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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1865 Report

Troops in the Field
(continued)

The TENTH REGIMENT has served during the year, until mustering out, in the first brigade, third division, of the Sixth Corps. On the tenth of October, 1864, the regiment marched from Strasburg, where it was then stationed, to Front Royal, on the thirteenth to Millwood, on the fourteenth returned to Middletown, and on the nineteenth was engaged in the battle of Cedar Creek. This regiment went into the action with seventeen officers and two hundred and sixty men. Soon after day-light the regiment, with the Sixth Corps, was formed in line of battle at right angles to their original position and facing towards what had been their left flank. The enemy had at this time broken the left, and the fugitives and retreating trains were constantly passing the line. About half past seven, A. M., the enemy opened a very severe fire if artillery and musketry from a commanding crest, which they had gained in front of the line, and a partially enfilading fire from a hill upon the right, and the line fell back to a low ridge about four hundred yards to the rear. In this movement three pieces of artillery had been left, to which the rebels advanced. Seeing this, a charge was ordered, and the regiment, with the colors in advance, charged up to the guns and recovered them. Sergeant william Mahoney of Co. E, color bearer of the regiment, was the first to reach the guns, planting the colors upon one of them. The rebels gave way in confusion and the recaptured guns were drawn off,--two of them some distance by hand. The rebels, having rallied, poured in a heavy fire from the front and right, and the troops upon the left falling back, the division was soon exposed to a fire from that flank also. The loss at this point was very severe, and the line fell back to the second ridge, where a stand was made, and the enemy were again repulsed from the crest in front, which they attempted to carry; but the line, being again flanked upon the left by ah heavy force of the enemy, again fell back about a mile. Although broken and somewhat scattered in places, they yet fell back slowly, the men constantly turning and firing upon the advancing enemy, although subjected all the time to a cross fire of musketry and heavy fire from several guns which commanded the whole plain. Reaching a cross road, the line was halted and re-formed about nine, a. m.,--but, as the rebels still continued to advance upon the left, the line was again withdrawn some distance.

In the general advance, which was ordered after Gen. Sheridan had arrived and re-formed the troops, the regiment, with the division, moved forward through woods into an open field, where they were halted for a few minutes, and then again pushed on, forcing the rebels back, until they took up a very strong position on a continuous ridge along the crest of which was a stone wall, and made a determined stand. The fire was incessant and very heavy for about half an hour, when a general charge was ordered, the troops advanced upon the run, and the enemy were completely routed. The regiment advanced over the battle ground of the morning and soon after dark took possession of their old camp. The officers and men of the regiment performed their duty noble during the entire day. the casualties in the regiment were as follows:--Killed, 14; wounded, 66; missing, 5; total, 85;--being nearly one third of the entire regiment. Among the killed was Capt. Lucian D. Thompson, of Co. D, and the brave Color Sergeant, Mahoney, who fell in the final charge, while gallantly advancing with the colors at the front of the regiment.

Among the wounded, were ADjutant Wyllys lyman, 1st Lieut. Geo. E.Davis, and 2d Lieut. James M. Read, of Co. D; 2d Lieut. B. Brooks Clark, of Co. E, who subsequently died of the wounds received; Capt. Chester F. Nye, of Co. F; 1st Lieut. William White, and 2d Lieut. Charles W. Wheeler, of Co. I, and 1st lieut. George P. Welch, and 2d Lieut. Austin W. Fuller, of Co. K.

During the last charge the regiment was commanded by Capt. Henry H. Dewey, of Co. A.

The official report of this engagement, by Colonel William W. Henry, is published in Appendix C.

From the nineteenth of October to the ninth of November, the regiment remained encamped near Cedar Creek, and then marched to Camp Russell, near Kernstown. On the tenth of November, a part of the regiment, being on picket, were attacked by the enemy, but repulsed them, after a sharp skirmish. The regiment remained in camp until the third of December, when they proceeded by way of Washington to City Point, where they arrived on the fifth, and went into camp near Warren STation. On the ninth of December they marched out upon the Vaughn road, and remained there until the afternoon of the tenth, when they returned and went into camp near Fort Dushane. On the twenty-fifth of December, they went into camp near Warren Station, where the remained until March 30th. The regiment, with the brigade, lay in reserve, but performed constant picket duty on the line in front, besides sending heavy details for fatigue duty in strengthening Fort Keene and the works near it, and building Fort Fisher.

On the 25th of March, about two o'clock p. m., Lieut.-Col. Damon, commanding the regiment, was placed in command of the picket line of the division in front of Forts Fisher and Welch, for the purpose of making an attack upon the pickets of the enemy. The line was composed of about one hundred and sixty men of the Fourteenth New Jersey, on the right, and two hundred and thirty men of the Tenth Vermont on the left. The line was about one mile in length, with open ground on the right half, while the left portion was immediately in rear of a narrow belt of woods. The picket line of the enemy was strongly intrenched behind earth-works, and at an average distance of three hundred yards. The One Hundred and Twenty-Second and One Hundred and Tenth Ohio were also placed under command of Lieut.-Col. Damon, as a supporting column, and were formed one hundred yards in rear of the right center. At three o'clock the whole line moved forward at double quick, and at several points the position of the enemy was reached, but they delivered so severe a musketry fire from their breastworks, their forts, a few hundred yards in rear, opening at the same time with artillery, that the attacking line was compelled to retire to their original position. The attacking force was strengthened, and at about four o'clock p. m. the line again advanced and carried the works of the enemy, capturing nearly the entire picket force in their front, and held their intrenched line. In this charge Lieut.-Col. Damon command the left portion of the picket line, consisting of 230 men of the Tenth Vermont. The regiment captured, in the charge, one hundred and sixty prisoners, including several commissioned officers. The casualties in the regiment were two killed and four wounded.

The official report by Lieut.-Col. Damon of this affair, is published in Appendix C.

On the night of the first of April, at midnight, the regiment went into position about four hundred yards in front of Fort Welch, and twenty paces in rear of the entrenched picket line. The brigade, which was the extreme left of the Sixth Corps, was formed in three lines of battle, the Tenth Regiment occupying the right of the front line. The picket line of the enemy was behind strong earth-works, about 150 yards in front, their main works being about two hundred yards to their rear. Soon after taking position, at half-past twelve o'clock, and again at three o'clock in the morning, a very heavy picket fire was opened on both sides, continuing each time about half an hour, during which the regiment kept a perfect line and maintained entire silence, officers and men displaying great coolness and courage, although several men were wounded.

At about four o'clock in the morning, at the firing of the signal gun, the regiment advanced on the double quick, under a terrific fire of musketry and artillery, passing the picket line and that of the enemy, pressing through such openings as could be found in the double line of abattis, and did not halt until the colors were planted inside of the enemy's works. The regiment first struck the works immediately to the left of a fort, mounting six guns, which was evacuated upon their approach. These defences consisted of heavy field works, at least six feet high, with a ditch in front eight feet wide and six or seven feet deep, and forts and redoubts at intervals of from 300 to 400 yards, all mounted with field artillery. A portion of the men passed through narrow openings in the works, and many jumped into the ditch and scaled the entrenchments. Many prisoners were taken at this point. As the regiment was in advance of the other regiments of the division and had become somewhat broken in passing the abattis, a halt of a few minutes was made, to re-form the line, during which they were joined by portions of the other regiments of the brigade. They then moved rapidly to the left, in line of battle, with in and parallel to the captured works, in the direction of a second fort, some three hundred yards distant, doubling up the enemy in the advances and capturing many prisoners. This fort, mounting two guns, was taken without serious opposition. The regiment was then halted again for a moment, to re-organize the line, and again advanced over swampy and uneven ground, upon a third fort, distant some four hundred yards, from which a severe fire of musketry and artillery was received from a large force of the enemy. The position was carried, however, the enemy retiring a few hundred yards to the left into the edge of a piece of woods, from which they kept up so severe a fire of musketry as to check the advance.

So rapid had been the advance, from the time of first reaching the enemy's line, that the regiment was considerably broken up, while the other regiments of the brigade were without organization, although many of the men were with this regiment. The advanced position was held, however, for almost twenty minutes, when the enemy advanced in strong force, moving parallel with their entrenchments and upon both sides, and the regiment was compelled to fall back to the second fort. Some of the captured guns and one of our own batteries were placed in position and opened upon the enemy. and in the meantime the different regiments of the brigade were re-organized, and some of the regiments of the Second Brigade, which had now come up, and the line again advanced, recapturing the fort and carrying everything before them. No further resistance was made; many of the enemy surrendered; and many escaped to the rear. Still advancing about half a mile, the Twenty-Fourth Corps was met, which had just entered the works further to the left, without opposition.

After halting at this point for about half an hour, the regiment, with the division, moved back in the direction of Petersburg. Passing outside of the rebel fortifications, a little north of the point at which the regiment had entered in the morning, the division was formed in line of battle, at right angles to their works, forming a part of a line which extended far to the left, and moved forward slowly towards Petersburg, and until within about two miles of the city, when they were halted until about sun-down. The division then moved a short distance and took position on the ground previously occupied as a picket line by the enemy,--the Tenth Vermont being on the extreme right of the division and resting on the Vaughn road,--where they entrenched and bivouacked for the night.

The regiment bravely performed its entire duty throughout the day; and the commanding officer of the brigade says of them, in his official report: "the first colors inside the works were those of the Tenth Vermont."

The casualties in the regiment, during the day, were 3 killed, 41 wounded, and 4 captured.

Among the wounded was ADjutant James M. Read, who died four days after. He not only performed his own special duties with the utmost skill, but contributed materially to the success of the day by fighting with great gallantry and courage, until he fell, wounded, at the extreme front. He was one of the most promising young officers in the service from this State. First Lieut. James S. Thompson, of Co. H, was also wounded.

Maj. Wyllys Lyman is especially mentioned by the commanding officer, as having been among the first to enter the rebel works with the color-bearer, and having performed the most efficient service during the day, using every exertion to keep the regiment together and leading the men forward to their duty. Corporal Ira F. Varney, Co. K, color bearer, is also specially mentioned, as the first to plant his colors within the enemy's works, and as having, throughout the day, combined daring with coolness and steadiness to a remarkable degree.

The official report of Lieut. Col. George B. Damon, of the operations of the day, is published in Appendix C.

From Petersburg the regiment marched with the Sixth Corps to Sailor's Creek, where it was again engaged on the 6th of April, taking part in the decisive flank movement which closed the action. The regiment then marched to Appomattox Court House, where the rebel army surrendered on the ninth of April; from thence they returned to Burkesville Station, and on the twenty-third of April started for Danville, Va., over one hundred miles distant, marching that distance in four days and four hours. After remaining at Danville about three weeks, they moved, by way of Richmond, to Washington, D. C., arriving there about the first of June, and going into camp near Ball's Cross Roads, where they remained until mustered out. On the seventh of June the regiment was present at the review of Vermont troops by the Governor of this State.

The original members of the regiment and the recruits, whose terms of service would expire previous to Oct. 1, 1865, were mustered out of service on the twenty-second of June, 1865, numbering 13 officers and 451 men. They left Washington June 23, arrived at Burlington, Vt., June 27, and were paid and discharged July 3. The report of Brevet Major John A. Salisbury, who was in command of the detachment, is published in Appendix C. The remaining members of the regiment, 14 officers and 136 men, were transferred to the Fifth Regiment, and were mustered out of service with that regiment, June 29, 1865, without having been assigned to companies

The following statement shows the condition and stations of the regiment at the several dates specified:

(see Legend, below)

TENTH REGIMENT

ABCDEFGHI
1864
Sept. 30,Mount Crawford, Va.789418325-11134
Oct. 31,Near Cedar Creek,Va.767370346-11832
Dec. 31,Near Yellow House, Va.7414222862-427
1865
Jan. 31,Before Petersburg, Va.73445423714-128
Feb. 28,do732468229141119
Mar. 31, In the Field, Va.7294752108--18
Apr. 30, Near Danville, Va.7174512351129
May 31Near Ball's X Roads, Va.671434208111116

The casualties in the regiment, during the year, have been as follows:--Mustered out of service, 526; transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps, 21; discharged, 121; deserted, 28; died, 99; total, 795.

Legend:


A - Date
B - Station.
C - Aggregate
D - On Duty
E - Sick
F - Absent with Leave
G - Absent without Leave
H - In arrest or confinement
I - Prisons
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