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[69] was discontinued, and two of its three divisions were ordered transferred to the Second. Under this arrangement the Second Corps was increased to 81 regiments of infantry and 10 batteries of light artillery. The material of the old Second Corps was consolidated into two divisions, under Generals Barlow and Gibbon; the two divisions of the Third Corps were transferred intact, and were numbered as the Third and Fourth, with Generals Birney and Mott in command. By this accession, the Second Corps attained in April, 1864, an aggregate strength of 46,363, with 28,854 present for duty.

General Hancock, having partially recovered from his wounds, resumed command, and led his battle-scarred divisions across the Rapidan. In the battle of the Wilderness the corps lost 699 killed, 3,877 wounded, and 516 missing; total, 5,092, half of this loss falling on Birney's (Third) Division. General Alex. Hays, commanding the Second Brigade of Birney's Division, was among the killed.

At Spotsylvania the Second Corps again attained a glorious place in history by Hancock's brilliant and successful assault on the morning of May 12th. During the fighting around Spotsylvania, Mott's (Fourth) Division became so depleted by casualties, and by the loss of several regiments whose term of service had expired, that it was discontinued and merged into Birney's Division, Mott retaining the command of a brigade. The casualties of the corps in the various actions around Spotsylvania, from May 8th to the 19th, aggregated 894 killed, 4,947 wounded, and 801 missing; total 6,642, or over one-third of the loss in the entire Army of the Potomac, including the Ninth Corps. The heaviest loss occurred in Barlow's (First) Division. Up to this time the Second Corps had not lost a color nor a gun, although it had previously captured 44 stands of colors from the enemy.

After more of hard and continuous fighting at the North Anna, and along the Totopotomoy, the corps reached the memorable field of Cold Harbor. While at Spotsylvania it had been reenforced by a brigade of heavy artillery regiments, acting as infantry, and by the brigade known as the Corcoran Legion, so that at Cold Harbor it numbered 53,831, present and absent, with 26,900 “present for duty.” Its loss at Cold Harbor including eleven days in the trenches, was 494 killed, 2,442 wounded, and 574 missing; total, 3,510. Birney's Division was but slightly engaged.

In the assaults on the Petersburg intrenchments, June 16th--18th, the Corps is again credited with the largest casualty list. In one of these attacks, the First Maine Heavy Artillery sustained the most remarkable loss of any regimental organization, in any one action, during the war. At this time the corps contained 85 regiments; its effective strength, however, was less than at a previous date. The corps recrossed the James, and fought at Deep Bottom, July 26th, and again on August 14th; then, having returned to the lines around Petersburg, Barlow's and Birney's Divisions were engaged at Ream's Station, on August 25th, a disastrous and unfortunate affair, in which it lost a large number of men captured.

At the battle of the Boydton Road, October 27, 1864, the division commanders were Generals Egan and Mott, the First Division (Miles'), being retained in the trenches. In November, 1864, General Hancock was assigned to other duty, and General Andrew A. Humphreys, chief of staff to the Army of the Potomac, succeeded to his position. He was in command during the final campaign, the divisions being under Generals Miles, William Hays and Mott. The corps fought its last battle at Farmville, April 7, 1865, two days before Lee's surrender. In this final action General Thomas A. Smyth, a brigadier in Hays' (2d) Division, was killed. Smyth was an officer with a brilliant reputation, and at one time commanded the famous Irish Brigade.

The history of the Second Corps was identical with that of the Army of the Potomac. It needs no words of praise; its record was unsurpassed.

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