FROM BEFORE PETERSBURGH
It may be a matter of some interest to your numerous
readers especially those who are interested in the welfare of the 115th
Regiment N.Y. Vols., to learn what part the regiment played in the "grand
action" of the siege of Petersburgh, on the 30th day of July, 1864; therefore,
I will endeavor to give you as faithful and as brief a relation thereof
We were soon ordered to advance, and we did so, passing the demolished fortification on its immediate left, and over some of its debris, under the most galling and murderous charges of grape and cannister that the oldest veteran ever saw. The ground in front of us was plowed up on almost every foot of it, and as the grape and cannister struck it, the appearance put one in mind of a body of water when it rains, two drops striking and rising up little pyramids on the surface. How we ever passed through that terrible storm without being annihilated, it is impossible to say, but we did, reaching the new line, where we halted and laid down to save ourselves as much as possible from the murderous fire which still continued.
After remaining a while in this position, the colored troops were ordered to charge, for the purpose of securing another line in our immediate front. They started off in fine style, and we moved up taking their places, but they had not gone far before they wavered, then halted, and the enemy, taking advantage of this, charged upon them, and the Negroes immediately turned and fled reaching our lines in the utmost disorder and fright, tumbling, rolling, and falling over the walls upon our men, bruising and wounding many.
Our officers having no trouble to keep the 115th from running away, turned their efforts to stop the fleeing darkies, when a scene took place that baffles description. Our officers, in conjunction with the officers of the colored troops shouted, threatened, pushed back, kicked, struck with their swords, drew their pistols, and exhausted every imaginable efforts to stay the overwhelming tide of blackness, as it surged on and over us, followed by a stronger tide of furious rebels, but failed. In the meantime the rebels had reached this line of works, and some had passed it beyond our flank, next the exploded works. When seeing that further resistance was useless we were ordered to fall back that our gallant Colonel Sammons, who had but just returned to us having partially recovered from a wound received at Olustee, Florida, was wounded for the second time. He had been using almost superhuman exertion to drive back the colored troops, and was still driving them back, when a rebel jumped on the line of works and discharged his piece at the Colonel, hitting him in the thigh. It is almost a miracle that he was not killed, as the rebel was not more than eight feet from him when he fired. Had the aim been surer one of the bravest officers in the service of our country would have fallen to rise no more.
The colors of the 115th received another invoice of holes, and the flag staff was struck twice, the last by a grape shot which broke the staff near the top.
Our colors were the first on the line, and the last to leave it. We fell back to the line of entrenchments which we occupied in the morning, the Rebels coming on in hot haste thinking that they could drive us as they did the darkies; but in this they were mistaken, for they were sent back in as much haste as they came, losing a large number. Our brigade held this line until they were relieved, when they marched to this place and have once more joined their corps. In this action we lost two killed and twenty wounded, (many of them severely) and three missing.
The list is as follows:
Private A.C. Snyder, Co., I KILLED
Corporal _______ Runnels, Co., K WOUNDED
Col. S. Sammons, hip, severely.
Capt. Wm McKettrick, shoulder, slight.
Lieut. D. Graves, head, seriously.
James P. Caldwell, Co. A., left leg
Bartholomew, Quilty, Co. A.
Michael Maloney, Co. B.
Smith Harlow, Co. C., Jaw, severe
James Countryman, Co. D., missing
Thomas Gregory, Co. D. missing
Joshua Getman, Co. E., leg.
Sanders Johnson, Co., E., Wrist.
Stewart Hutman, Corp. Co. E.
C.L. Parker, private, Co. F. mortally
N. Hogle, Private, Co. G., Foot severe.
W. Van Slyke, Private, Co. G., knee, slight.
I. Scott, Corp., Co., G., thigh, slight.
J. Caffrey, private Co. G. missing.
Almon E. Stone, private, Co., H., neck
Benjamin Thackrah, Co., H., hip
Albert Wood, Co., I. shoulder
H. Engleburth, Co., I, neck, slight
John Warn, Co., K. arm, amputated.
From the Republican; Fultonville; Tues. Aug 16, 1864:
Montgomery County Dept. of History and Archives; Old Courthouse; Fonda, N.Y.
Copyright ©1999, Jeanette
Shiel, Jill Collins
All Rights Reserved.
Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:35:15 PDT