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Chapter 39: capture of the regiment.

Hard fighting on every day since the battle of the Wilderness had reduced the list of officers to major, adjutant and four line officers, with the addition of First Sergeant Osborn of Co. B, who had been promoted on the march. The number of men had been reduced to 140, including the recruits received at Cold Harbor.

At daylight on the morning of June 18th, the Nineteenth occupied a place in the front line and charged two lines of the enemy's works, driving in his skirmishers, but found him too strong in a third line. Several of the regiment were wounded and one was killed.

The 19th was marked by rapid and continuous firing. The men were stationed on a farm and many picked peas and cooked them for dinner.

At 9 P. M. of the 20th, after firing sharply all day, the men were relieved and ordered to the rear, where they rested for the night. At 10 A. M. of the 21st, they moved to the left where an attempt was being made to extend the Union lines so as to cut the Welden Railroad. They crossed the Jerusalem Plank Road and at 3 P. M. formed line of battle. At 5.30 P. M. the regiment was ordered out on the skirmish line and remained there until 12.30 P. M. of the 22nd, when the men threw up a rifle pit. They had lost one killed and three wounded by the enemy's sharpshooters.

The enemy was in force, several batteries being so posted that they could protect the field, while the infantry was well cared for behind the works.

The Nineteenth at this time had dwindled down so that it was in a single line and the formation was two companies instead of ten. Captain Hume commanded the right wing and Captain Adams the left. [327]

Capt. Adams' memoirs cite the fact that ‘at noon the officers withdrew a little to the rear for dinner and in the conversation Major Dunn said, ‘I fell asleep a little while ago and had a queer dream. We were lying just as we are here, and the rebels came in our rear and captured the entire regiment.’’

The others laughed at his dream, saying they ‘guessed they would not go to Richmond that way’ and returned to the line. The firing in front increased, with the batteries doing good work, for the rebels.

At 3 P. M. the Second and Fifth Corps were ordered to advance. Barlow's and Gibbon's divisions being formed in line of battle, it is claimed that Barlow's men fell back on receiving the attack of the enemy. The nature of the ground was such that this movement was not perceived by Gibbon, it being uneven and covered with thick underbrush. Gibbon's men stood their ground and before they were aware of the fact, the bayonets of the enemy were at their back.

In a moment the rebels had captured the majority of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, together with the Fifteenth Massachusetts, the Forty-Second and Fifty-Ninth New York, part of the Eighty-Second New York and a few men from the Twentieth Massachusetts, from the same brigade.

Colonel Ansel D. Wass had been ill for some time, but rode up in an ambulance, arriving just in time to see it gobbled up by the enemy.

About 30 men escaped from the general misfortune, being mostly men in the ranks, clerks, quartermasters, department cooks and sick men.

The captured officers and men were hurried to the rear and were promptly relieved of hats, belts and personal property, despite their protests. ‘I had received that morning,’ says Lieutenant Joseph E. Hodgkins, of Co. K, ‘a little hat, weighing only an ounce, from home and had just placed it on my head when I was taken. A big rebel grabbed it and threw me this old one,—a very heavy one, so I got no comfort from my new cap from home.’

Michael Scannell, the color sergeant, had, with another color bearer, been standing at the rear of the line with the colors. [328] Suddenly they were surrounded and a rebel demanded,— “You damned Yank, give me that flag!” With his Irish spontaneity, Scannell responded, ‘Well, it's twenty years since I came to this country, and you're the first man who ever called me a Yankee. Take the flag for the compliment.’

The men were marched to a field outside the city and camped for the night. The roll was called and it was found that 153 of the Nineteenth had been captured and that 1600 men and 67 officers, all told, in the corps were prisoners.

The names of the enlisted men captured are:

SergeantGiles D. Johnson.
SergeantMichael Scannell.
SergeantMarcus Kimball.
PrivateJames Dunn.
Irving Walker.
Albert Wszlaki.
SergeantFrancis Osborn.
PrivateSamuel A. Bridges.
Patrick Brestow.
James Kelley.
Thomas Stringer.
SergeantMilton Ellsworth.
PrivateTerrence Thomas.
Francis Bradish.
William E. Fletcher.
George B. Otis.
James Ridlon.
Thomas Stone.
SergeantNelson B. Knights.
CorporalAbram Warner.
PrivateJacob Brill.
Clarence P. Crane.
Charles J. Chamberlain.
William P. R. Estes.
Patrick Fitzgerald.
Charles B. Mills.
Michael Kelly.


SergeantJames Gormley.
SergeantJames Clark.
Hugh Dernon.
John Doherty.
Daniel Corrigan.
William Kelly.
Edward C. Thompson.
Thomas Hall.
Michael O'Leary.
James Skerrett.
SergeantRobert J. Gamble.
SergeantJames Clark.
CorporalWilliam H. Lambert.
CorporalElijah E. H. Mansur.
CorporalGeorge E. Morse.
Edward Golden.
William Haywood.
Thomas Hill.
James McCarthy.
John McMannus.
Levi Woofindale.
George B. Symonds.
Michael Broderick.
John P. Driscoll.
Benjamin Lummus.
John Restell, Jr.
Joshua Very.
James Shinnick.
Charles Becker.
SergeantJames S. Smith.
William Blake.
James Harvey.
Edwin B. Pratt.
CorporalWilliam P. Edwards.
Stephen J. Younger.
Benjamin F. Adams.
John Lee (Co. F.)
John Lee (Co. I.)


Job Foster.
William Richardson.
James Beatty.
Richard Doherty.
Thomas Meagher.
Edward Joy.
James Smith.
William Smith.
Peter Johnson.
John Hagan.
Ernest Krantz.
Edward McKenna.
Eben D. Poole.
William Farnham.
Charles Dean.

These 67 recruits had been forwarded to the regiment only the day before and were captured with the others.

Co. A.Robert Boyd.
Herman Weitzler.
Robert A. Johnston.
Bernard Van Ammon.
Solomon Salter.
Doffles Goarout.
Carl Rummelsburg.
Co. B.Joseph Richardson.
William Doyle.
Henry M. Allen.
Charles Edwards.
M. Sweeney.
John McKane.
John Scott.
Co. C.Charles Belcher, Jr.
Richard Meagher.
Conrad Wilson.
George Johnson.
George Kent.
William Anderson.


Charles Sherman.
Lewis Mortimer.
Co. D.John Berden.
David Spence.
Thomas Lavey.
George Barry.
Frank Farren.
Co. E.Patrick Flinn.
Robert McAllen.
James Smithers.
Delos Gilbert.
Thomas H. Collins.
Stephen Hogan.
Patrick Conway.
Daniel Hoyt.
Co. F.Nathan H. Roberts.
George Dennett.
Edward Haskins.
William Haney.
James McMahon.
John Deansfield.
Alexander Goodhue.
William Dittmer.
Co. G.August Weilmar.
James Power.
John Bryan.
Joseph Reichardt.
Joseph Robinson.
Leonard A. Barnes.
George Rice.
James Brown.
Thomas Clarke.
Co. I.Albert M. Jenkins.
Lewis Parent.
John Lyford.
William Sherris.
Martin Smith.
Charles Watson.


Co. I.Ezra Delano.
Owen Fallen.
William Fane.
Co. K.Edwin Smith.
Francis Mackin.
George A. Bixby.
George Sargent.
James Pike.
Frank Somers.

The official correspondence regarding the capture of the regiment is interesting.

Headquarters, Nineteenth Mass. Vols. Near City Point, Va., June 26, 1864.
Brig. Gen. Wm. Schouler, Adjt. Gen., Boston.

It is my painful duty to report the capture, on the 22nd inst., near Petersburg, of the gallant Nineteenth Massachusetts Infantry. I need not add that only the desperate position into which they were forced made the idea of surrender for a moment tolerable to the regiment. If resistance had been at all available, it would have been made. The action in which they were taken was the 32nd action in which this splendid regiment had been engaged since its first organization. Six commissioned officers surrendered with the command, viz,—Major Moncena Dunn, of Boston, commanding, Adjutant William M. Curtis, of Randolph, Lieut. David F. Chubbuck, Capt. Lysander J. Hume, of Calais, Me., Lieut. J. G. B. Adams, of Groveland and Lieut. William A. McGinnis, of Boston.

One hundred and sixty enlisted men surrendered with the regiment, seventy of whom were recruits recently received without descriptive rolls. The only complete list of these men was lost upon the person of Adjutant Curtis. For this reason it is impossible to supply a complete list of the men captured. A list as complete as possible will be supplied in a few days. The men who remain here, about 40, have been organized as a company, [333] under command of First Sergeant William A. Stone, of Co. H. This company, with another organized in a similar manner from the remains of the Fifteenth Massachusetts, has been consolidated temporarily as a battalion under command of Captain Brown of the Fifteenth.

The following is a report of the Nineteenth:

Present for duty,Com. Officers,2Enlisted men41
Prisoners of war,Com. Officers,6 Enlisted men165
Detached service,1255
In arrest,2

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas F. Winthrop, 1st Lieut. Reg'tal Q. M., Commanding Regt

On the monthly return for June, 1864, is written the following:

Headquarters Nineteenth Mass. Vols., camp near Petersburg, 30TH, June, 1864.

I certify on honor that upon the capture of the 19th Mass. Vols. by the enemy near Petersburg, Va., 22nd, June, 1864, the regimental and company records necessary to the complete and proper filling up of this blank were captured in the possession of the Adjutant and the several company commanders.

William F. Rice, First Lieut., 19th Mass. Vols. Commanding.

This return also records the following:

Col. Ansel D. Wass, absent sick, June 28, 1864.

Lt. Col. Edmund Rice, prisoner of war, May 12, 1864.

Surgeon J. F. Dyer, on detached service, serving as surgeon in chief 2nd Division. [334]

Asst. Surgeon Gustavus P. Pratt.

Adjutant William M. Curtis, prisoner of war, June 22nd.

Regimental quartermaster, Thomas F. Winthrop.

Co. A.Captain Isaac H. Boyd, on detached service.
First Lieut. Wm. F. Rice, commanding regiment.
Co. B.First Lieut. Henry A. Hale, on detached service, 2nd Brig. 2nd Corps, March 15, 1863.
First Lieut. Wm. E. Barrows, in charge 2nd Div. ambulance train.
Co. C.Capt. Elisha A. Hinks, absent wounded, June 3rd, 1864 A. D. C.
First Lieut. Wm. R. Driver, on detached service, 1st Brig. April 24, 1864.
Co. D.Capt. Moncena Dunn, prisoner of war, June 22.
First Lieut. David P. Chubbuck, prisoner of war, June 22.
Co. E.Capt. Wm. L. Palmer, ordnance officer, 2nd Div.
Co. F.Capt. Chas. M. Merritt, detached service, Mil. Headq'rs, Washington since Nov. 29, 1862.
Co. H.Capt. J. G. C. Dodge, on detached service in Massachusetts.
First Lieut. Chas. S. Palmer, on detached service, Div. Headq'rs.
Co. I.Capt. Wm. A. Hill, Det. Service.
First Lieut. J. G. B. Adams, prisoner of war, June 22.
Co. K.Capt. Lysander J. Hume, prisoner of war, June 22.
First Lieut. Wm. A. McGinnis, prisoner of war, June 22.


Present, Commissioned officers,2
Enlisted men38
Absent, commissioned officers,
On detached service,11
Prisoners of war,720


Enlisted men,
On detached service,52
In arrest,2
Prisoners of war,166385
Died in action or from wounds:1
Commissioned officers,7
Enlisted men,4
Missing in action,416
Wounded in action,17
Recruits required,563

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