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
' 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.
'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.
'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.’
, the color sergeant
, had, with another color bearer, been standing at the rear of the line with the colors.
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:
These 67 recruits had been forwarded to the regiment only the day before and were captured with the others.
The official correspondence regarding the capture of the regiment is interesting.
On the monthly return for June, 1864, is written the following:
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.
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|
|Absent, commissioned officers,|
|On detached service,||11|
|Prisoners of war,||7||20|
|On detached service,||52|
|Prisoners of war,||166||385|
|Died in action or from wounds:||1|
|Missing in action,||4||16|
|Wounded in action,||17|