebel skirmishers within about one half mile of Ream's Station. Our men charged upon them and drove them from the filed without the loss of a man. The main force of the enemy had just left. We fortified our position and remained there the next day, and marched back about half way during the night of June 30th and subsequently back to our former position near the Williams House. This Brigade was held in reserve and went into camp. When the (word missing/paper loss) Division of the 6th Corps left for Baltimore the Brigade moved forward and again occupied the line of works near the Williams House. On the evening of July 8th, the Brigade received marching orders, and marched to City Point that night, and the next day (July 9th) embarked to Washington.
In the several engagements and skirmishes of the time the Command crossed the Rapidan May 5th, to the time it embarked for Washington July 9th, the Brigade lost 350 killed, 1579 wounded and 467 missing, in all 2396.
I herewith forward nominal list of Casualties.
I am Major, very Resp'y
Your Obt. Servt.
L. A. Grant,
Brig Genl Comdg
Source: transcription of an original document from the collection of John Gibson