Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports

The Document

No. 14.

Report of Colonel Robert O. Tyler, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, commanding siege train.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST CONNECTICUT ARTILLERY,

July 15, 1862.

GENERAL: From the disembarkation of my regiment at Cheeseman’s Landing, on the 12th of April, 1862, until this date, most of the services of the regiment have been performed, directly or indirectly, under your orders. At Yorktown, as director of the siege, and at Gaines’ Mill, Chickahominy and Malvern Hill, the portions of the regiment engaged have been under your immediate orders. Under these circumstances I would respectfully request permission to submit a report of the services of my regiment upon the Peninsula.

Siege of Yorktown.—At Yorktown, under all the difficulties of transportation, my regiment kept pace with the engineers in laying platforms and placing guns and material in position. Six batteries, mounting forty-eight guns and mortars, were fully armed and equipped ; twenty- three additional guns and mortars disembarked. It is unnecessary to call attention to the amount of labor required in such batteries as No. 1, mounting 100- pounder and 200-pounder Parrotts, and No. 4, mounting 13-inch sea-coast mortars, all of which exceed in weight any guns previously placed in siege batteries, or to say how-much the heavy firing from No. 1 for four consecutive days may have had to do with the evacuation of that place. On the day of the evacuation the six batteries equipped were prepared to throw 175 tons of metal daily into Yorktown. My regiment subsequently removed all this material from the batteries and re-embarked it.

[273]

Hanover Court-House.—Thegreater portion of this work having been completed, I reported with ten companies of my regiment to you at White House on the 28th of May. Upon the services performed by the regiment in reconnaissances near Old Church, in destroying all the means of crossing the Pamunkey below Hanover Court-House, and in the action near that place, a report has already been forwarded to your office. My regiment formed the advance of the infantry under General Cooke which followed the rebels on Stuart’s raid, when they marched 42 miles in thirty-seven hours, as has been reported by Colonel Warren, Fifth New York Volunteers, commanding the Volunteer Reserve Brigade.

Upon the 20th of June I was ordered to bring up a battery of five 4 ½ inch Rodman guns and one of five 30-pounder Parrotts, and to place them in position near New Bridge. The disembarkation of the guns and material at White House commenced on the 21st of June, and upon the 24th these guns were in position, with ammunition and material complete, in Batteries Sykes and Porter, under the command of Major Kellogg, and in charge of Company F, Captain Dow, Company D, Captain Cook, and Company B, Captain Brooker.

Gaines’ Mill.—UponJune 25, under your direction, these batteries opened upon the rebel batteries on the opposite side of the Chickahominy, doing, as reported by the signal officer, much damage, dismounting the enemy’s largest gun and compelling him to remove his camps.

Chickahominy.—Uponthe 26th his batteries again opened, and at 6 p. m. of that day we moved across the Chickahominy, where they reported to General Smith. Here they were joined by two 10-pounder Whitworths, under Lieutenant Sedgwick, which had been brought round with their material by way of Baltimore Store and Bottom’s Bridge. Upon the following day (June 27) these batteries were placed in position on Golding’s Hill, commanding both banks of the Chickahominy, where they were fought during the day under a severe fire, and when the services of the guns could no longer be useful they were retired, and the companies formed by Major Kellogg and led into the line of infantry defending that position—a fact specially noticed by General Smith in his report. The casualties of this day were two men killed and wounded. I wish especially to call your attention to Lieutenant Sedgwick, in command of the two Whitworths, which with only 20 men he removed by hand a distance of 2 1/2 miles, the second gun being brought away when our pickets were retiring past the guns.

Upon the 20th of June the regiment was ordered to report to General Barry for duty as heavy artillery. The companies not in battery or in depot at White House were marched to Orchard Station by Lieutenant-Colonel White. The rapid advance of the enemy prevented the removal of my hospital from near Cold Harbor, where many of my sick, including two officers (Lieutenants Faxon and Harwood) and my hospital attendants, were taken prisoners. On the night of the 28th and the morning of the 29th the guns under Major Kellogg were successfully retired behind White Oak Swamp, where they joined the remainder of the siege train, which had been in position and in depot at Fair Oaks Station, in front of Sumner’s corps, and commanded by Major Hemingway, under whose orders were Company E, Captain Rockwood; Company H, Captain Hubbard; Company K, Captain Ager. The successful removal of these guns and stores from Orchard Station [274] is greatly due to the exertions of these officers; more especially of Captain Hubbard, who was left in charge of the rearmost train.

On the night of the 29th the train was retired from White Oak Swamp to Turkey Bend. On the 30th of June 1 received an order to report to you with such guns as there was still ammunition remaining for.

Malvern Hill.—Duringthe night of June 30 five 4 ½ inch Rodmans, five 30-pounder Parrotts, two 8-inch howitzers, and two 10-pounder Whitworths, manned by Companies F, D, B, K, and I, and commanded by Captains Dow, Cook, Brooker, and Ager, and Lieutenant Hatfield, under Majors Hemingway and Kellogg, were transported from the camp at Turkey Bend, and under difficulties which you will well understand were taken chiefly by hand up the steep ascent of Malvern Hill, with their ammunition and material, the companies working all night after their previous tedious marches. The guns occupied the heights of Malvern Hill, were served under your personal orders, and were said to have caused much destruction to the head of the enemy’s approaching column.

The casualties of this day were one killed and three wounded. The companies, after working all the night of the 30th to place these guns in position and fighting them during the whole of the day of the 1st of July, spent that night in retiring the guns to the present depot, near Westover Landing. The remaining guns, the ammunition of which had been exhausted, were also safely and expeditiously retired to Harrison’s Landing by the other companies under Lieutenant-Colonel White.

At Westover Landing we formed a junction with that portion of the regiment and of the siege train under the command of Major Doull which had been cut off at White House.

I would respectfully call your attention to the fact that all the ammunition used at Malvern Hill had been transported by way of Gaines’ Mill, Savage Station, and White Oak Swamp to that place, and that the officers and men with the guns had been almost constantly laboring day and night from the 21st of June, and to the fact that out of twenty- six heavy guns twenty-five arrived safely at this place. This was accomplished under almost unheard-of difficulties, with mule trains, constantly breaking down, driven by frightened citizen teamsters, who deserted whenever the fire became heavy. Frequently teams had to be pressed into the service to replace those which had been exhausted by the labor of drawing the guns, and sometimes for miles the guns were drawn by hand by the different companies of the regiment. One howitzer was abandoned near Savage Station, the carriage having become so disabled it was impossible to remove it. Under the direction of Lieutenant Jackson the carriage was burned and the howitzer rendered perfectly unserviceable.

To the field officers, company commanders, and men already mentioned I feel that a debt of gratitude is due for the immense labor they performed and the difficulties they cheerfully overcame. I wish, in addition, to mention the services of Lieutenant and Quartermaster Robins, Lieutenants Whittelsey and Jackson, acting ordnance officers, to whose energy the safe bringing through of the ammunition trains is mostly due, and also to bear testimony to the great assistance rendered me on all occasions by my adjutant, Lieutenant Pratt.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. O. TYLER,

Colonel First Connecticut Artillery.

Major-General PORTER,

Commanding Fifth Provisional Army Corps.

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How to cite this article

Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.272-274

web page Rickard, J (19 November 2006), http://www.historyofwar.org/sources/acw/officialrecords/vol011chap023part1/00014_01.html


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