"Raise the banner, raise it high, boys!
Let it float against the sky;
'God be with us!' this our cry, boys;
Under it we'll do, or die." Click on photo to view larger size.
The organization of the 1st Sharp-shooters began in the fall of 1862, under the direction of Colonel C. V. DeLand, its quarters being at Kalamazoo. In the spring of 1863 it went into rendezvous at Dearborn.The recruitment of the regiment was partially completed July 7, 1863, when it was mustered into the United States service, with six companies, four other companies being subsequently mustered.Edit
1st Michigan Sharpshooters Co. K
FIELD AMD STAFF.
The companies composing the regiment were:A. Captain, Levant O. Rhines, Battle Creek. First Lieutenant, George O. Knight, Battle Creek. Second Lieutenant, Guy Newbre, Emmet.B. Captain, Elmer O. Dicey, Grand Haven. First Lieutenant, William Clark, Hillsdale. Second Lieutenant, Francis Whipple, Hillsdale.C. Captain, Lucien Meigs, Reading. First Lieutenant, Thomas R. Fowler, Jonesville. Second Lieutenant, Albert P. Thomas, Allen.D. Captain, George N. Davis, Albion. First Lieutenant, Samuel E. Hudson, Ypsilanti. Second Lieutenant, Cyrenus B. Knight, Newton.E. Captain, Asahel W. Nichols, Lansing. First Lieutenant, Ira L. Evans, Niles. Second Lieutenant, Henry V Hinckley, Lansing.F. Captain, Hooker A. DeLand, Jackson. First Lieutenant, Joseph O. Bellair, Detroit. Second Lieutenant, Martin Wager, Battle Creek.G. Captain, Thomas H. Gaffney, Niles. First Lieutenant, Moses A. Powell, Niles. Second Lieutenant, Charles G. Conn, Elkhart, Indiana.H. Captain, Andrew J. Hall, Coldwater. First Lieutenant, George Fowler, Fowlerville. Second Lieutenant, William Ruddock, Kimball.I. Captain, George H. Murdoch, Berrien Springs. First Lieutenant, Robert F. Hill, Kalamazoo. Second Lieutenant, William H. Randall, Pittsfield.Edit
- Colonel, Charles V. DeLand, Jackson.
- Lieutenant Colonel, "William H. H. Beadle, Ann Arbor.
- Major, John Piper, Battle Creek.
- Surgeon, Arvin T. Whelan, Hillsdale.
- Assistant Surgeon, George L. Cornell, St. Clair.
- Second Assistant Surgeon, Jacob McHett, Grand Haven.
- Adjutant, Edward J. Buckbee, Ypsilanti.
- Quartermaster, David G. Palmer, Jackson.
- Chaplain, David A. Heagle, Detroit.
K. Captain, Edwin V. Andress, Chesaning. First Lieutenant, William J. Driggs, East Saginaw. Second Lieutenant, Garrett A. Graveraet, Little Traverse.
During the Morgan raid into Ohio and Indiana the regiment, in command of Colonel DeLand, was ordered to Indianapolis, Indiana, and thence proceeded to Seymour, in the same State. Following Morgan's forces, it fell in with and attacked their rear guard at North Vernon on July 13th, and on the 14th at Pierceville, capturing some prisoners.
Morgan had entered Indiana and was traveling leisurely across the State, robbing and plundering, until ho reached the vicinity of Seymour, where six companies of the sharp-shooters, about 400 strong, in command of DeLand, and two companies of the 32d Indiana, at home on furlough commanded by Captain Moore, had been sent to watch the raider. He struck Dupre Station nine miles south of Seymour which he sacked and burned. As soon as notified of this act DeLand placed his command in box cars and went to the relief of the town, but found on arrival there only the rebel rear guard remaining, the main force having moved on Vernon, 25 miles away. Leaving the two Indiana companies to take care of the burning village, DeLand with his other six companies returned to Seymour, where he took a train for Vernon, and from there marched four miles to North Vernon. On his arrival he found the citizens parleying with Morgan's flag of truce, about the surrender of the place, the whole rebel force being in camp about three or four miles out. DeLand paid no attention to the flag of truce, but marched directly through the town about 4 P. M. on July 12th. Of course the rebs with their flag took to their heels and made for their camp. DeLand at once pushed his entire force out by companies to picket all the roads, retaining only the drum corps as a reserve with about three hundred citizens who were armed and equipped with guns and ammunition from an extra supply on hand. Morgan put out counter pickets, and thus the forces stood at 9 P. M. DeLand knowing that the rebel force was far superior to his, both as to numbers and equipment, resolved to accomplish his purpose of saving the town by strategy, and at once went to work. With this in view be employed several teams driving up and down the road to the railroad depot about three miles distant as if carrying supplies, and at intervals during the night made use of the drum corps, playing us though additional troop had come to reënforce. At 4 A. M. of the 13th the sharp-shooters attacked the Morgan pickets on the two principal roads, when considerable firing for a few minutes took place, but at daylight it was discovered that the enemy had left his camp and moved in the direction of Pierceville. A few of Morgan's stragglers captured said they supposed the town was full of infantry. One officer remarked: "We could have whipped you'uns in ten minutes." Thus was one Indiana town saved from the notorious marauder. DeLand pushed on the next day, the 14th, to Pierceville and there had more skirmishing with the rear guard of Morgan, whom they followed on foot in the night about 28 miles to Summan Station, on the railroad to Cincinnati, where the pursuit ended, Morgan having made good his escape into Ohio.Subsequently the regiment returned to Dearborn, where it continued to recruit until its organization was completed with ten companies.On the 16th of August it proceeded under orders to Chicago, where it was placed on duty guarding a camp of rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas.On February 14th, 1864, it was assigned to the 2d brigade, 3d division (Willcox's), 9th army corps, and on March 17th it left Chicago with orders to join that corps at Annapolis, Maryland.
The regiment, in command of Colonel DeLand, marched from Annapolis on the 23d of April, and proceeded via Alexandria to Warrenton Junction, where it arrived on the 28th. Joining the Army of the Potomac then entering upon its summer campaign, the regiment left Warrenton Junction May 4th and on the 6th crossed the Rapidan river. On the 6th and 7th it was engaged in the battle of the Wilderness, sustaining a loss of 7 killed or died of wounds, 17 wounded, and 1 missing. Marching with the army to Spottsylvania С. Н., it participated in the battles of the 9th, 10th, and 12th of May, suffering very severely, especially in the action of the 12th. The casualties at Spottsylvania were 34 killed, 117 wounded, and 4 missing, including among the killed Major Piper.Edit
From the Red Book of Michigan:
"On May 9th the 9th corps moved forward in the direction of Spottsylvania, the 3d division in advance, and before noon encountered the enemy, when the lines were formed, the sharp-shooters on the left. Immediately the division experienced severe lighting; for a time the line wavered, but advanced quickly, gaining ground all day, and on the 10th, with the corps, crossed the Po river, and went into position on the heights southwest of the river, where its artillery commanded the junction of the two great wagon roads which the rebels had to hold in order to cover Richmond. Heavy skirmishing continued on the 11th, and the height of the lighting was reached on the next day; said to have been acknowledged by the generals of both armies as one of the bloodiest of the campaign. The rain having continued for two clays, the roads had become totally impassable, and it was only by the most persistent and overtasking exertions that the 9th and 2d corps were joined and put in a defensive position. The rebel general, moving on plank and macadamized roads, took quick advantage of this state of affairs to make a tremendous onslaught upon the 9th corps while thus isolated and unsupported, with a swollen and almost impassable river in its rear. General Burnside, not waiting to be attacked, initiated the action, and the fighting commenced at 4 o'clock A. M. The 1st division (Crittenden's) in front, assisted by the 2d division (Potter's), maintained the action until noon, when the 3d division (Willcox's) was put in, when a most determined and vigorous attack was made by the 1st brigade, under General Hartranft, which drove the rebels into their works and gave the Union troops a most decided advantage, and the division was instantly formed and ordered to assault the main line of works, while, at the same time, as was afterwards ascertained, Anderson's corps of the rebel army had been preparing to charge to dislodge the Union troops.
"The Federal line swiftly advanced, with a cheer, to the desperate contest. Answering back came the shrill yell of the rebel hosts, as if in confident defiance. Midway the space between the two lines of battle the two charging columns met, amid the thick smoke of battle, in a dense thicket of pines; the bloody struggle commenced and almost in an instant after the first shock they became mixed in inextricable confusion, and the charge became a series of furious and unrelenting hand-to-hand encounters. At length the superior numbers of the rebels began to force the Union lines to retire; regiment after regiment fell slowly and sullenly back, and the whole left was in retreat. The terrible sacrifice of the troops attest their valor and the magnitude of the struggle.
"On a little knoll, among the thick spindling pine, where their rifles commanded the country for their full range, rallied two Michigan regiments—the 1st sharp-shooters, Colonel De Land, and the 27th, Major Moody, while a little back, in a ravine, was the 14th New York Battery, supported by the 2d Michigan Infantry. The combat slowly, sullenly, disastrously rolling down from the left, was bursting upon them, when Colonel Humphrey of the 2d Michigan, commanding brigade, cool as an iceberg and resolute as fate, said: 'Boys, this must be stopped!' The leaden hail pattered and whistled with terrific furor, but the little band stood firm. More than once the bold rebels laid their hands on the guns of the battery only to be driven back by well-directed volleys. A cheer arose, the rebels were checked, broken, but not defeated; in an incredibly short time they had reformed, and again the fearful struggle was renewed. On the right stood the 27th, fighting with unequalled coolness and bravery; everything on the left of the sharp-shooters had been swept away, and the attack on their front and flank, with both infantry and artillery pouring in shot and shell, was terrific; but they gallantly held their ground. On the left of the sharp-shooters were a company of civilized Indians, in command of the gallant and lamented young Graveraet, an educated half-breed—as brave a band of warriors as ever struck a war-path; they suffered dreadfully, but never faltered nor moved, sounding the war-whoop with every volley, and their unerring aim quickly taught the rebels they were standing on dangerous ground. The fighting continued on. Near night a rumor runs along the lines that ammunition is gone, and the cry of 'give them the steel' is received with a cheer. The attack has again been repulsed, and the storm lulls; the fight is losing its horrid fury, and with a fearful burst of artillery it sinks into a scattered skirmish, but not until the darkness came did the battle cease. During this fearful and bloody day Colonel De Land was twice struck and prostrated by the flying missiles, but, badly injured as he was, remained faithful to his command. The regiment lost 34 killed, 117 wounded, and 4 missing. Among the killed was Major John Piper, a brave and lamented officer, who, after several years' hard and faithful service, fell by a shot through the brain."
The regiment, in command of Major L. C. Rhines, Colonel De Land being wounded on the 12th, arrived on the banks of the North Anna on the 23d of May, where it was somewhat warmly engaged in several skirmishes with the enemy on that day, losing in these encounters 2 killed, 7 wounded, and 5 missing. On the 26th the regiment again moved by a circuitous route to the Pamunky river, crossing it on the 28th, accomplishing on that day a march of 32 miles. It arrived at Tolopotomy creek on the 29th, where it engaged in skirmishing, with a loss of only 1 wounded. June 2d it again resumed the march, meeting the enemy at Bethesda Church that afternoon, but being in the supporting line suffered but little, having but 2 wounded.
On the 4th the regiment marched to Cold Harbor, and lay in the front line during the operations there, its casualties being one killed, 6 wounded, and 10 missing. It evacuated the works at Cold Harbor on the 11th of June, crossing the James river on the night of the 15th.
Passing through Grant's great campaign on Richmond with much credit, and crossing the James river, it arrived with its division in front of Petersburg June 16th, and on the next day, while in command of Major Rhines, became so heavily engaged and so specially distinguished in charging and holding the enemy's works, and repelling his repeated assaults to retake them, that this bloody battle became one of the most prominent events in the history of the regiment.
The position of the regiment being on the extreme left of the corps, and the 5th corps failing to connect the line after the capture of the rebel works, a large gap was left through which the rebels poured their troops, and most severe fighting occurred; the regiment most gallantly repulsed the enemy in two successive and vigorous charges, taking 2 officers and 86 men prisoners, and the colors of the 35th North Carolina, which were captured by Corporal Benj. F. Young, of Company I, who was promoted for distinguished gallantry on the occasion. During the engagement the left of the regiment became completely enveloped, and was placed in a position compelling it either to surrender or cut its way through the rebel lines; the last-named resort was determined on, and having first destroyed the national color of the regiment to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy, then commenced fighting its way out, and finally succeeded in getting through the rebel lines. The gallant Major Rhines fell in this desperate struggle, together with 31 killed and died of wounds, 46 wounded, and 84 missing, including among the killed Captain Geo. C. Knight, and among the mortally wounded Captain Thomas H. Gaffney and Lieutenant Garrett A. Graveraet. The former died at Washington, June 20th, and the latter on the 10th of July following. Lieutenant Martin Wager was killed in the trenches on June 23d.
From this date to the 30th of July, again in command of Colonel DeLand, it remained in the advanced lines of intrenchments, and was almost constantly under fire. On the 30th of July the regiment led its brigade in the charge on the rebel works contiguous to the fort which was blown up by the "mine," and aided in carried the works, taking about 50 prisoners. The rebels having finally succeeded in retaking the works, it was obliged to retire, with a loss of 3 men killed, Colonel DeLand and 12 men wounded and Captain Dicey, of Company B, and 32 men captured and missing. The regiment, then in the 1st division, remained in front of Petersburg until the 19th of August, when it was ordered to move to the Weldon railroad. Soon after it reached there it assisted in retaking a line of works from which our forces had been driven. Its loss in this affair was one killed and two wounded. It was also engaged at Ream's Station on the 25th, and was there employed in the erection of works until the 28th of September.
On the 30th of September it participated in the battle of Poplar Spring Church, with a loss of two enlisted men killed and Colonel DeLand, Captain Bellair and 16 men wounded, all of whom were left on the field and fell into the hands of the enemy. DeLand being wounded and a prisoner, Captain Geo. H. Murdoch, of Company I, succeeded to the command, retaining it until December 16th following.
The sharp-shooters being directed to lead the advance of their brigade against the rebel works on the Pegram Farm in this engagement, pushed the enemy out of his first line, but the troops of the 2d division on the right falling back, allowed the brigade (Hartranft's), on the extreme left of the army, and to which the sharp-shooters belonged, to be flanked. The brigade was assaulted by infantry on the right and by Hampton's cavalry on the left, but held the position for over two hours, when it was forced to fall back, passing through a ravine which was enfiladed by a terrible fire of musketry. In this retreat General Hartranft directed Captain Murdoch to rally his men and commence firing, and although the rebel infantry were on the right flank and Hampton's cavalry on the left, yelling, "Surrender, you yankee _ ," which could be heard in every direction, the regiment rallied and delivered several effective volleys, which checked the cavalry, enabling the brigade to rally on the sharp-shooters, when the cavalry withdrew from the field. The regiment was also engaged at Pegram's Farm October 2d, and on the 8th at Boydton Road.
On the 27th of October it took part in the movement toward the South Side railroad, and was engaged during the day in skirmishing with the enemy at Hatcher's Run, losing 5 men wounded. On the 28th it abandoned the temporary works which it had thrown up the preceding night, and returned to its old camp, where it remained on trench and picket duty until March 25th following. On that day two companies of the regiment (I and K), in command of Captain Jas. S. DeLand, of Company K, assisted in repelling the assault of the enemy on Fort Steedman, and were in the final charge which drove him behind his works on that occasion, capturing more prisoners than they had men engaged, and with but slight loss to themselves.
On April 2d, 1865, the regiment, then in command of Lieutenant Colonel W. A. Nichols and in the brigade of Colonel Ralph Ely, again most signally acquired a very enviable notoriety and great credit for a most daring and brilliant achievement while making a demonstration in front of Petersburg, on the left of the enemy's works for the purpose of drawing troops from his right while our forces were attacking him at other points. After making two efforts, under a very severe fire of musketry and artillery, the regiment succeeded in getting hold on his works to the extent of its regimental front, which it held for an hour under a terrific tire. The object of the attack having been attained, it was ordered back to its former position, having suffered a heavy loss. On the next day, about 4 A. M., then in command of Major E. J. Buckbee, Colonel Nichols having been wounded on the 2d, it was again ordered to advance, under the supposition that the enemy was withdrawing. On moving forward and finding that he had evacuated his works, it pushed on and was the first regiment to enter Petersburg, and while Colonel Ely was receiving the surrender of the city raised the first national flag on the courthouse of that rebel stronghold.
The capture of Petersburg was long and anxiously looked for, as leading to the immediate possession of Richmond by the Union forces. It was finally accomplished, the rebel army fled, and Richmond fell. Michigan troops were prominently instrumental in bringing about the result. Colonel Ely's brigade of Michigan regiments, belonging to Willcox's division (1st), 9th corps, were, as previously stated, the first to enter the city and place their colors on the public buildings, raising one flag on the court-house and another on the custom-house, Colonel Ely himself receiving the surrender of the city from the authorities.The casualties of the regiment while in the trenches in front of Petersburg were 27 killed and died of wounds, and 6 wounded.General Wilcox, in the following report of the operations of his division in that affair says:"I have the honor to report the operations of this division in the field from the 29th of March to the 9th of April, 1865, inclusive.
"On the night of the 29th of March, at half-past 10 o'clock, the enemy opened on my lines, stretching from above Fort Morton to the Appomattox, with all their artillery of every description and some musketry from their main line. At about 11 o'clock the artillery lulled. I expected an advance of the enemy's troops and was ready to receive them, but no attack was made, and a desultory firing of artillery only continued through the night.
"It afterwards appeared from the official reports of the enemy that they thought that we had made an attack; in fact, Major-General Gordon reported such to be the case, and that they had handsomely repulsed us; but although we were under orders from corps headquarters to be ready to attack, and I had caused to be distributed axes for cutting the enemy's abatis, yet no sort of attack was actually ordered or made on our front.
"The sensitiveness of the enemy seemed to encourage our men. Preparations were made on the 31st as well as on April 1st for a night attack opposite Forts Steadman and Haskell, 3d brigade, and at a point in front of Ely's brigade, nearer the Appomattox. Through the night of the 2d various demonstrations were made along the line, and the enemy's picket-pits captured at various points, in pursuance of orders from corps headquarters, made in aid of operations being carried on, on the left of the army.
"At about 1 o'clock, on the morning of the 2d April, orders were received from corps headquarters to mass one brigade (except garrisons) by 4 o'clock on the same morning near Fort Sedgwick, on the 2d division front, where Gen. Hartranft was to make a real attack with his division and a brigade from each of the other divisions, while, by the same order, I was directed to make a vigorous demonstration along my whole division line with the rest of my troops at the same hour.
"Col. Harriman was accordingly detached, with staff officers who knew the road, tools, ammunition, and every possible aid, to report to Hartranft; and this brigade was in position and formed at the moment required.
"The demonstration along the line began precisely at 4 by the 2d brigade, Brevet Col. Ralph Ely; 3d brigade, Brevet Col. G. P. Robinson, and Col. Wm. J. Bolton, commanding 51st Pennsylvania, left on the 1st brigade line of entrenchments. Some of the enemy's picket-pits were captured near the "Old Crater" by Col. Bolton. The pickets of the 3d and 2d brigades, strongly reinforced, advanced handsomely, the artillery opened vigorously, and large portions of the enemy were down to oppose what they considered a real attack in force.
"On the extreme right, near the Appomattox, a portion of Ely's brigade actually carried some two hundred yards of the enemy's works; but our lines, two miles in length, were too much attenuated to hold the ground. Some seventy-five prisoners were secured and brought in. Three regiments were withdrawn from other points and double-quicked to the point, but before it could be reinforced the enemy had recovered it.
"The effect of the movement, however, on the grand result was most happy, inasmuch as it contributed to weaken the enemy's line in front of Fort Sedgwick, where the real attack was completely successful.
"For the handsome part performed by Harriman's brigade of this division at the latter point I respectfully refer you to his own report and that of Brevet Major-Gen. Hartranft, commanding at that part of the line."Through the day offensive demonstrations were kept up, and the batteries playing in aid of the more serious work of the day going on further to the left.
“In the afternoon and evening the enemy strengthened their line opposite me; but about midnight of the 2d reports came up from Colonel Ely, commanding 2d brigade, and Col. James Bentliff, now commanding 3d brigade, by virtue of his rank, that there were signs of the enemy’s withdrawing from our front, leaving only their picket line. I gave orders to the 2d brigade commanders to press through as soon as possible."At about 2 A. M. on the 3d some of our parties broke through."Bentliff's brigade advanced upon Cemetery Hill and Ely's more directly into town, with a section of Stone's battery. I gave Col. Ely orders to take measures to at once secure order in the city."At 4.28 one of Ely's flags, that of the 1st Michigan sharp-shooters, was raised on the court-house, and that of the 2d Michigan on the custom-house a few minutes later, and guards were posted about the town."The 2d and 20th Michigan infantry and 1st Michigan sharp-shooters were in the 2d brigade, commanded by Col. Ralph Ely, of the 8th Michigan.The 8th and 27th Michigan were in the 1st brigade.The 17th Michigan were acting as an engineer regiment at division headquarters.
Colonel Ely's brigade was in the advance on the morning of the surrender of Petersburg, and on reaching the suburbs of that city was met by some of the principal citizens, when they delivered him the following communication which is a verbatim copy of the original now in possession of General Ely:Lieutenant General U. S. Grant, Commanding the Armies of the United States, or the
Major General Commanding U. S. forces in front of Petersburg:General,—The city of Petersburg having been evacuated by the Confederate troops,
we, a committee authorized by the common council, do hereby surrender the city to the
United States forces, with a request for the protection of the persons and property of its
inhabitants. We are, respectfully, your obedient servants,W. W. TOWNES, Mayor.
CHARLES F. COLLINS.
Petersburg, April 3d, 1863.Colonel Ely replied verbally, the people of Petersburg could be assured of the protection of the 2d brigade.The New York Herald had the following report by Thomas M. Cook, formerly of Detroit, and then on the staff of that paper:"At midnight on Saturday (April 2d) General Willcox received orders to make a demonstration on his extreme right, in order to draw as many of the rebels as possible in that direction, and thus assist the attacks that had been planned for the following morning. The demonstration was made with great earnestness at the same time that Admiral Porter was hammering away with his gunboats up the James river. All the artillery on that part of the line was ordered into play, and the skirmish line in front of Ely's brigade was advanced. The moon was yet shining and the night was perfectly clear, so that the attack was distinctly witnessed from the bluffs in the rear. The men moved forward steadily, and soon the sharp volleys of musketry indicated their approach to the rebel lines; the artillery on the heights behind them fired more briskly, the shells shrieking through the air overhead. Then the rebel batteries opened, and the most infernal din was awakened to disturb the placid stillness of the night. Amid the noise and smoke the skirmishers kept steadily on, meeting with so little opposition that they were enabled to cross the rebel lines, enter their works, capture prisoners in numbers greater than their own, and finally advanced into the outskirts of the town, where they met a strong body of rebels coming out to reinforce the portion of the line that had just been captured. A brisk engagement was fought here, within the limits of the city; but our numbers were so small that we were compelled to withdraw, and reluctantly fell back to our own lines. Had the troops been at hand to reinforce the movement, instead of being simply a demonstration it could easily have been turned into an actual attack, and would have given us then the whole left of the rebel line of works and cut them off from Petersburg entirely. General Willcox was very anxious to change the character of the affair, but at the critical moment he received orders to attack at the earliest dawn of the morning on his left, so that he could do nothing more at this time. The success of the demonstration gave rise to the report which was sent away yesterday morning, that we had possession of Petersburg. In the movement we lost a few men only, among them Lieutenant Colonel Nichols of the 1st Michigan Sharp-shooters, seriously wounded. One effect of the movement was most excellent. Lee had mobilized so large a portion of his army against Sheridan that there was merely a picket line left here. The demonstration compelled him to recall some of his troops that had been sent elsewhere in order that he should not be flanked here."So soon as this affair was over Willcox began massing his few available men for the appointed attack on the left. This was to be a combined and determined attack. The object was two-fold—first, by a more earnest demonstration to recall a greater portion of the rebels who were massed on their extreme right; and second, if possible, to force their lines."The part of the attack assigned to General Willcox was to carry Fort Mahone, one of the most formidable works on the rebel lines, situated at the point where their line crosses the Jerusalem plank road, and directly in front of Fort Emory, where the left of Willcox's division rested. For this purpose the first brigade, Colonel Samuel Harriman, of the 37th Wisconsin, was brought around from the right of the line and put into position, supported by a brigade of Potter's division of the same corps. While this was being done similar dispositions were making further to the left, and a system of cannon signals had been agreed upon to fix the moment of starting, that all hands might assault slum I timeously."At precisely 4 o'clock the signal gun was heard. It was scarcely gray dawn, and a considerable mist hung over the fields, so that objects were quite indistinct at a very short distance and not visible at all a few hundred yards away. From this cause the preparation made had been wholly secreted from the enemy. The signal gun, breaking the stillness of the morning, may possibly have been an alarm of danger to them; but as they knew not whence to look, they doubtless simply remained very quiet."Colonel Harriman advanced at once. A small detachment of his brigade was thrown out as skirmishers, while the rest followed close after in line of battle with fixed bayonets. The men moved very quietly and in perfect order, though manifesting an eagerness of spirit that was an assurance of success. That they went to stay was indicated by their being accompanied by a detachment of 100 men of the 1st Connecticut heavy artillery, prepared to turn and work upon the rebels the guns that should be captured. They passed out into the darkness and all was still. A painful season of suspense followed. Presently a musket is heard, then another, and soon a volley. They have reached the rebel picket line. Now a hearty cheer is heard, followed by a roar of musketry. The cheering and the musketry firing is taken up and runs along "to the left until it is lost in the distance. The flash of the muskets disclose the positions. Instantly the artillery of both sides is at work, and 200 guns belch forth their thunder tones or anger. In the roar of the artillery all other sounds are hushed or drowned. But the work is done. It was done quickly. A second cheer and a second volley from our skirmishers, and the gallant Harriman gave the order, 'Charge bayonets!—double-quick!—charge!' and away the noble follows went, over breastworks, rifle-pits, abatis, and the parapet of the foil into the main work, and the deed is accomplished. For a moment the thunder-struck rebels looked, and then took to flight. But our brave fellows were too close after them. They could not all escape. Two hundred and fifty in that single work were sent back as prisoners. Nine guns also were captured, which were quickly trained in directions opposite to where they had been facing and set at work upon other annoying rebel batteries. The glory of the first entrance into the work is disputed by the 27th Michigan and the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery. The former had their colors with them, which were the first set upon the parapet, and hence they have the proof of priority."The importance of this gallant achievement, and those simultaneously made farther to the left, cannot be overestimated. It rent the whole line in two; it separated the right and left wings of their army. If evacuation had been determined upon by them, it closed the main door of escape for then: right wing. Moreover, it took from them commanding positions of great importance and a large amount of valuable artillery. It was not to be supposed that they would yield points of such vital importance to themselves without further effort."Scarcely were we quiet in possession of the fort, when the rebels, having reorganized their forces and picked up some reinforcements, came up with a determined effort to retake it. They made a most desperate assault, standing up manfully against terrific discharges of grape and canister, and withering volleys of musketry; but it was all to no purpose. The heroic little garrison stood their ground bravely and obstinately, while the artillery of all our forts bent forth murderous assistance in rapid time. The din of the first assault was fully revived. Pandemonium would be a place of rest in comparison to the unceasing roar of that artillery, the shrieking and bursting of so many shells, the yells of the rebels, the rattle of the musketry, and the final cheering of our men as the rebel lines wavered, broke, and finally went back in disorder. Four times subsequently during the day did they attempt to retake this position, but were each time sent back in disorder. It was in one of these assaults that the rebel General A. F. Hill lost his life, while seeking in person to lead his men up to the works."These successive attacks and repulses consumed the entire day. Meanwhile, however, the 6th and 24th corps, having broken through the rebel lines in their front, were swinging around to their rear and coming down both upon their rear and flank. It was evident then that Petersburg was lost to the rebellion. If they could not retake these works where our lines were extended, how much less their chance when we were concentrating and bringing within reach a force so vastly superior to any they could possibly muster. The day was up with them and they knew it; but now their anxiety was for night; ' Oh, for night or Blucher,' they might well cry."The movements of the 6th corps were so rapid after breaking their lines that even General Lee could scarcely keep his sacred person safe; as it was, his headquarters were overhauled and fell into our hands. It is reported that they were destroyed. Throughout the early part of the night operations were confined to skirmishing, more or less heavy at different hours, along the entire line. The utmost vigilance was exercised, and it was confidently anticipated that the rebels would take advantage of the darkness to get away. Soon after dark General Willcox was sent for by General Parke, and remained at corps headquarters until midnight, in conference with his superior. At a few minutes past 12 o'clock the rebels advanced and made a demonstration of attack upon the center of our lines. Scattering volleys of musketry aroused the reserves, who, overcome by the fatigues of the protracted day and night struggles could not avoid sleeping whenever a moment's opportunity presented itself. Quickly the lines were in readiness, and every body at his post. Then the firing increased. Soon the forts opened with their heavy artillery. The rebel guns responded briskly. The darkness was intense. A thick mist hung over the country, mixed with the smoke of the past day's battle, rendering it a night of horrid character. Through the thick darkness a bank of lurid light hung over the city of Petersburg, betokening destruction and ruin in progress, and amid it all the unseen attack, the roar of musketry the thunder of artillery, the cheering and shouting of the soldiers, the groping about in apprehension and fear—who can paint such scenes."But the attack was of short duration. The brave fellows in the trenches knew its import. They appreciated, also, how near they were to a glorious victory, and how important that they should stand their ground without wavering. And faithfully they performed their duty, sending the rebels back bleeding, disheartened, discouraged. Then followed a season of anxious stillness. Not a sound disturbed the quiet of that thick black midnight. No picket firing, no signal guns, no attacks or indications of attack; a terrible, momentous, threatening quiet, which only can be appreciated by those who have spent a night on a battle-field. Orders were issued to the pickets to advance and keep close to the rebel lines. Watch them closely; give them no chance to run; when they start, go after them; no matter for rest—sleep comes after the victory. Vigilance was now all important."At 3 o'clock our skirmishers occupied the main lines of the rebel works, and orders were issued for an immediate advance. At 3:30 A. M. horses were saddled, coffee swallowed, and away to Petersburg. At 4 o'clock Colonel Ely reported his brigade in Petersburg. The 1st Michigan Sharp-shooters, leading the skirmishers and pressing hard upon the rear of the rebel forces, were the first to enter the long fought for city. With cheers and shouts of triumph they entered; but the fighting was done. At every step they picked up rebels anxious to surrender, but nowhere any willing to fight. Petersburg was ours, won by hard lighting and determined bravery. If there be any confederacy left, its people may seek to give the impression that they evacuated the city voluntarily. A more complete driving out was never accomplished. A victory more signal and indisputable has not been gained in this war. The 9th corps has made a reputation in this grand success sufficient, had it never before achieved distinction, to place it among the most gallant corps of the United States army. Left alone to hold the old lines that formerly had been garrisoned by the army of the Potomac, it not only held them securely, but advanced against the main rebel lines, piercing them in several places, capturing and holding several forts and a score of guns, with a large number of prisoners, holding their advantages and contributing to a very large extent to the glorious achievement that has crowned the united efforts of the whole army."The 1st division alone, under General Willcox, in their operations of yesterday, not only held the extended line of two miles and over against all attacks, but themselves attacked the strongest positions on the rebel lines, capturing two forts, nine guns, nearly 1,000 prisoners, several flags, etc., and oil with a loss to themselves of about 200 men.And now they add to their record the capture of the rest of the rebel lines, guns, tents, prisoners innumerable, and finally the city of Petersburg. Glory enough for one division."General Willcox was In the field throughout the whole affair, and directed the operations of the division, as the result demonstrated, with great judgment and ability. His men have behaved with a gallantry that has been seldom equaled.“My route from Fort Emory into the city of Petersburg was by the Baxter road, and led directly across the fortifications of both armies. A more difficult ride it was never my fortune to attempt,—covered ways, rifle-pits, breastworks, ditches, etc.; ditches that could be leaped and ditches wide and deep, parallels and cross sections, abatis and entanglements of every description,—the exhaustion of engineering skill. An entanglement of digging, such as never before was seen, covered the greater part of the distance. For the breadth of more than a mile the country is all dug over. Every manner of earthwork has been thrown up by either army. Corrections of the lines, alterations and changes, have kept the armies busy for a year. It is impossible to describe this vast network of intrenchments from the hasty glance I had while riding over them. The civilian cannot better understand than by conceiving a vast system of sunken roads sufficient for maneuvering armies of 100,000 men, without exposing any above level ground. This is one feature of these extensive works, to which must be added the high and strong breastworks running in zigzag courses, with batteries and redoubts interspersed; and then the advanced picket lines, with the various sunken paths of communication; and behind all the chain of strong forts, with wide and deep ditches, fringed with cheveaux-de-frise, the same as in front of all the other works."The regiment remained in Petersburg for three days, when it marched to a point on the South Side railroad, distant about 20 miles, where it was engaged in guarding that road and on picket duty until after the surrender of Lee, when, with its division, it proceeded to Alexandria, thence marched through Washington and encamped near Georgetown, and on the 23d of May participated in the review of the Army of the Potomac, and returned again to its camp, where it remained until July 28th, when it was mustered out of service and started, in command of Major Buckbee, for Michigan, arriving at Jackson on the 31st. On the 7th of August it was paid off and disbanded.Engagements—
The entire enrollment of the regiment was 1,364, of which it sustained a loss of 4 officers and 65 men killed in action, 2 officers and 42 men died of wounds, 150 men of disease; being a total of 263."Such memories hallowed we'll cherish-
- North Vernon, Indiana, July 13, 1863;
- Pierceville, Ind.. July 14, 1863;
- Wilderness, Va., May 5, 6. 7, 1864;
- Ny river, Va., May 9, 1864;
- Po river, Va., May 10, 1864;
- Spottsylvania, Va., May 12, 13, 18, l864;
- Ox Ford, Va., May 23, 1864;
- North Anna, Va., May 24, 25, 1864;
- Tolopotomy, Va., May 29, 1864;
- Bethesda Church, Va., June 2, 3, 1864;
- Cold Harbor, Va., June 7, 1864;
- Petersburg, Va., June 17, 18, 1864;
- The Crater, Va., July 30, 1864;
- Weldon railroad, Va., August 19, 21, 1864;
- Ream's Station, Va., August 25, 1864;
- Poplar Spring Church, Va., September 30. 1864;
- Pegram Farm, Va., October 2, 1864;
- Boydton road, Va., Octobers, 1864;
- Hatcher's Run, Va., October 27, 28, 1864;
- Fort Steedman, Va., March 25, 1865;
- Fort McGilvery, Va., April 1, 1865;
- Capture of Petersburg, Va., April 3, 1865;
- Siege of Petersburg, Va., from June 17, 1864 to April 3, 1865.
How precious to die with the brave!
O shout, Ne'er can Liberty perish—
Her saviors confront e'en the grave."Source: Michigan in the War
By Michigan. Adjutant-General's Dept, John Robertson 1882