Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Battle of Deep Bottom II Event Report
July 26-27, 2003
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Roxbury Historical Society
August 16th, 1864
North of the James
We are now on the peninsula north of the James, and here on a hilltop, we are massing our forces. The weather is quite sublime, although somewhat hot, as meany are working up a big sweat in just moving around. We are massed with the 2d Conn Heavy Artillery, the 14th CV, the 8CV, the 5NH, the 79NY, and the 10th Mass. All indications are that this move over the pontoons to this location is a push on Richmond to draw Lee's forces away from Petersburg. The entire X Corps and the II Corps are understood to be involved.
We established our camps on a slight side hill here, and all is in preparation for a push inland. After our advance troops got the camps up, the troops continued to flow in. The first evening in the operation was spent in good company aroud the many fires of the camp. Saturday morning brought the roll calls, morning reports, and all. The boys got some breakfast up, and then the Sgt.Maj. detailed the police guard requirements from the companies. A guard mount parade was preformed, and all troops inspected. The guard around the camp was established, and the reliefs rotated on a regular basis. After a time, the guard was called in and the men were dismissed for their dinners.
During this time, orders came from headquarters that the men were to form at 1.30 and were to march by the right flank towards Richmond to the New Market Road, then north inland towards Fussels Mill. At the appointed hour, the Capt. marched the 7CV regiment off. We crossed the road, and proceeded north. We were deployed in line of battle, and found a ravine and pond to our front. We also found a thin line of rebel skirmishers to our front, and proceeded to aadvance on them. The confederate troops then appeared from below a small crest, and took up their positions behind their breastworks, and engaged us directly. We still advanced upon them, and replied in kind. Their strength was mounting, and the captain ordered us to go prone, and continue to fire. Presently, the captain ordered us up, and with a "Second brigade, Forward!" off we charged, and swept them from their works. We moved to the left flank, to get a position on their flank, and engaged the remaining forces. Soon, a large force of confederates advanced from our right, and got on our right flank. We changed front to address them, but they pushed hard, and being low on ammunition, we were obliged to retire. We retired a good distance, and the engagement of Deep Bottom was over. We sent a few details forward to attend the wounded and bring in as many as we could. We set a line of skirmishers to cover our withdrawal, and got ourselves back to our camps.
We had our evening dress parade, with the remaining men, and were graced by the citizens of the area to a fine chicken dinner. All was quite fine to get a good square meal, and we were quite thankful for that. The evening was once again spent around the fires, and a good many songs were sung, which shall not be named in this missive.
Sunday morning came, along with the reality of waking up in the army once more. Roll call and breakfast were followed by the obligatory guard mount, and the morning was occupied with the normal operations of the camp. There was a fine pancake breakfast in town that several of the army were invited to, and all was a complete success. Church call was held at 9.30.
The daily dress parade and inspection was held after dinner, and the troops were once again ordered to proceed to the north and probe the enemy as we did yesterday. The results were much the same. Around the Fussels Mill, we once again encountered the enemy in force there. This time, we split our forces, and sent the left wing to engage with an eye to capture a field piece on the right flank of the enemy. The gun did damage to the boys there, and the right wing was thus depleted in their ability to push the confederate infantry on our right flank. Once again, rebel reenforcements were brought up on our right flank, and that push was successful in forcing us to retire once more. We tried to bring off the wounded, but were obliged to leave a good many of them and all our dead in the hands of the enemy. Our commander went forward under a flag to ask the confederate commander for a short truce to get the boys back. Some exchages of prisoners were made, but the confederate colonel on the field told us to get our wounded, and get back across the river, out of his department.
The retrograde movements began at once. We returned to our camps, struck the tents, packed the baggage, and moved back towards Deep Bottom landing. The weather has been quite hot, and the effects of it on the men have caused many to fall out along the way. I imagine that if we were at full strength, that the results of this operation would have been much better. Most of the boys from home are well, those that are accounted for after the fights, but there are still a few missing. We will hold here at Deep Bottom until we get all the straglers in, and then the word is that we will return to Bermuda Hundred. Such is the results of the second Deep Bottom move in two months. Nothing. We are hoping that these efforts and losses fit some bigger plan, and have allowed more important developments to occur along the lines to the south. We have no indication that this is so, but wait for word when we return.
I have no more to write at this time, and since we are under orders to march at any time, I will close here and post this letter now. Please send me some stamps in your next, as I am just about out. I have been able to keep them dry in my wallet, but I am now down to my last two, and simply cannot get them out here on campaign. Send some papers from home as well, as all the boys desire some news from home.
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.