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History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.

By Gen. James H. Lane.

Battle of Jericho Ford — report of General Lane.

Headquarters Lane's brigade, September 20, 1864.
Major,--I have the honor to report that we left the church in the neighborhood of Spotsylvania Courthouse after dark on the 21st of May, marched until 2 o'clock that night, resumed our march at 4 1/2 o'clock on the morning of the 22d, and bivouaced about noon that day near Hewlett's Station, on the Central railroad. At 6 o'clock A. M., on the 23d, we moved still further down the railroad, and about noon went into camp close to the South Anna river and near Anderson's Station. That afternoon we were ordered up the railroad, formed line of battle on the right of McGowan, perpendicular to the road, and threw forward a portion of our sharp-shooters. The Seventh regiment was soon afterwards detached to guard a ford on the river. We were subsequently ordered still further up the road — our sharp-shooters [242] being left deployed in front of our old position. Formed line of battle again on McGowan's right, but this time parallel to the railroad, and, with skirmishers thrown forward, advanced upon the enemy at Jericho Ford in the following order, from right to left: Eighteenth, Thirty-seventh, Thirty-third, and Twenty-eighth. We soon drove in the enemy's skirmishers and, after advancing about four hundred yards into the woods in our front, we became actively engaged with their main line of battle, posted on a commanding ridge, when a portion of the troops on our left gave way. I at once apprised General Wilcox of the fact through my Adjutant-General, Captain Hall. The General replied that it was not so, and ordered me to push on. We were then in advance of McGowan's brigade. Soon after this order was received the Thirty-seventh North Carolina regiment, of my own command, broke and ran back. I then ordered the other three regiments back to the edge of the woods, where the Thirty-seventh was being rallied, as my line was broken, and there was no one on my left. Having reformed the line, in obedience to orders from General Wilcox, I again advanced it into the woods, when the Thirty-seventh again broke. The other three regiments, however, in both advances, held their ground and fought very gallantly until ordered back. While the Eighteenth, Twenty-eighth and Thirty-third regiments all fell back in a cool and orderly manner. Lieutenant-Colonel Cowan is deserving special praise for the handsome manner in which he withdrew the Thirty-third, the attention of his men being constantly called to Company B, of that regiment, which, under its brave commander, Captain E. Price, was marching by the rear rank with arms shouldered as though it were on drill. We reformed the second time in the open field in rear of the woods, advanced again to the edge of the woods, threw out a strong line of skirmishers, and succeeded in bringing off all our dead and wounded. We were relieved that night about 11 o'clock by Davis's brigade of Heth's division. We then formed on the railroad and commenced fortifying, but before day we were moved to Anderson's Station, where we intrenched and remained until the 27th.

I regret to have to state that Lieutenant H. I. Costner, Company B, Twenty-eighth regiment, was killed in this engagement. Lieutenant Costner was a brave officer and conscientious in the discharge of all his duties.

Lieutenant Jno. M. Cochran, Co. D, Thirty-seventh regiment, behaved very handsomely. [243]

List of casualties on the 23d of May, at Jericho Ford.

Officers.Men.Officers.Men.Officers.Men.Officers.Men.Officers and Men.
Seventh N. C. Regiment   1 1 22
Eighteenth N. C. Regiment   4 2 66
Twenty-eighth N. C. Regiment14123 122830
Thirty-third N. C. Regiment 5227 423638
Thirty-seventh N. C. Regiment 1219 222224
Grand Total110574 10694100

Oficers killed.

Twenty-eighth regiment--Lieutenant H. I. Costner, Company B.

Officers wounded.

Twenty-eighth regiment--Lieutenant R. D. Rhyne, Company B.

Thirty-third regiment--Captain J. A. Weston, Company F; Lieutenant J. W. Gibbs, Company F.

Thirty-seventh regiment--Lieutenant I. B. Somerville, Company B; Lieutenant I. M. Grimsley, Company K.

Action at Storr's farm on Tottapottamoi Creek.

On the 27th we left Anderson's and bivouaced that night near Ashland. Next morning we resumed our march at 3 o'clock and camped that afternoon near Shady Grove church, where we remained until the afternoon of the 29th, when we were ordered back a short distance and bivouaced for the night near Atlee's. Next morning we formed line of battle on the right of McGowan and intrenched near the railroad. On the 31st we were ordered to Storr's (or Stowe's) farm, on the Tottapottamoi creek, near Pole Green church, where we relieved Wofford's brigade. We were here engaged in very heavy skirmishing all that day, besides being subjected to a terrible artillery fire, losing about twenty killed and wounded.

On the 1st of June we moved back and built a new line of works, the old one being held by a strong line of skirmishers.


Supports Wharton's brigade at Turkey Ridge.

Next day we marched to Cold Harbour, where we intrenched on the second line. That afternoon we supported Wharton's brigade in its advance upon Turkey Ridge, and afterwards took position between that brigade and Thomas's, on the right, near the McGee house. Here I was wounded by one of the enemy's sharp-shooters, and the command of the brigade devolved upon Colonel Jno. D. Barry.

Casualties from May 24th to June 3d, inclusive.

Officers.Men.Officers.Men.Officers.Men.Officers.Men.Officers and Men.
General Staff  1   1 1
Seventh N. C. Regiment  24  246
Eighteenth N. C. Regiment 116  178
Twenty-eighth N. C. Regiment 1 6   77
Thirty-third N. C. Regiment 1 1   22
Thirty-seventh N. C. Regiment 115  167
Grand total 4522  52631

Officers wounded.

General Staff--Brigadier-General James H. Lane.

Seventh regiment--Captain J. S. Harris, Company B; Lieutenant I. M. Alexander, Company H.

Eighteenth regiment--Lieutenant Camden Lewis, Company B.

Thirty-seventh regiment--Lieutenant A. F. Yandle, Company I.


James H. Lane, Brigadier-General. Major Jos. A. Englehard, A. A. G. of Wilcox's Lt. Division.

Other official reports destroyed.

The other official reports for this campaign were copied into the letter-book at brigade Headquarters. This book was destroyed at [245] Appomattox Courthouse, and there are no copies of them in existence that I am aware of.

During the time that I was absent, wounded — less than three months--the brigade, commanded successively by Colonels Barry and Speer, and Brigadier-General Conner, took an active part in the following engagements:

Riddle's shop, June 13; action three miles south-east of Petersburg, June 22; action in front of Petersburg, June 23; Gravel Hill, July 28; Fussell's Mills, on Darbytown road, August 16-18; Reames's Station, August 25.

When I returned to my brigade, I was informed by Captain E. J. Hale, Jr., who was my Adjutant-General, and many other officers, that it behaved in all of these fights with its usual gallantry.

General Lee compliments cook's, McRae's and Lane's brigades for their gallantry at Reames's Station.

As General Lee, in person, put General Conner in command of my brigade during my absence, I was required on my return to report to him in person to have General Conner relieved. It was during this visit to Army Headquarters that General Lee told me North Carolina had cause to be proud of Cooke's, McRae's and Lane's brigades, for, by their gallantry at Reames's Station, they had not only put her but the whole Confederacy under a debt of gratitude which could never be repaid. He also told me, at the same time, that he had written to Governor Vance, expressing his high appreciation of their services. I suppose the following is an extract from the letter referred to:

[from the Wilmington journal, 1864.]

Tribute to North Carolina.--letter from General Lee.

We have been permitted to make the following extract of a letter from General Lee to Governor Vance, complimenting the North Carolina troops for their glorious victory achieved at Reames's Station. This tribute from the great hero of this revolution is the highest honor that could be paid to North Carolina. Let every soldier treasure it up as a memento of inestimable value:

Headquarters army of Northern Virginia, August 29th, 1864.
His Excellency Z. B. Vance, Governor of North Carolina:
* * * * * * * * *

I have been frequently called upon to mention the services of North [246] Carolina soldiers in this army, but their gallantry and conduct were never more deserving the admiration than in the engagement at Reames's Station on the 25th instant.

The brigades of Generals Cook, McRae and Lane, the last under the temporary command of General Conner, advanced through a thick abattis of felled trees under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, and carried the enemy's works with a steady courage, that elicited the warm commendation of their corps and division commanders and the admiration of the army. * * * * *

I am with great respect your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee, General.

What President Davis said.

At Charlotte, during the year 1864, in a brief address to the people, President Davis said, among other complimentary things of North Carolina, that “her sons were foremost in the first battle of the war, Great Bethel, and they were foremost in the last fight near Petersburg, Reames's Station.”

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