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MAY 4-JUNE 2, 1864.--Operations on the south side of the James River, Va.
No. 54.--Report of Col. Aaron F. Stevens, Thirteenth New Hampshire Infantry, of operations May 7-16.


May 19, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with Special Orders, No. 18, dated headquarters Second Brigade, First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, May 19, 1864, I have the honor to report the operations of the regiment under my command in the recent engagements with the enemy from the 6th to the 16th instant:

On the morning of the 7th instant we left camp in light marching order; proceeded toward the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad. About 4 miles from camp the column came up with the enemy. The Eighth Connecticut being deployed as skirmishers, my regiment, in connection with others of the brigade, deployed in line of battle to the right of the road and supported the skirmishers. We advanced in line and occupied the position from which the enemy had been driven. We afterward moved to the right of that position in order to support the Eighth Connecticut, who were then skirmishing with the enemy. The last named regiment was soon withdrawn, and my regiment, in connection with the Tenth New Hampshire, held the advance until orders were given to retire. We lost in this day's operations one man only--Sergt. Gilman Davis, Company A, who was mortally wounded.

Monday, the 9th instant, the regiment left camp about 5 a.m., and marched over the same road and deployed in line on the left at a point nearly opposite the position occupied on the Saturday preceding. A line of skirmishers from the Eighty-first New York having been deployed on our front, my regiment moved forward in support on the left of the brigade, Company C being thrown out as flankers on the left. We moved without meeting the enemy to the line of the Port Walthall Branch Railroad. From this point we moved to the right and down the Petersburg road and by the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad to within a mile of Swift Creek, where we were again deployed in line, and Companies B and E, under command of Captain Julian, were deployed as skirmishers on the left, the remainder of the regiment remaining in support of the skirmish line. The enemy having been driven by the skirmishers across the creek, my regiment took position in the brigade line in rear of Shippen's house. This position was maintained until the next day about noon, when we retired under orders. At night my skirmishers were relieved by Companies F and G of my regiment, under command of Captain Stoodley. About 8 o'clock that night the pickets of the Tenth New Hampshire, in advance of the line, were driven in upon their supports by a charge of the enemy, but he was repulsed and driven back promptly by the Tenth. We remained in support of the Tenth during the night, firing being renewed from time to time by the enemy. In this day's operations Privates George E. Bodge and William F. Staples, of Company B, were severely wounded while skirmishing with the enemy. In the operations of the succeeding day Private Charles Heath, of Company H, was severely wounded in the head by a musket-ball, and Corpl. James L. Glenville, of Company D, was wounded in the wrist, as he states, while <ar68_139> absent from his company in the line of skirmishers. On the afternoon of the 10th instant we returned to camp.

The regiment left camp about 7 o'clock on the morning of the 12th instant and moved with its brigade to the Richmond and Petersburg turnpike, which it crossed and took its position on the west side of the turnpike near Dr. Cheatham's house (Company K, Captain Betton, were deployed as flankers to protect our left). At this point Company H (Captain Smith) and Company I (Captain Goss) were deployed as skirmishers. The remainder of the regiment moved in line through the woods and a swamp to the turnpike, capturing 4 prisoners. For some cause a gap had been opened in the line of skirmishers and I found my regiment when we again reached the turnpike unexpectedly under the fire of the enemy's artillery and considerably in advance of the line of skirmishers. I at once withdrew it from its position to the line of support. We encamped that night near the position last mentioned. In the operations of that day Private George F. Harmon, Company A, was killed, and Private Robert Oliver, Company C, and James Mooney, Company D, were wounded by the enemy's shell. On the 13th instant we moved forward with the command across Falling Creek and skirmished with the enemy during the day, Companies A. C, and D of my regiment being on duty as skirmishers that day and actively engaged with the enemy during the day and night. In this day's operation Sergt. Nathaniel F. Meserve, of Company A, was killed. Sergt. Charles W. Batchelder, Corpl. John E. Prescott, Private John McCarty, of Company D, and Corpl. W. D. Carr, of Company G, were wounded.

On the morning of the 14th instant we started at 6 o'clock and moved forward in support of the line of skirmishers. We soon came upon the outer works of the enemy at Drewry's Bluff and took position in connection with the brigade on the left of the turnpike, where we remained until the morning of the 16th. My regiment lost in the operations of the 14th Privates George W. Hutchins, of Company A, Eli Huntoon, Austin Gilman, and Henry Lynch, of Company D, Jeremiah Morrow, of Company H, and Joseph F. Lampson, of Company I, wounded. Company I (Captain Goss) relieved the three above-named companies in the skirmish line and there remained until relieved by Company B (Lieutenant Gafney), who remained on the skirmish line until about the time we were ordered to retire on the morning of the 16th. On Sunday, the 15th, the regiment was not engaged, but occupied its position at the earth-works.

At 3.30 a.m. on Monday, the 16th, the regiment was under arms. Soon after daylight a brisk firing was heard on our right and soon extended to our front. The fog was dense, but it was apparent that our skirmishers in front were hotly engaged with the enemy. About an hour after sunrise the fog lifted sufficiently to enable us to discover the enemy maneuvering and apparently massing his troops in the edge of the woods in front and to the left of us, with a view to an assault upon our position. My regiment opened fire, and about the same time Lieutenant Gafney with his skirmishers retired and rejoined the regiment. They had captured 24 prisoners, including 2 officers. At this time the enemy in large numbers was plainly to be seen in the edge of the woods. They kept up a continuous fire upon our position. The fighting continued until about 9 a.m., when we received peremptory orders to retire from the position. We crossed the field in our rear without casualty and took position in the edge of the woods on the west of the turnpike. Company E (Captain Julian) <ar68_140> was deployed at the edge of the woods as skirmishers to cover the retreat and was withdrawn when the column retired in the afternoon. The regiment retired with the brigade, recrossed the turnpike, and took position east of the Half-Way House. Company H (Captain Smith) was here thrown out as flankers. The regiment moved into camp that afternoon at the head of the column. The casualties on the 16th were Sergt. Nathaniel E. Dickey, of Company B, Private Andrew M. Dunsmore, of Company C, Corpl. John S. Cheney, of Company D, Corpl. W. B. Lewis, of Company I, and Second Lieut. Robert R. Thompson, of Company H, wounded; Private John H. Harvey, of Company E, and Corpl. John C. Walker, Company H, killed. Private Owen McMann, of Company E, missing.

The following-named officers only took part in these operations, viz: A. F. Stevens, colonel commanding; Maj. William Grantman; Capt. E. E. Dodge, acting major; Capt. Normand Smith, commanding Company H; Capt. N. D. Stoodley, commanding Company G; Capt. George N. Julian, commanding Company E; Capt. Matthew T. Betton, commanding Company K; Capt. E. W. Goss, commanding Company I; Capt. Buel C. Carter, commanding Company A.

First two days only: Capt. George Fart, commanding Company D; First Lieut. James M. Durell, commanding Company C: First Lieut. Charles B. Gafney, commanding Company B; First Lieut. H. W. Hall, commanding Company A; First Lieut. J. Dustin, commanding Company F; Second Lieut. H. Churchill, Company A; Second Lieut. C. C. Favor, Company B; Second Lieut. A. J. Sherman, Company D; Second Lieut. S. M. Thompson, Company E; Second Lieut. George H. Taggard, Company F; Second Lieut. L. C. Oliver, Company G; Second Lieut. R. R. Thompson, Company H; Chaplain George G. Jones; First Lieut. R.P. Staniels, acting adjutant; First Lieut. M. L. Morrison, regimental quartermaster; Dr. E. Morrill, assistant surgeon.

This list is exclusive of officers detached and on the general staff. Drs. Richardson and Sullivan were on detached service at the hospital.

The conduct of the officers and men of the command was commendable. They endured the fatigue and met the dangers of seven days' marching and fighting without flinching, and, under all the circumstances, with commendable promptness and alacrity. I beg leave to commend particularly the tenacity with which they held their position on the morning of the 16th (in connection with the Tenth New Hampshire, posted on their right) against two lines of the enemy for some time after it was known that our right had been turned and the troops on our immediate left had retired across the field.

A portion of the camp and garrison equipage of the regiment, together with officers' baggage, adjutant and quartermaster books and papers were brought up to our position on Sunday evening, 15th. In retiring from our position the next morning, we, in common with other regiments and commands, were obliged to abandon a considerable share of it. The adjutant and quartermaster desks, books, and papers were necessarily left upon the field and lost.

The following is the report of prisoners captured by my regiment:

By Company A, Lieutenant Hall commanding 1

By Company B, Lieutenant Gafney commanding 24

By Company D, Captain Farr commanding 10


By Company E, Captain Julian commanding 3

By Company I, Captain Goss commanding 13

By Company K, Captain Betton, commanding 8

Total 59

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel 13th New Hampshire Vols., Commanding.

Capt. C. A. CLARK,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.