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Chapter 42: batteries Eleven and Twelve and Fort Rice. Battle at Boydton Plank Road.

The duty at Batteries Eleven and Twelve and Fort Rice was laborious and trying in the highest degree, one-third of the men being constantly under arms, and the remainder were usually absorbed by heavy picket or fatigue details. Artillery firing took place daily, but owing to the protection afforded by traverses and bomb proofs (erected by the men under command of Col. Rice, commanding the garrison) they lost but one man killed and one wounded while ‘on the line.’

Being relieved at Fort Rice on the 24th of October, the men went to the rear and ‘massed’ in division, the Division then being commanded by Gen. Egan. At 2 P. M. of the 26th they went upon a reconnoissance upon the left; halted and bivouacked for the night on the old battle ground of the Fifth Corps, on the Welden Road. About 3 A. M. of the 27th the march was resumed and shortly after daylight came upon the enemy in force and intrenched. The Division charged and drove them out of their works in haste. The First Brigade formed in line of battle and the Nineteenth was deployed as skirmishers when the whole advanced. The men skirmished all the morning and advanced their lines a couple of miles. Finally the enemy withdrew and the regiment was called in and marched rapidly to the left. Upon striking the Boydton Plank Road, the regiment again formed in line of battle, under a heavy fire of artillery. But one of the Division's batteries opened upon the enemy and he withdrew his guns almost immediately. The regiment then advanced down the road and formed in line of battle in a large field. The engagement now became general and fierce, and owing to the superior numbers of the enemy, [352] 4 P. M. found the men nearly surrounded and fighting in every direction. Half of the regiment was sent out as skirmishers, and captured five officers and 50 men and the colors of the Forty Seventh North Carolina regiment. The colors were taken by Sergt. Daniel Murphy, who was especially deputed by the commanding officer to present them to the Secretary of War, which he did, and received a medal of honor from that official.

The Seventh Michigan having also taken a large number of prisoners, the assistance of the remainder of the regiment was called to aid in bringing them in. At 5 P. M. the fighting ceased and at 9 P. M. the troops were withdrawn. Thirty men of the regiment were left on the skirmish line, under Lieutenants Condon and Aytoun all night, and the next morning, on finding that the troops had been withdrawn, they made their escape, during which they were attacked by the enemy's cavalry and three fell into the hands of the latter.

The regiment lost 11 ‘missing in action’ as follows:

Co. C.Sergt. E. A. Nichols.
Co. A.Private Geo. F. Francis.
Co. B.Nicholas Doyle.
James P. Brown.
Co. C.James Craig.
S. S. Lee.
Charles Payson.
E. Tuttle.
Co. G.D. Mahoney.
Co. H.Octave Bennett.
Co. I.Chas. Routnair.

The regimental return for October, 1864, makes note of the following changes in the command.

Captain Elisha A. Hinks, discharged for disability, on account of wounds, Oct. 7th, 1862.

Capt. Wm. F. Rice, discharged, expiration of service, Oct. 9, 1864.

Quartermaster Thomas F. Winthrop, discharged, expiration of service, October 9th, 1864.

Lieut. Chas. S. Palmer, discharged, expiration of service, Oct. 9, 1864. [353]

Capt. Isaac N. Mudgett, transferred by S. O. 250, W. D., Oct. 21st, 1864.

Lieut. Geo. M. Ritchie, promoted from Quartermaster Sergeant, Oct. 21.

Lieut. J. Frederick Aytoun, promoted from Sergeant, Oct 13th, 1864.

Lieut. Ed. N. Schoff, promoted from hospital steward, Oct. 21, 1864.

Gain: October 21, 1864.

First Andrew Sharpshooters, consolidated with Nineteenth Massachusetts, by S. O. 289, W. D., A. G. O.

Co. K.Sergt. Chas. Harrington.
Corp. Samuel D. Chase.
Private Marcus P. Arnold.
Private Noah Bentley.
Private Ed. Bestwick.
Private Geo. E. Franklin.
Private Frank Matto.
Private A. G. Plympton.
Private Lott I. Randall.
Private Thomas C. Smith.
Private Wm. H. Warner.
Private Henry L. Wheelock.
Private Chas. O. Wolcott.
Private James F. Woodruff.
Private Joseph A. Young.

The regiment was, on the 1st of November, ordered up to the front to form part of the garrison of Fort Steadman and Battery 10, the most important works on the line, and in close proximity (270 yards) to the enemy's. The regiment remained there during the month of November, which was very rainy. Picket duty was very hard, and, as was the custom, one-third of the men were always under arms.

The life was somewhat exciting. The officers living in tents, while all the others lived in bomb proofs, had more than their share of the risks. Their tents were never disturbed by a shell [354] although pieces of bursting shells often fell near them. During the evenings the officers would sit down to a game of euchre and perhaps in the middle of a hand they would find it necessary to turn out the men and prepare to receive an attack. At such times, it usually was ‘Lieutenant, remember it's your turn.’ ‘Yes, who dealt?’ After the alarm was over, they would come back, pick up their cards and continue the game.

During the stay here, Captain J. G. C. Dodge was transferred to the 61st Massachusetts Vols. and promoted to Major therein.

The enemy plied their mortar shells, etc., often and with vigor against the works. The impression prevailing that the fort was being undermined, counter-mining took place, in which operation this regiment participated.

A Division of the Corps relieving the Second Division on the 29th of November, the regiment went down to the extreme left on the 30th and on December 1st, received orders and proceeded to build winter quarters. They were but partly finished when the Nineteenth was ordered away and were again assigned the duty of occupying trenches and other works on the left and front of the line.

On the 12th of December the men were ordered to the rear, and, in conjunction with the Seventh Michigan, garrisoned Fort Emory on the Vaughan Road and there remained until the operations of the spring campaign began.

On the 15th, Gen. Meade made a presentation of medals to men who had captured colors during the campaign of 1863, when Sergeants Jellison and De Castro were made recipients of two medals of honor, in recognition of gallantry on the field of Gettysburg.

Two other non-commissioned officers of this regiment, who had taken colors from the enemy, viz: Sergeants Benjamin Falls and Samuel E. Viall, were not spared to this proud honor, having met a soldier's death during the present campaign.

The regiment had to lament the loss of Lieut. John J. Ferris, who had been promoted from the rank of private, step by step, for soldierly qualities, but particularly [355] for his coolness and bravery in action. Captain Mumford and Lieutenant Thompson also met their deaths in the fearless discharge of their duties and during the following actions respectively; 12th of May, Spottsylvania Court House; 31st of May, Jones' Farm, and 3d of June, Cold Harbor. Captain Hinks was severely wounded in this engagement, after having acquitted himself with marked bravery during the preceding part of the campaign. The regiment also sustained severe loss by the death of valuable and efficient noncom-missioned officers, among whom may be mentioned Sergeants Falls, Russell, Brown, Ross and Viall.

The regiment commenced the campaign with 7 officers and 211 men. Of the former 3 were killed, 1 severely wounded, and 3 captured. There were received, during the campaign recruits and convalescents to the number of 275, and out of these (486 men in all), but 27 remained present for duty.

The roster on Dec. 31, 1864, showed the following:

Gain, by recruits from depot,37
Present,Commissioned officers,7
For duty,7
On extra or daily duty,512
Enlisted men,
For duty,128
On extra or daily duty,31159
Absent,Commissioned officers,
Enlisted men,
On detached service,5
With leave,2
In arrest,5350
Present and absent,
Commissioned officers,19
Enlisted men,509528


The Monthly Return, dated Jan. 31st, 1865, showed the following:

Lieut. Col. Edmund Rice, present.

Surgeon Gustavus P. Pratt, present.

Adjt. Fred J. Aytoun, present.

Regimental Quartermaster Geo. M. Ritchie, present.

Co. A.Capt. Isaac H. Boyd, on detached service, Inspector 1st Brig. 1st. Div.
First Lieut. Wm. M. Curtis, prisoner of war.
Co. B.Capt. Wm. E. Barrows, on detached service, A. D. C. to Maj. Gen. Webb.
First. Lieut. Jos. E. Hodgkins, present.
Co. C.First Lieut. Wm. A. Stone, present.
Co. D.Capt. Moncena Dunn, prisoner of war.
First Lieut. Wm. A. McGinnis, prisoner of war.
Second Lieut. Wm. H. Tibbets, present, promoted Jan. 28, 1863.
Co. E.Capt. I. N. Mudgett, prisoner, of war.
First Lieut. Ed. N. Schoff, on detached service, acting provost marshall 2nd Div. 2nd Corps.
Co. G.Capt. John P. Congdon.
Co. H.First Lieut. D. J. M. A. Jewett.
Co. I.First Lieut. J. G. B. Adams, prisoner of war.
Second Lieut. John T. Ross, present, promoted, Jan. 25, 1865.
Co. K.Capt. L. J. Hume, paroled prisoner of war, Dec. 11, 1864.
First Lieut. Jos. Libby, present.
Recruits received from depot, 19.

On January 24th, First Lieut. Jos. E. Hodgkins, who had just returned from Andersonville prison, was assigned to Co. B. and placed in command of it.

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