HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., SECOND DIV., TENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., October 3, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to orders received this morning I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this brigade since the 28th ultimo:
On the afternoon of the 28th ultimo this brigade left its camp in rear of General Birney's headquarters, near Petersburg, Va., with 1,351 effective men in the ranks, and moved toward the pontoon bridge at Jones' Neck, which was reached and crossed by 12.30 at night, the brigade camping just outside of the works at Deep Bottom for the night. At 4 a.m. on the 29th the brigade was astir, and soon after moved forward to a position on the high ground and in rear of General Paine's brigade of colored troops. The strength of the brigade at this time was found to be 970 enlisted men, many having fallen out during the very fatiguing march of the previous night. At about 8 a.m., the colored troops having carried the enemy's lines in our front, the brigade advanced to the New Market road, and the One hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers having been deployed as skirmishers, the brigade moved up this road toward Richmond. No opposition was met with from the enemy, with the exception of an occasional shot from a straggling rebel, until we reached the line of earth-works near the Mill road, at which point a small picket was stationed, but was driven away without loss. At this point the brigade was halted for a rest of a few minutes, when an advance was again ordered. Moving through a strip of timber that skirts the Mill road, and when near the opposite side, the head of the column was opened on furiously with three pieces of artillery from a strong rebel work on the left of the woods and by three pieces stationed in the road in front, near Laurel Hill Church, doing some execution and creating considerable confusion among the men. Before having been exposed for any considerable time the brigade was ordered to dislodge the battery on the road, which was done without much delay, and the brigade advanced to Laurel Hill Church with only a trifling loss, mostly from the fire of the battery on the left flank. The brigade was reformed at this place on the left of the road, and, after lying in that position some two hours, was placed in the center of the Second Division to charge the enemy's works. At the word of command the brigade moved on the works across a ravine thickly covered with slashed timber, which was the means of creating some confusion in the ranks, but nothing of a serious nature. The progress of the brigade was not interrupted by the fire of the enemy until it reached a second ravine, in advance of the first about 350 yards, when it was met with a severe fire from a battery on the right. On the rise of the hill beyond the enemy opened a scattering fire of musketry from the right, which continued growing more severe as we advanced toward a third ravine. On rising the hill, over the third ravine, the column was opened on by a galling fire of grape and musketry from the left, that swept down the men by dozens, under which the line advanced some fifty yards. Some of the men got to within twenty-five yards of the abatis, but they were unable to stand the fire, and notwithstanding the efforts of the officers, the line fell back in some confusion as far as the church, where it was reformed, and such of the dead and wounded as could be got at were brought off the field.
The loss of the brigade during the two charges was as follows: Killed--officers, 1; men, 25. Wounded--- officers, 14; men, 162. Missing-men, 70.
A list by name is attached.(*)
The brigade remained in position near the church until dark, when it was ordered back and placed in position on the right of the New Market road in the old line of rebels works, where it remained until 6 a.m. on the 30th instant [ultimo], when it was moved to the left on the same line to the present position.
Lieut. Col. 142d Regiment New York Vols., Comdg. Brigade.
Capt. P. A. DAVIS,