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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports
XX. REPORT OF LIEUT.-COL. GEORGE B. DAMON, TENTH REGIMENT VERMONT VOLUNTEERS.
Headquarters 10th Vt. Vols.,
April 1st, 1865.
Major--I have the honor to report, that at about two o'clock p.m., on the 25th of March, ultimo, by direction of Brig. Gen. Seymour, commanding the division, I proceeded to the picket line of the division in front of forts Fisher and Welch, and relieved, temporarily, the division officer of the day, and assumed command of the picket line, for the purpose of making an attack upon the pickets of the enemy. Our picket line was composed of about one hundred and sixty men of the 11th New Jersey, on the right, and two hundred and thirty of the 10th Vermont on the left, the whole line being nearly one mile in length, with open ground on the right half, while the left portion of the line was immediately in rear of a narrow belt of woods. The picket line of the enemy was strongly entrenched behind earthworks, and at an average distance of three hundred yards. The 122d and 110th Regiment of Ohio Vols were also placed under my command, as a supporting column, and were formed one hundred yards in rear of the right centre of the picket line. At three o'clock the order for advance was given, when the whole line moved forward at a double quick, the two Ohio regiments above named moving at the same time. 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 on us at the same time with artillery, that we were finally compelled to retire, which we did in good order, to the original line. Preparations were now made for a second charge. the right portion of the picket line was strengthened by the 112d and 110th Ohio Regiments, and the 67th Pa., 6th Maryland, 9th New York Heavy Artillery, and 126th Ohio Regiments, were formed in rear as a supporting column, the whole under the immediate direction of Brevet Brig. Gen. Keifer. On this charge I took command of the left portion of the picket line, composed of two hundred and thirty men of my own Regiment, (the 10th Vermont.) At about four o'clock, p. m., at a given signal, the whole line, together with the support column, advanced, and carried the works of the enemy, capturing nearly the entire picket force in our front, and held their entrenched line. On this second charge my Regiment captured one hundred and sixty prisoners, among whom were several officers. The casualties in the 10th Vt. were to (2) enlisted men killed and four (4) wounded. I have no information as to the casualties which occurred in the other regiments engaged in the attack. At about sunset on the same afternoon, by direction of Gen. Seymour, I proceeded to the extreme left of the picket line of the division with a second of the 3d N. Y. Ind. Bat. under charge of Lieut. Geo. S. Fitzgerald, and one hundred and fifty men of the 5th Vt. under command of Maj. Cole, of that Regiment, for the purpose of dislodging a body of the enemy's sharp shooters, who were in and about a house situated on the rebel picket line, and a little to the left of the rifle pits captured by us, from which position they were enabled to annoy our men by an enfilading fire. This section of artillery was placed in position on an open piece of ground at about six hundred (600) yards from the house above named, and opened fire with both solid shot and shell, riddling the house, and driving everything from it. Immediately on the left of this house, however, in the woods, was a heavy force of the enemy, then severely engaged with the Second Corps. A brigade of the 2d Corps was in line of battle on the open ground where this section of artillery was posted, the commanding officer of which declined to move his troops to occupy the house, upon my application, stating that if they moved they would probably be attacked by a superior force from the left flank, and be compelled to fall back. Under these circumstances I deemed it imprudent, without further advice, to attempt to take and hold the position with the small force under my command. Maj. Cole and Lieut. Fitzgerald were therefore directed to report back to their commands. Although subjected to both musketry fire and artillery, which opened from the enemy's mainline, Lieut. Fitzgerald behaved most gallantly, and worked his guns in the most admirable manner.
I am, Major, very respectfully,
Your ob't serv't,
GEO B. DAMON
Lt. Col. 10th Vt. Vols.
Bre't Maj. A. J. SMITH
Act. Ast. Adjt. General
3d Div. 6th Army Corps.