Next Page Site Map Previous Page
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME LI/1 [S# 107]

Report of Brig. Gen. William T. H. Brooks, U.S. Army, commanding division, of operations at Cold Harbor, Va., June 1-3, 1864.

[ar107_1248 con't]

June --, 1864.

SIR: On the arrival of this division at Cold Harbor, on the 1st instant, it was formed on the right of General Devens' division a little in front of the Cold Harbor and Bethesda Church road, in this order: First line, Henry's brigade, composed of Twenty-first Connecticut, Fortieth Massachusetts, Fifty-eighth and One hundred and eighty-eighth Pennsylvania, and the Thirteenth New Hampshire, of Burnham's brigade, with the Ninety-second New York thrown forward as skirmishers. Second line, three regiments of Burnham's, One hundred and eighteenth New York, Eighth Connecticut, and Tenth New Hampshire. Third line, Marston's brigade in line of battalions in column of division. At the order the whole advanced through a wood some 200 or 300 yards in width, and on emerging on an open space about 100 yards wide the first line came under the fire of the enemy's skirmishers partially protected by slight rifle-pits within the edge of a pine grove, and also under the fire of musketry and artillery from the enemy's main line to our front and right, about 200 yards distant. The pits were charged and the enemy driven to his main line. This was done without much loss, except in the Thirteenth New Hampshire. This regiment, on emerging from the first woods spoken of above, found nothing but an open plain between itself and the main line of the enemy's intrenchments, which was completely commanded by his muskets and artillery, yet they maintained their ground until relieved after dark. During the night Marston's brigade was sent to General Devens' support, who had the enemy in strong force in his front in rifle-pits within the same woods <ar107_1249> that he was in. Marston was put on his right, filling the interval between him and Henry. For a description of this dangerous and exposed position I beg leave respectfully to refer you to General Marston's report.(*) These positions were occupied until the general assault that took place on the 3d instant, when the division was all formed on the ground held by Marston. The ground to my right, vacated by Henry, now became occupied by General Martindale, a slight ravine dividing the two divisions. Devens' division was replaced by troops from the Sixth Corps. In this assault Marston had three regiments in column of division, with the Ninety-eighth New York, Colonel Wead, in line on his left and the Tenth New Hampshire, Lieutenant-Colonel Coughlin, thrown forward as skirmishers. The enemy occupied a strong line of rifle-pits directly in our front and near the farther edge of the woods that we were all in. An advance was gallantly made by Marston's brigade, supported by Henry and Burnham, over these pits and through on to the open plain, on which the enemy's main line of intrenchments are. I again respectfully refer you to General Marston's report for a description of this ground and the murderous fire to which our troops were for a while subjected and of the impossibility of a farther advance. All we could do was to hold on to the rifle-pits and keep the enemy in his works. This, though, was done with much loss, every inch of ground being within the enemy's range of both musketry and canister. About noon, another attack being ordered, three of Burnham's regiments were formed in column, with one of Henry's in line in the rear. Fortunately the order was countermanded, for close examination of the ground afterward showed that the attack would have been attended with the most disastrous results. This position was held, and at night-fall our lines were intrenched and held until the final withdrawal.

In the operations of this day the losses of this division were very heavy, especially in officers. The First Brigade lost Colonel Wend, of the Ninety-eighth New York, and Lieutenant-Colonel Perry, of the One hundred and thirty-ninth New York. The Third Brigade lost Lieutenant-Colonels Anderson, Ninety-second New York, and Marshall, Fortieth Massachusetts, all gallant soldiers, and during the operation around Cold Harbor Lieutenant-Colonel Burpee. Twenty-first Connecticut, was mortally wounded. He was an officer of much merit. It is not improper to make here a report of the death of the colonel of this regiment, Col. A. H. Dutton, then in command of the brigade, who was mortally wounded while making a reconnaissance in front of our lines near Port Walthall, just as this corps was about to join the Army of the Potomac. The service has lost no more accomplished officer than Colonel Dutton. The list of company officers is also large. It is my painful duty to have to report the death of my aide-de-camp, Lieut. A. K. Parsons, Fourth Vermont, who was killed on the 3d instant. Close association with the deceased for over two years made me well acquainted with his merits. In him were combined all that go to make the gentleman and the gallant soldier. Captain Read, assistant adjutant-general, was slightly wounded on the 3d, and Lieutenant Wheeler, aide-de-camp, on the 2d instant, both while in the active discharge of their duties. My thanks are due to the members of my staff for their arduous services, performed under perilous circumstances, as this record shows. They are, in addition to those already mentioned, Capt. W. R. Howe, assistant adjutant-general and acting inspector-general, and Lieutenant Ladd, Thirteenth New Hampshire, commissary of musters and acting 79 R R--VOL LI, PT I <ar107_1250> aide-de-camp. I cannot close this report without calling attention to the zealous co-operation and assistance derived from the respective brigade commanders throughout this campaign, Brigadier-Generals Marston and Burnham, with their assistant adjutants-general, Captains Lawrence and Clark, and Col. Guy V. Henry, Fortieth Massachusetts. I respectfully inclose their reports and concur in their commendation of individuals.(*)

Very respectfully,