Nations,’ as they were dubbed, for not half of them could speak or understand the English
language, and Lieut. McGinnis
had to use a form of kindergarten system in teaching them the manual.
He would go through the motions and they would follow.
Soon they were assigned to the different companies and, for a short time, were a source of amusement to the veterans.
At 9 P. M. of the 12th, the regiment moved slowly out of the works but soon quickened the pace and advanced rapidly toward the Chickahominy
and crossed at 3 P. M. and then marched rapidly until midnight and halted, having marched 25 miles in 27 hours. The Nineteenth acted as rear guard during the march.
At 7 A. M. of the 14th, they resumed the march with the Corps
and moved about two miles, which brought the regiment in the vicinity of the James
At 4 P. M. they proceeded, and crossed the James
in a steamer at 6 P. M., and, after marching a mile and a half, rested for the night.
At 11 A. M. of the 15th, the march was resumed and continued until 12 P. M., going over some 25 miles.
This brought them to the first line of the enemy's works before Petersburg
, which had been taken by the colored troops under General Hinks
and the Eighteenth Army Corps.
Here they rested for the night.
At sundown of the following day they engaged the enemy for about two hours. At 6 P. M. of the 17th, the regiment charged the works, with no casualties, but were eventually repulsed.
During the day Generals Grant
rode along the line.
List of men of the Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment, killed in action or died of wounds, since leaving its camp at Stevensburg, May 3 to June 11, 1864.