One Hundred and Ninety-Eighth
A COMPLETE RECORD OF THE REGIMENT,
WITH ITS CAMPS,
MARCHES AND BATTLES, TOGETHER WITH THE PER-
SONAL RECORD OF EVERY OFFICER AND MAN
DURING HIS TERM OF SERVICE
MAJOR E. M. WOODWARD
Originally published in 1884 Trenton, NJ by MacCrellish & Quigley, book and job printers
MAJOR-GENERAL HORATIO GATES SICKEL,
A Soldier of the Army of the Potomac
who served throughout the war;
of the Regiment, who led it to the field;
The Faithful and Steadfast
This record of glorious deeds
is respectfully inscribed by
Links to Chapters: I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX
(Note: A special THANKS to Larry McGrath (descendant of Charles W. Betterly, Company H) for his transcription of Chapters III through IX)
Among the numerous organizations formed to uphold the government and to assist it in the suppression of the rebellion, the Union League probably rendered the most efficient aid. That of Philadelphia had already sent five regiments to the field, and upon learning it was the desire of Colonel Sickel to again enter the service, it resolved to raise a sixth regiment of infantry of fourteen hundred men, and place under his command. Sickel immediately proceeded to Harrisburg and obtained the sanction of Andrew G. Curtin, the " War Governor of Pennsylvania." The use of the National Guards Hall, on Race Street, below Sixth, was obtained, and recruiting commenced on the 26th of July 1864. A large number of the officers and men of the late Third Reserve joined the new organization, and Sickel's reputation as an officer, aided by the energy of John H. Orne, Esq., chairman of the Executive Committee of the Union League, and their generous liberality, in the short space of five weeks filled the ranks of the regiment, which was thoroughly organized, armed, and equipped at Camp Cadwallader, in the northwestern section of the city, and on the 15th of September, 1864, it was mustered into the United States service.
Early on Sunday morning, the 19th, the regiment bid farewell to Camp Cadwallader, and, marching down Ridge Avenue to Twelfth street, and thence to Chestnut, halted in front of the Union League House, where a beautiful suit of colors were presented to them, Daniel Dougherty Esq., "the silver tongued orator," making the presentation speech in behalf of the League. Colonel Sickel responded in a few earnest words, and when the guard received the colors, the regiment presented arms, and the vast multitude of citizens cheered for the Union and the regiment. They then moved up Chestnut street to Broad, and thence down to the Baltimore depot. Here Colonel Sickel was introduced to General Grant, who had just arrived from Burlington, New Jersey, where his family was on a visit. The Colonel expressed a desire to be assigned to the Army of the Potomac, to which the General replied that all new troops were ordered to the Army of the James, but, as he was one of General Meade's old colonels, and, as the General had expressed a desire for his assignment, he would issue the necessary order upon reaching City Point. The regiment then embarked aboard the cars, whence they proceeded through Wilmington and over the Susquehannah to Baltimore, where they arrived about three o'clock the next morning. Bivouacing in the yard of the depot at nine that day, they took cars for Washington, which city they reached about noon. The bridges on the entire route were guarded, and between Baltimore and the Capital the soldiers were stationed at short intervals. Moving into the government barracks, they remained there until the 21st, when they marched to Seventh street wharf, and Companies A, F, D, I, H, and C under Major Glenn, and E, K, G and B, under the colonel embarked aboard the steamers Weems and Thames. Casting loose from the wharf and moving out, they steamed down the broad and beautiful Potomac, the drums ruffling, and the men uncovering as they passed Mount Vernon. Points of deep interest to some, and familiarity to others, were passed. When entering the Chesapeake, they moved southward and, rounding Fortress Monroe, entered the James River. Passing the site of Jamestown, where, nearly two centuries and a half ago, the great curse of our country was first introduced, and the seed sown that ultimately germinated in our gigantic war, they anchored off City Point on the evening of the next day.
There was presented a most animated scene. Innumerable ships, barks, brigs, schooners, etc., were at anchor in the river through which steamers of all sizes and descriptions were continually winding their way. For half a mile the shore was covered with commissary stores and ammunition. There were thousands of tons on the wharf boats and thousands more awaiting to be landed. Numerous commissary, sutler, guard and other tents were there. Many sutlers, soldiers, government employees and contrabands were loitering about or busy at work. Innumerable wagons, ambulances, officers and orderlies were continually moving to and fro; and with the arrival and departure of trains, the scene was one of life and activity, only witnessed at the base of great armies.
Immediately upon arrival the Colonel telegraphed to General Meade, requesting to be assigned to his army, and received a reply from Adjutant-General Seth Williams, stating the General was out on the works; and as all new troops were ordered to report to General Butler, he had better land at Bermuda Hundred. Accordingly, early the next morning they weighed anchor and steamed directly north to Bermuda Hundred, two miles distant, where Beauregard "bottled up" Butler in May. Disembarking, the regiment was marched some three miles to the southwest and encamped for the night. During the night, General Meade's attention having been called to the Colonel's telegram, he telegraphed to Grant to have the regiment assigned to his army, in compliance with which General Grant, upon his arrival at City Point the next morning, dispatched an order to Sickel to re-embark his men on any transport he could find, and return with them to the Point.
This order reached the Colonel by one of General Grant's orderlies at
midnight, during a heavy thunder-storm, and, appreciating the compliment
that had been paid him, as his regiment was the only new one that had been
assigned to the Army of the Potomac, he beat reveille at three o'clock and
had two days' rations issued and cooked and the men on the march by
daylight. Arriving at Bermuda Hundred, the large steamship Columbia was
found to be the only transport at the landing, and the Quartermaster of
the station refused to grant the use of her, but upon being assured by the
Colonel that he would seize her in the name of General Grant, he
acquiesced. Embarking, they reached City Point at eleven o'clock.
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Let us here briefly review the operations of the army, Ulysses S. Grant, who was appointed Lieutenant-General commanding all the armies of the United States, on the 4th of May, 1864, at the head of the Army of the Potomac, then numbering over one hundred thousand men, crossed the Rapidan on Lee's right, and pushed straight into "The Wilderness." Through this broken table-land, seamed with ravines and densely covered with dwarfish timber and brush, Grant confidently expected to get, unassailed; but, being attacked, had no choice left but to fight. The two armies, moving on parallel lines in a southeasterly direction, after many sanguinary battles, and mutually heavy losses, reached the Chickahominy. Grant cutting loose from his base on the Rapidan, established it at Fredericksburg, then at Port Royal, and finally at White House; so he was always within a short distance of it to draw his supplies and send his wounded.
Grant, baffled in his attempt to force himself between Lee and Richmond, determined to cross the James and attack Richmond from the south. This, seemingly, uncovered Washington, but with the insurgent army hard pressed around Richmond by a superior force, and with the country northward, from Richmond to the Potomac, utterly exhausted and devastated, by the time the insurgent forces could march to the Rappahannock, Grant could transport to the Capital the bulk of his army. Critics may ask, why it was not better to send the army to Petersburg by water at once, and save the loss of life incurred by the land route. To have left the insurgents on the Rapidan and taken ship for the James would have been the certain loss of our Capital or the fatal division of our forces. Besides, the losses to the insurgents were greater in proportion to their resources than ours.
General Benjamin F. Butler, commanding at Fortress Monroe, having been re-enforced by the Eighteenth Corps, Major-General William F. Smith (of Vermont), and the Tenth (from South Carolina), General Quincey A. Gilmore (of Ohio), raising his effective disposable force to some 30,000, by order of General Grant, on the 4th of May moved up the James and seized Bermuda Hundred, a peninsula between the James and the Appomattox. General Butler made some demonstrations against Petersburg and the railroad leading to Richmond, a portion of which he destroyed, but Beauregard, being relieved at Charleston by the withdrawal of Gillmore's Corps, hastened with his forces to confront him. Before daylight on the 16th the insurgents attacked our forces, and compelled them to fall back, with a loss to each side of about 4,000 men. Beauregard then erected a line of earthworks across the neck of the peninsula in front of our troops, and Butler reported himself "bottled up." Butler had considerable fighting along his front, but none of a decisive nature. He sent General Kautz on a moderately successful raid, and detached Smith's corps to re-enforce Grant. On the 8th of June he sent Gillmore with 3,500 to attack Petersburg on the north, and General Kautz with 1,500 cavalry to attack it on the southwest. Gillmore advanced within two miles of the city, driving in the enemy's skirmishers, but, deeming his force too weak, withdrew. While the insurgents' attention was concentrated on Gillmore, Kautz made his way into the city; but upon the withdrawal of Gillmore, he was speedily driven out.
The Army of the Potomac struck the James at Wilcox's wharf, a few miles below Westover, and, pontoons and ferryboats being at hand, the passage was promptly made on the 14th and 15th of June. Grant then hurried to the Army of the James and ordered Gen. Butler to at once move Smith's corps, which had just rejoined him, against Petersburg, A. P. Hill, with the van of Lee's army, having already arrived there. Petersburg, on the south bank of the Appomattox, twenty-two miles south of Richmond, is the focus of all the railroads but the Danville, which connects the insurgent capitol with the south and southwest. If taken and held by our forces, the Confederate government and army would be compelled to abandon Richmond, Smith attacked, by noon of the 15th, a black brigade, taking a line of rifle-pits and two guns. But an unaccountable delay ensued, and it was near sundown before be renewed the assault, when the rifle-pits in his front, with three hundred prisoners and sixteen guns, were captured. General Hancock, with two divisions, the van of the Army of the Potomac, now arrived and waved his seniority; and Smith, instead of pressing on with resoluteness, at this critical moment, when moments were so precious, determined to wait till morning. When morning came Lee's veterans were there, and Petersburg was beyond our grasp.
The Army of the Potomac and the Army of Virginia again stood face to face. At six o'clock in the evening of the next day, Meade gave the orders for a general assault. Hancock's, Burnside's and part of Warren's corps charged, in the face of a terrible fire, the enemy's rifle-pits, and a night of combat and carnage ensued, resulting in our carrying some of their works and generally advancing our line though at a heavy cost of life to both parties. Butler, the same day, advanced General Terry against the Richmond railroad, but with no marked success and on the 18th another general assault was ordered. The enemy was found to have withdrawn to a more symmetrical line nearer Petersburg, and it was three o'clock in the afternoon before the assault was commenced. Impetuous and bloody as it was, it resulted in no good, except in establishing the fact that the city could not be carried by direct assault.
Grant, therefore, commenced intrenching strongly in its front, and the Second and Sixth Corps, Generals Hancock and Wrigbt, were moved to the left, to turn the enemy's right and seize the Weldon railroad. A. P. Hill, however, had watched this movement, and two heavy engagements took place on the 22d and 23d of June, resulting in no advantage save a moderate extension of our left towards the Weldon railroad. On the same day, the 21st, Generals Wilson and Kautz, with 8,000 cavalry, had been sent still further to the left, and succeeded in destroying many miles of the Weldon, the Lynchburg, and the Danville railroads, but were met by a superior force, and, with the loss of thirteen guns, thirty wagons, and one thousand men, rejoined the army. About the same time, our right was extended by General Butler throwing a pontoon bridge over the James at Deep Bottom, and strongly posting himself there, within ten miles of Richmond. More or less fighting occurred along the line, until the 26th of July, when Grant threw Hancock, with the Second Corps, across the James, who turned the enemy's advance position and drove them behind Bailey's creek. This attack drew five of Lee's eight remaining divisions over the James.
A mine had been run under an insurgent fort, one hundred and fifty feet, in front of Burnside's lines. At sixteen minutes of five, on the morning of the 30th, it was sprung, blowing the fort into the air, destroying its garrison of three hundred men and leaving a crater two hundred feet long, fifty wide, and about twenty-five deep. Instantly the guns along our whole front opened.
Four hundred yards behind the fort was Cemetery Hill, the possession of which would speedily cause the fall of Petersburg, and Grant had ordered an assault to immediately follow the explosion. Instead of Burnside's division commanders vieing with each other for the honor of leading the assault, they were allowed to cast lots which should, in fact, stay out, and, unfortunately, it fell on General Ledlie to go in. The column, when wanted, was not ready; precious moments were lost; but, at last, it moved forward into the crater, and there it stayed. Then parts of Potter's and Wilcox's divisions followed, but Ledlie's men blocked the way, and, all mixed up together, remained in the crater. General Potter finally rallied some men and charged towards Cemetery Hill, but was soon obliged to fall back. Two hours were thus shamefully wasted, while the insurgents, recovering their self-possession, were planting batteries on either side, and concentrating their infantry. Burnside now ordered his black division to charge. They passed to the right of the crater, and up almost to the crest of the hill, but were met by so heavy a fire of artillery and musketry that they were hurled back, many of them entering the crater. The enemy now poured into this slaughter-hole a hail of shells and balls. Their first assault upon it was repulsed, and many of our unfortunates escaped to our lines, but our loss was 4,400, while that of the enemy was hardly one-fourth. Thus ended this miserable affair, with a positive advantage to the enemy, that promised so much good results to us.
On the 12th of August, Hancock was again sent over the James, being strengthened by the Tenth I Corps, General Birney, and Gregg's cavalry. Considerable fighting ensued, including the repulse of an insurgent night attack on the 18th, involving in the whole movement a loss of about 5,000 men on either side, without any decided success on our part. At the same time, Warren, with the Fifth Corps, was pushed out on our left, and seized and fortified the long coveted Weldon railroad, at a loss of 1,000 men. The next day, the 19th, Crawford's Division was struck by Hill, and rolled up with the loss of 2,500 prisoners. On the 21st, Warren was assaulted by thirty insurgent guns and several heavy columns, but he outflanked their flanking column, inflicting heavy loss upon them. Warren's loss in the whole movement was 4,455 men, but, alas! most of these were prisoners. The enemy's loss was about half the number, and the Weldon road.
On the same day, Hancock arrived from the extreme right and struck the road four miles in rear of Warren, at Ream's Station, where, after tearing up the road for three days, he was assaulted and forced to retreat after a total loss of 2,400 men and five guns. But Warren's hold was too strong to be shaken. Except the usual sharp-shooting along the line, nothing more of moment occurred until late in September, except a smart insurgent raid on our cattle-yard at Coggin's Point, on the James, opposite Harrison's Landing, in which they run off 2,500 beeves with no loss. Our line of strong intrenchments, with heavy forts at short intervals, commenced on the Appomattox, less than two miles below Petersburg, and extended nearly south for about five miles and a half, three miles of which was close to the insurgent works, at one point approaching within one hundred and tbirty-tbree yards of them. The line then bent to the west, terminating, at this time, at Fort Wadsworth, on the Weldon railroad, a distance of about three miles; thence it extended southward to the west and along the railroad one mile to Fort Dushane; thence it returned again nearly parallel to our front line of works, inclosing and securing our rear. Two connecting lines of works crossed the space between. Between these lines was the United States military road, extending from City Point to the Weldon railroad, a distance of about seventeen miles, the trails to construct which Grant took up from the York river and Richmond road and shipped around to City Point.
The left of the line of the Army of the James rested on the Appomattox,
about ten miles below the Army of the Potomac, the intervening space being
protected by the river, rifle-pits, and detached forts. Thence the lines
extended northward about three and a half miles across the neck of the
peninsula, the right resting on the James. A lodgment had been secured at
Deep Bottom, on the opposite bank of the river, and works a mile and a
half thrown up. Our lines subsequently were extended many miles on both
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We left the regiment at City Point. About noon that day, September the 24th, they embarked upon the cars of the Military road, and passed along the rear of our line of earth-works to the Yellow Tavern, near the extreme left, and near a point on the Weldon railroad, seized and fortified by Warren in August. At Warren's headquarters they were received by the General and other distinguished officers, and were accompanied by General Griffin and staff to the headquarters of the First Brigade, to which the regiment was assigned, and the command of the brigade turned over to Colonel Sickel, General Chamberlain being absent, wounded. The Second Brigade was commanded by General Gregory, and the Third by General Bartlett. These brigades composed the First Division, General Griffin. The Second Division was commanded by General Ayres, and the Third by General Samuel W. Crawford. The Fifth Corps was under General Warren. Colonel Sickel having been assigned to the command of the brigade, the command of the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Murray. "Camp Sickel" was established, abundant rations issued to the men, drilling and guard duty at once commenced, and soon the green ones were initiated into the ways and mysteries of camp life. To the many who had served in the Reserves and other organizations, the scenes around them were not new, but to those who had come out for the first time, all was novelty and excitement. The picket, the alarms, the booming of distant guns, produced varied impressions upon the different individuals, but all tended to prepare them for the earnest work so close at hand. The Battle of Peeble's Farm, September 30th and October 1st and 2d, 1864. On the 30th of September, eleven days after the regiment left Philadelphia, it was ordered under arms, and, moving off to the westward, incessant volleys of musketry and artillery were soon heard rolling out of the woods in front. Advancing steadily, they were laid down in a woods in front of the enemy's line of works, near Poplar Spring Church, where they remained for nearly two hours, subject to a severe cannonading. Their position was the most trying new troops could be placed in, for while the shells, as a general thing, inflict but little loss, their screeching and bursting are annoying to unaccustomed ears. Having driven the enemy's batteries from their position, the line advanced, pushing the infantry before them, through the woods, across Squirrel Level road to Peeble's farm, where they made a desperate stand, but, by hard fighting, they were driven from their works with considerable loss, two Majors being among the prisoners. During the night it commenced raining, and continued through the next day, the men being engaged in throwing up breastworks and skirmishing most of the time. Early the next morning, Sunday, the 2d, they fell in and moved forward some distance and lay down near the enemy's works, where they remained under fire five hours, when they were moved to the rear a short distance, and again commenced throwing up breastworks. The next day was passed in perfect quietness, with a lively picket firing through the night, and on the afternoon of the 4th, the brigade was relieved by the Second, Colonel Gregory, when they moved about a half mile to the rear and went into camp on Talmadge's farm, near Fort Urmston. In this movement Warren advanced with two divisions of his own corps, and two of the Ninth, under General Parke, with Gregg's cavalry. He carried three small works and advanced our lines nearly two miles to the westward, strongly fortifying them and joining them to his former position across the railroad. Our loss in killed, wounded and missing was 118 officers and 2,567 men; 1, 756 if which were prisoners. That of the enemy, probably, was not quite so heavy, but included General Donnovan. Grant ordered this movement, to cover up a more determined one by Butler on our right. General Butler crossed the James on the 29th, and advancing with the Tenth Corps, under General Birney, and the Eighteenth, General Ord, assaulted and carried Fort Harrison, taking fifteen guns and a considerable portion of the enemy's intrenchments. He next assaulted Fort Gilmer, but was repulsed by Major-General Field, with a loss of three hundred men; General Ord being wounded and Brigadier-General Burham killed. The insurgent General Fields, the next day, attempted the recapture of Fort Harrison, assaulting it with four brigades on opposite sides, but was repulsed with heavy slaughter. Kautz's cavalry, that held our extreme right, on the Charles City road, was surprised a few days afterwards within four miles of Richmond. Desperate fighting ensued, we losing nine guns and nearly five hundred men, mostly prisoners. Both parties claimed the advantage. The insurgent Brigadier-General Gregg, of Texas, was killed.
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Camp Urmston, of the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth, was arranged with great regularity and neatness, the stumps and underbrush being cleared away and the ground thoroughly policed. Company and battalion drills were held daily, and that strict discipline established so necessary for the efficiency of soldiers. While here, the Twenty-first Pennsylvania Cavalry, (the One Hundred and Eighty-second of the Line,) Major Knowles, that had been serving as infantry in the brigade, was detached and sent to City Point, where it was equipped and mounted. About the same time the One Hundred and Eighty-fifth New York Volunteers arrived, and were attached to the brigade. They were a splendid set of men and well drilled. The 8th of October being election day in the State, the men exercised their right of casting their vote. A private of the Second Maryland, named Charles Miller, having deserted to the enemy, and being subsequently captured by our pickets, was shot on the morning of the 14th, at half past nine o'clock. The division to which he belonged was drawn up to witness the execution. A death procession, composed of soldiers bearing the coffin, the condemned, a priest, the guard, the firing party and the band, to a most beautiful and solemn dirge, passed down the line and halted in front of the grave. The prisoner, whose arms were pinioned, walked with a firm step. His face was deadly pale, but he showed no signs of fear. He could not look at his late comrades, nor at the flag he had fought for and against. For a moment he turned his eyes towards the blue heavens above him, then closing them, seated himself upon his coffin, and was blindfolded. A few words were whispered to him by the priest, and the order, "Ready"-"Aim"-"Fire!" given, and the deserter fell back dead. His grave was filled, the band struck up a lively tune and the troops marched back to their camps. A military execution is the most solemn and impressive sight one can witness, and, although every heart must feel sad for the fate of the poor condemned, they all recognize the justice of the sentence, and no one with a properly organized mind could wish him pardoned. Strange as it may appear, that very night a man who had witnessed the execution was shot and captured by our pickets while attempting to desert to the enemy. Desertion was an unhealthy business. While here the regiment was under arms a number of times, occasioned by skirmishes on the picket line, but in no instance were they moved from camp. On the 15th Captain Francis B. Jones, the Brigade Inspector, inspected the regiment. The day was unusually pleasant, and every man was present or accounted for. The true test of a soldier's pride is found in the care of his arms, and it was with satisfaction the officers heard the inspector pronounce them in perfect condition. About noon the next day, the regiment moved about a half-mile to the south, and encamped to the right of the Barlett's Third Brigade, in rear of Fort Cummings, near the Squirrel Level road, where they remained, performing the usual picket duty, and getting under arms during alarms, until the 27th. Battle of Boydton Plank-road, October 27th and 28th, 1864. Grant having sounded a general advance, General Butler, by order, made a demonstration in force on our extreme right, moving on to the defences of Richmond, by the Charles City and Williamsport road. Meade, stripping the works before Petersburg of all but the men necessary to hold them, with three days' rations and sixty rounds of cartridges, moved suddenly by the left to turn the right flank of the enemy. Long before dawn on the 27th of October, the boys were busy preparing their coffee, and, having finished their frugal breakfast, were in line awaiting orders. Soon they took up their march, and, moving in a zig-zag direction to the southwest for five hours, toiled through dense timber, when they arrived in front of the enemy's formidable works on the north bank of Hatcher's run. Moving up a slight eminence covered with heavy timber, the Fifth Corps being mostly held in reserve, they laid down with a storm of shell screeching and bursting over them. The Ninth Corps, under General Parke, which held the right, struck the right of the insurgent intrenchments, which rested on the north or east bank of Hatcher's run. These they assaulted with great determination, but failed to carry, for the simple reason that it is almost impossible to drive veteran soldiers out of intrenchments without they are flanked. The Second Corps, General Hancock, had advanced simultaneous to the left, and encountered a small force, to dispute its passage of the run, where it struck it. Moving northwestward by Dabney's Mill to the Boydton plank-road, and pushing along it to the north towards the toll-gate, meeting with little opposition, at one o'clock in the afternoon it was halted by order of General Meade. Warren, upon the failure of Parke to carry the insurgent intrenchments, sent General Crawford's division, backed by Ayres' brigade, across Hatcher's run, to turn the enemy's works on the south or west bank of that stream, and to connect with Hancock, then some two miles distant. Crawford met with great difficulty, advancing through woods and swamps all but impassable, many of his men losing their regiments, and the regiments becoming detached from the division. In this scattered state he arrived directly on the flank of the enemy's intrenchments, when he received orders from General Warren to halt. The country proving entirely different from what was expected, a consultation with General Meade was desired. Hancock, who was now separated from Crawford by a mile of dense woods and swamps, extended his right, under General Eagan, to connect. Through the mistake of a subordinate, he supposed the connection had been made, but there was a space of twelve hundred yards intervening. Lee seized this opportunity to push forward Hill, strike Hancock's right, and roll it up. Heath's division leading, moved along a cart-road through the woods, passed Crawford's front, and across the interval between Crawford and Hancock. Arriving unseen opposite Hancock's right at four P.M., he deployed his lines, and charging, poured into Mott's division a volley of musketry, that gave the first intimation of the proximity of the enemy. Pierce's brigade instantly gave way, and a battery was lost. Eagan instantly charged front and hurried to the rescue, striking the rebels in flank with two brigades, one of which was of Mott's, under McAllister, as they rushed across the cleared space along the Boydton road in pursuit of the fugitives, killing many, capturing a thousand prisoners and re-taking the lost guns. The enemy, completely routed, fled in confusion, over two hundred of them falling into Crawford's lines. At the same time this attack was made on Hancock's right, General Wade Hampton, with five brigades of cavalry, attacked Gregg's cavalry, covering his left and rear. The assault continued until night, when Hampton withdrew discomfited, he having gained no ground. Meade sent orders to Hancock to use his discretion about withdrawing, or holding his position and attacking the next morning. Hancock, being short of ammunition and uncertain of being re-enforced in time, decided to draw off, and, at ten o'clock at night, commenced the movement. The One Hundred and Ninety-eighth changed positions several times during the day, being laid down in support of other troops or to threaten the enemy's works. The were constantly exposed to a harmless artillery fire until near sunset, when a strong picket line was thrown out, which was engaged nearly the entire night. A cold drenching rain fell through the night, but it did not interfere with the constant exchange of shots. The next day was clear but oppressively warm. A feeble picket fire was continued through the morning. The news of Heath's and Hampton's repulse was misunderstood by the men, who, being ignorant of Hancock's withdrawal, were much elated; but about noon, when the orders were given to "sling knapsacks and fall in," they instantly comprehended the situation. Moving off at a double-quick some two miles to the rear, they halted in line of battle to the right of some batteries. After remaining here some time, they moved off, and, about sunset, reached their old encampment at Squirrel Level road. Our loss in this movement was 90 officers and 1,812 men, killed, wounded or missing, principally in Hancock's corps, they losing an aggregate of 1,500 men. That of the enemy was considerably greater, otherwise the movement resulted in no advantage whatever to us. At Squirrel Level the men set diligently to work erecting substantial quarters, in the faint hope of wintering there. As soon as they were finished, a neat chapel was built for their most excellent chaplain, the Reverend John J. Pomeroy. In this regiment, as in the Third Reserve, there was considerable religious element, induced, in a great measure, by the influence of the worthy chaplain, who was the earnest friend of every man in it. Such of the officers as were not religious, had a proper respect for religion, and did much to forward it. When the chapel was finished it was the nightly resort of those who wished to attend prayer-meeting, or listen to appropriate and touching discourses. In a few days the camp was one of the most comfortable and neat in the army. Picketing, camp duty, battalion drill, and dress parade occupied the time of the men, affording healthy exercise and preserving a proper tone of spirit. The Presidential canvas was now progressing in the loyal North, and extended to the army. Influential citizens of both parties visited the various camps to talk with the soldiers. Political badges of the candidates were for sale at all the sutlers' tents, and almost every soldier wore his favorite on his breast. The election passed off quietly on the 8th of November, with hardly an unkind word spoken; and the men were as untrammeled in the casting of their ballots as ever they were in their lives. On the 15th, the usual monthly brigade inspection took place. The 27th, the day of National Thanksgiving, was spent in the enjoyment of a profusion of dainties, sent by kind friends of members of the command at home. During all this time the interminable fusillade in the trenches and along the picket lines was kept up, the balls frequently dropping in the encampment or whizzing over head. But the boys had become so used to them that they ceased to cause more than a casual remark.
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Raid on the Weldon Railroad, December 6th to 12th, 1864. The enemy still held a portion of the Weldon railroad, upon which they transported supplies from North Carolina and farther south nearly up to our lines, whence they wagoned them around our left to their camps. General Meade determined to destroy the road farther to the southward, to prevent its use for that purpose. He, therefore, sent Warren with the Fifth Corps, Mott's division of the Second Corps, and Griggs' mounted division to accomplish it. Preparatory marching orders were received by the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth on the afternoon of the 5th; and by early dawn the next morning the boys were in line with four days' rations in haversacks and twenty rounds of extra cartridges in the pockets. It was nine o'clock, however, before they left their picturesque camp in the woods, upon which they had bestowed so much labor; and, moving off along the Military railroad towards City Point, halted at two o'clock in the afternoon in a heavy woods, where they bivouacked for the night. Moving early the next morning, they continued on their course until they struck the Jerusalem plank-road, when, wheeling to the right, they proceeded in a southerly direction down that noted highway. Crossing a number of minor streams and passing through the village of Templeton, after marching seventeen miles through a heavy rain, they bivouacked in an open field near the Nottaway river. At three o'clock the next morning, the 8th, they moved off, crossing the deep and rapid stream on pontoons. The night had been a cold, rainy and comfortless one, and the morning was damp and chilly. The rain had rendered the marshy roads very heavy, along which they hurriedly marched. But soon the bright sun appeared, the warm rays of which seemed to inspire new life and spirit to the men. Passing through Sussex Court House, they halted for a short time to partake of the soldiers' breakfast, coffee and hard-tack. Then, moving on, all day long they toiled over heavy roads until near sunset, when they rested for a while in an orchard to eat supper. After a short delay they moved over the fields about two miles at double-quick, and struck the Weldon railroad. The sun had just set, its last rays gilding the mountain tops in the distant west. As far as the eye could reach were seen innumerable glowing fires, and thousands of busy blue-coats tearing up the rails and piling the ties. It was at once a wild, animated scene, and the fatigue of the long days' march was soon forgotten. Four companies under Major Glenn were immediately posted as pickets in a woods two hundred yards to the west of the road, and Lieutenant-Colonel Murray, with the remaining ten companies, proceeded diligently toward assisting in the destruction. With pick-axes and flaming torch they soon illumined the neighboring woods and hills, and their merry laughter and wild shouts echoed through the forest glens. The rails were heated and twisted in many fantastic shapes, some being bent into the shape of a Maltese cross, the badge of the glorious old Fifth, as a certificate of the fact that it was done by that corps. With a hearty good-will and no signs of fatigue, the boys continued their exciting work until one o'clock in the morning, when they were relieved, and bivouacked in a neighboring sage field, where, in despite of the excessive cold, they threw themselves upon the ground and slept soundly until revielle. Partaking of a hurried breakfast, they eagerly fell in and marched down the line of the railroad, to recommence their work. And thus they advanced, burning bridges and blowing up culverts, leaving in their train a scene of destruction and ruin. About noon they reached Bellfield, a lively little town, which they made still livelier for the time being, wrapping in flames the station and railroad buildings, and smashing up everything that would be of any use to the enemy. During the raid the fences suffered considerably, and lucky was the chicken or other barn-yard game that escaped the ever-vigilant eye of the boys. Feathers, sheep and calf-skins, hides and horns, marked the bivouacs of the army. Nor were the boys without delicacies. Occasionally one would be seen distributing on the point of his bayonet the contents of a preserve jar, or dispensing with liberal hand nuts and dried fruit. Although the weather was intensely cold and the men suffered much, they enjoyed their raid equally as much as the insurgents did theirs into Pennsylvania, and without finding the country quite so unhealthy. After dinner they again went at the railroad, continuing their destruction of it until they reached the Meherrin river, on the opposite banks of which stood Hicksford, the county town of Greensville, about eight miles from the North Carolina line. Here two railroads connect, one leading directly south to Weldon and Wilmington, and the other southwest into Georgia. The few insurgents encountered were driven across the river, and the fine railroad bridge totally destroyed. The town being fortified and strongly held by the enemy, and our troops having started with but four days' rations, they were constrained to return. Leaving the artillery to pound away at the town, and the cavalry and a small portion of the infantry to make demonstrations of crossing, about sunset the main body commenced retracing their steps, the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth bivouacking near Bellfield. The expedition fully accomplished its mission, having destroyed the railroad, with its bridges, culverts and water stations for thirty miles. During the night it rained and hailed incessantly, rendering it very uncomfortable for the wearied men. The next morning, the 10th, was clear and bright, but the roads were very heavy; and, after steady marching all day long, they bivouacked at nine o'clock that night near Sussex Court House. Through the day they occasionally heard the guns of the rear guard engaged with the enemy far to the south. The next morning, passing near Sussex, the stripped bodies of several of our soldiers were found with their throats cut. These poor fellows, through inability to keep up, had fallen out during the rapid advance, and were captured by the citizens, who had left their homes to hang on our rear. It is but just to add that such cruelties were never perpetrated upon our men by the old soldiers of Lee's army, who knew how to treat a foe, but were almost invariably confined to troops who had never been upon the battle-field, or the guerilla citizens. True, their was a shameful neglect of our wounded that fell into their hands, and many instances of their stripping them, as at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, but they invariably said, in excuse, it was done by order of their officers. About noon they reached the pontoons on the Nottaway, where they found the Ninth Corps awaiting their arrival, and ready, if necessary, to cover their retreat. But the enemy had not followed them with any considerable force, though they were mustering in hot haste in their rear. Moving about two miles beyond the river, they bivouacked for the balance of the day and night on the plantation of Mr. Chappin, where they received a fresh supply of rations, brought down by the Ninth Corps. The next day, the twelfth, after a tedious march, they reached the Federal lines, and went into camp near their first encampment, in the neighborhood of Fort Wadsworth. Here the boys set themselves diligently to work again, preparing winter quarters for themselves and officers, and built a neat chapel of forty by sixty feet dimensions for religious and other meetings. On the 27th of December, Lieutenant-Colonel Murray, an excellent officer, was relieved on account of physical disability. At this time Sherman had completed his great march from Atlanta to the Sea, and was intent upon moving north through the Carolinas to Virginia. Grant's campaign of 1864 practically ended in October, with the Boydton plank-road affair. Instead of pushing things in his front during the winter, he evidently considered his ends best subserved by quietness. He dreaded Lee's abandonment of Virginia, at least for a time, to precipitate his army, swelled by re-enforcements from Hardee, Beauregard, Wheeler and others, upon Sherman, as he struggled through eastern Georgia or the swamps of South Carolina. But the mere suggestion of the abandonment of the insurgent capital was met by such a deafening clamor by the Richmond journals that the authorities could not defy it. Its abandonment, and even the worsting of Sherman would not have altered the issue of the war, but might have prolonged it by a series of minor engagements in the more southern States, to the untold misery of its inhabitants. And now, in the eleventh hour of the Confederacy, they commenced freeing and arming such slaves as were fit for military service. What they had denounced in us, as utterly unjustified by any conceivable exigency of war, as at once a crime, a futility and a confession of defeat, and ridiculed in unmeasured terms, they at last hailed with hope, to save the government whose corner-stone was slavery.
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Battle of Hatcher's Run, February 5th and 6th, 1865. The regiment remained in camp, performing the usual duties, drilling and picketing until Sunday morning, February 5th, when, leaving their shelter-tents and knapsacks in charge of the camp guard, they moved in light marching order on the old bloody path. The column, consisting of the Fifth Corps, General Warren, the Second, now under General Humphrey, and Gregg's Cavalry, pushed down the Halifax road to near Ream's Station, when, turning to the right, they moved nearly west, and near and in front of Dabney's Mill, at three in the afternoon, the advance of the Fifth came upon, and carried by assault, a portion of the enemy's line of breastworks. The First Division, General Griffin, with Chamberlain's brigade in advance, moved through the captured works, and, with Gregg's cavalry, pushed southeastwardly to within three miles of Dinwiddie Court House, on the Boydton plank-road, where they halted in a large clearing, got supper, and made preparation for bivouacking for the night. Surrounding themselves with a strong picket line, the men lay down and went to sleep. The object of this movement was to draw off a portion of the enemy to watch them, and, being successful, at eleven o'clock at night the pickets were drawn in; and silently and rapidly, on the double-quick, they moved off toward the main body of the army. If this movement had been delayed a half hour a severe engagement would have taken place, as the last of the rear-guard witnessed a heavy line of the enemy charge over the vacated bivouac, they intending the hazard of a night attack. Griffin moved on until he found the road obstructed by felled timber, when, concealing himself in it, he bivouacked for the balance of the night. Early the next morning, the 6th, they moved on, and soon reached the captured insurgent works. The feint was a complete success. A large force of the enemy followed it, thus weakening the lines in front of the main body, which assaulted when this force w as well away, and carried his works. Smythe's division and M'Allister's brigade of Mott's division most gallantly repulsed an attempt of the enemy to turn the right of the former. Everything remained moderately quiet until three in the afternoon, when Crawford's brigade, which had been thrown forward to Dabney's Mill some time before, encountered and drove an insurgent force under General Pegram, who was killed. By this time the enemy had sent a strong force around our left to strike it in flank and rear. Gregg's cavalry, which was on the left of Crawford's, first felt the shock of this blow, and was pushed back to Hatcher's run. Ayres' brigade was advanced to the support of Crawford, and was struck in flank by a division while marching, and rolled up in confusion. The First Brigade, which was posted in the breastworks, immediately advanced to their support in column of regiment, the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth leading. The boys springing over the works, dashed through the mud and water, and in a few moments, wheeling sharply to the right into an open field, charged, with wild shouts, upon Mahone's charging line. Sickel, seeing the desperation of the moment, with sword in hand led the column. The two met, the enemy overlapping on either side, but the weight of our column broke through, and, cutting them in half, threw them into much confusion. At the same moment Crawford's brigade was heavily struck and pushed back, and now followed a desperate and sanguinary struggle. While the Fifth Corps was hard pressed and almost overwhelmed, Humphrey arrived with the Second Corps, and, after a short, decisive conflict, the enemy were thrown back in discomfiture. General Sickel received a painful flesh wound in the left thigh from a rifle shot, and the brave Lieutenant Frazier, of Company L, was mortally wounded. General Griffin thanked the General and his regiment upon the field for their gallantry, and gave them due credit in his official report. Night came and was intensely dark. The enemy determined once more, if possible, to regain his lost ground. Massing his forces on our right, and approaching cautiously under cover of the heavy open timber in front, he drove in the pickets, and charged with a yell right over our works. At the same instant his numerous batteries in the rear opened with shell over their heads, and a dreadful conflict was at once inaugurated. For a moment things looked bad, but with the enemy between them and the breastworks, it was not so hard to re-take them. Instantly recovering from the shock, the lines were re-formed, and, delivering a terrible volley at close range, the boys sprang upon the foe with the bayonet. The struggle for a short time was hand-to-hand, muskets being clubbed and bayonets freely used. But the brave fellows were beaten down and crushed back by the hardy men of the North; and amidst the flashes of musketry and bursting of shell, the works were regained. When a force breaks and runs, then comes the slaughter. Steadily our men poured into them an incessant fire until they were beyond range. During the balance of the night they were unmolested, and heavy details were made to collect and care for the wounded of both armies. At daylight the next morning, the 7th, the enemy had entirely disappeared from the vicinity, and heavy details were sent out to bury the dead. Friend and foe were laid in rows close together upon the field of honor peacefully to sleep. Our loss in this affair was about 1,800 killed, wounded and missing; and that of the enemy must have been at least equal. About ten o'clock, through a drenching rain, the command was moved from the field into the intrenchments. As these were erected by the enemy behind a marsh, in our occupation of them matters were reversed, and our troops were forced to occupy the marsh for an encampment. Exposed to the cold rain, in the mud and water, without shelter-tents, overcoats, blankets or fire, the sufferings of the men were severe. Work was at once commenced upon a strong line of defences on an eminence in rear, on the opposite side of Hatcher's run, for the more ample protection of the position, our left having been permanently extended to this point. When they were completed, the regiment moved half a mile to the rear, and encamped on high ground along the margin of a fine piece of timber. Soon after their shelter-tents and knapsacks arrived, and they engaged for the third time in putting up comfortable winter quarters and a chapel. While here their time was occupied with the ordinary duties of a camp, in close proximity to the enemy, until the 29th of March.
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Let us glance for a moment at the operations of Sheridan and Sherman. Sheridan, at the head of 10,000 mounted men, left Winchester on the 27th of February, and struck Early in his intrenchments at Waynesboro' on the 2d of March, so completely routing and capturing his army that there was little left of it except Early himself. Pushing on, destroying depots, manufactories, bridges and long stretches or railroad, and the James River canal, he swept around north of Richmond, and, by way of White House and Jones' landing, reported to Grant at City Point on the 27th of March. Sherman, who had left Savannah on the 1st of February, led his victorious army through South Carolina, causing the evacuation, by the rebels, of the posts on the sea coast, to Goldsboro', North Carolina, whence, leaving it, he proceeded by railroad and steamer to City Point, where he arrived on the 27th of March also, and met in council the President, Generals Grant, Meade, Sheridan and others. Surprise of Fort Steadman, March 25th, 1865. Lee and Davis, foreseeing clearly the speedy downfall of the Confederacy, unless averted by a telling blow that would deliver them from the grasp of Grant, and enable them to unite with Johnston and crush Sherman, resolved upon the desperate effort. Accordingly, on the night of the 24th of March Lee concentrated two powerful divisions, under Generals Gordon and Ransom, with 20,000 of his best troops massed in their rear as a support, at Colquitt's Salient, on the extreme east of the rebel line, opposite Fort Steadman, and, at a little before light the next morning, having steadily approached and silenced the Union pickets, burst in overpowering columns upon the main line, surprising and capturing at a blow Fort Steadman, and batteries to right and left, from Fort Haskell to Battery IX, thus swinging open wide gates in the Union line, and clearing the way for the advance of their powerful support. The portion of the line broken was occupied by M'Laughlin's brigade of Wilcox's division, the greater portion of which was captured. The Fort was held by the Fourteenth New York Artillery. Undoubtedly it was Lee's intention to push forward the 20,000 reserve, seize the crest of the ridge about Meade's station on the military railroad behind the forts, and cut our army in two. But the order for the advance was either not given or not promptly responded to, and our troops rallying from their surprise were preparing to make a counter-assault, while our guns on either side were trained to sweep the ground over which they advance. Like our officers at Burnside's mine explosion, they failed to seize the opportunity, and the assaulting columns became an isolated handful in the midst of an army of foes. General Hartranft, whose division was laying in reserve in rear of the Ninth Corps, immediately moved to the assault, and as the line dashed forward, the rebels seeing the hopelessness of their position, threw down their arms in large numbers, and began to pass through the advancing ranks to the rear. The triumph was complete. The works were regained, with all the guns uninjured, and nearly three thousand prisoners with small arms and battle flags were captured. General Meade, believing that the enemy's lines generally must have been weakened to strengthen this assault, ordered an advance along the front of the Sixth and Second Corps, holding our works to the left of Fort Steadman. The attack was made with such spirit that their strongly intrenched picket line was taken from them and permanently held by our forces. Thus Lee tightened rather than loosened Grant's grip upon the throat of the Confederacy. At nearly dawn this day the One Hundredth and Ninety-eighth, with the brigade, was hurriedly got under arms, and double-quicked down the lines some two miles to re-enforce the Ninth Corps. From thence it was moved from point to point in rear of the Sixth and Second Corps, during their assaults upon the enemy's lines, whenever their support seemed most urgent, and although frequently under fire they were not actually engaged. This continued during the entire day, and late in the evening it returned to its camp completely worn out. The entire loss in our army during the day was 2,390 officers and men, nearly 1,000 of whom were prisoners. The loss to the enemy was probably one-third more. On the 24th, Grant had prepared orders for a general advance on our left on the 29th. It now became absolutely necessary to do so, to intercept and preclude Lee's withdrawal to North Carolina. Three divisions of the army of the James, now commanded by General Ord, were brought over to the left on the 27th. Leaving the Ninth Corps, General Parke and one division of Ord's to hold our extended lines in front of Petersburg, and sending all dismounted cavalrymen to General Benham for the defence of City Point, on the 29th Grant commenced his last grand movement. The Battle of Lewis Farm or Quaker Road, March 29th, 1865. Late on the evening of the 28th, the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth received orders to strike tents and rest upon its arms in readiness for an early march, the whole army awaiting the signal to deliver a decisive blow. At three o'clock the next morning, they leading, the Fifth Corps moved off at a double-quick in a southerly direction, crossed the Rowanty on pontoons below the junction of Gravelly and Hatcher's runs, and pushed westward on the Monk's Neck road to the Quaker road, into which they turned northward to strike the Boydton plank-road at Rainie's. In this movement General Chamberlain's brigade led, and, in fact, constituted and advance guard. The enemy's advanced posts were encountered at the crossing of Gravelly run. Being easily driven back, they joined their main body, strongly posted in earth-works on the edge of the piece of timber near an old saw mill. In front of the works stretched a clear field, one thousand yards deep and wide, flanked on either side by heavy timber, in which were posted sharp-shooters. General Chamberlain made his disposition for attack; placing the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania on the right, in two wings, commanded by General Sickel and Major Glenn, and the One Hundred and Eighty-fifth New York, Colonel Sniper, on the left, with Battery B, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Mitchell, in the center. The One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, Colonel Pearson, formed a reserve, moving in support. The battery being well posted for effective fire, the brigade advanced at the double-quick and soon was enveloped in the terrible fire of the securely posted Confederates. Our troops were not allowed to deliver fire until they came into close quarters, when the engagement became very severe, our troops being again and again checked, but renewing the assault with increased impetuosity. The fire of the battery being now directed to cover our left flank, which was in danger of being turned, the battle raged fiercely in the center, where not only the line of fire from the enemy's breastworks, but that of many sharp-shooters in the trees told with deadly effect upon our men. General Chamberlain receiving a severe wound in the breast, for a moment reeled in his saddle, but at that instant a sharp "rebel yell" on our right roused his attention, and he saw the rebels pouring upon the right flank of the One Hundred Ninety-eighth, and in spite of the heroic and stubborn resistance of that wing it showed signs of breaking to the rear, when he put spurs to his horse and rode down to assist General Sickel, who was bravely rallying his overpowered men. The men soon responded to these efforts, and, rallying, they drove the rebels entirely back into their works. General Chamberlain was again wounded and his horse shot under him, and General Sickel received a severe bone wound in the left arm, notwithstanding which he fought on like a hero. Directly between these two officers fell Major Charles I. Maceuen, a gallant and noble young officer. No sooner had our right been thus restored than the enemy turned the left of the brigade, bursting on the One Hundred and Eighty-fifth New York with terrific force. Our men drifting back into the battery on the left, General Chamberlain moved it into position to throw solid shot over the heads of our broken left, and while the tree tops were coming down on the astonished rebels, Pearson's regiment was brought up in the center and went in most gallantly, and one more grand rush was made for the enemy's works, which, after a hard contest, were triumphantly carried. The loss in the brigade was 367 killed and wounded, of which the One Hundred and Ninety-eight lost nearly one-half. Besides the loss of the brave Meceuen, fell also Captain George W. Mulfrey, a braver youth than whom, the regiment possessed not. Among the wounded were Captains Thomas C. Spackman, Benjamin F. Gardner and Samuel Wrigley, and Lieutenants Jeremiah C. Keller and William A. Miller. Captain Mitchell, of the battery, mounted on a gun carriage directing his fire, was severely wounded. After the fight General Chamberlain sought General Sickel, who greeted him with a soldier's frankness: "General, you have the courage of the lion, and the gentleness of a woman." "No, Sickel! it was your heroism and example that saved us," was the reply. The groans of the wounded rebels who fell into our hands were very distressing to hear, and were something different from the undemonstrative habit of our own men under such circumstances. Humphreys, with the Second Corps, crossed Hatcher's run at the Vaughan road, about four miles to the right of Warren, and moved in an extended line, over a densely wooded and difficult country. He met with skirmishes only and did not strike the enemy's intrenched lines. Sheridan, at the head of 10,000 men, all the cavalry of the army except headquarters escorts, moved to the left and independent of Warren, striking Dinwiddie Court House without meeting with much opposition, and for a time isolating the insurgent cavalry. During the battle the excellent Chaplain, Mr. Pomeroy, was assiduous in his attention to the wounded, and until late at night, with the willing assistance of the men, he labored to render them as comfortable as circumstances would permit. The dead were all properly buried, and over their graves he performed the funeral services. The regiment encamped upon the field, and during the night a cold rain set in that continued all the next day. This region, as is likewise most of southeastern Virginia, is level, much covered with thick and tangled woods, and well watered by numerous small, swampy streams. The soil in some places was clayey, in others sandy, which, when commingled in wet places, partakes of the nature of "quick-sand," and where upheaved by the winter frosts that now had left it, presented little more support to wheels or hoofs than would snow. Our army the next day for the most part remained quiet, but Lee, alive to his peril, leaving 8,000 men under Longstreet to hold his works, hurried with all the rest of his army, through rain and mire, to support his endangered right. The Battle of White Oak Ridge, March 31st, 1865. The brigade having been so severely engaged on the 29th, remained in position during the 30th. At daylight on the 31st, the one Hundred and Ninety-eighth, with the brigade, moved out the Boydton plank-road, past Mrs. Buller's house, where Griffin's division massed. The brigade was then formed on the bank of Gravelly run, where, though the bridge was destroyed, it seemed that an attack of the enemy was anticipated. Several batteries were sent to General Chamberlain and disposed so as to guard against an attack from that quarter, which in the present formation of the Fifth Corps lines facing northwest would be a flank and rear attack. The Second and Third divisions having crossed a small branch moved out in a northerly direction, and were expected to engage the enemy along the White Oak road. Ayres, who was out a mile or more towards the White Oak road, being ordered to drive in the enemy's pickets, received at the moment of his attack a heavy blow upon his left flank, which was irresistibly driven back on Crawford's division. This, too, broke in the disorder, and both came back, in much confusion, upon Griffin's division, which lay along the plank-road. The division, already substantially in line of battle, extended itself to stay the flight of the troops rushing through their ranks. The enemy, flushed with success, came on to the very bank of the branch, and making a demonstration there, General Chamberlain changed the direction of one or two of his batteries to that point, and brought the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania, now commanded by Major Glenn, into the interval facing the enemy's assault, still holding the left of his brigade, with Gregory's in its original position, to guard against an attack from the west. Our retreating troops being now pretty well across the branch, we opened on the enemy a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, checking their advance. They appeared now to content themselves with maintaining their present position. Just then Generals Warren and Griffin rode up to General Chamberlain, and, in a manner of excitement unusual to them, said, "General Chamberlain, will you save the honor of the Fifth Corps?" That was an appeal not to be resisted, although the First Brigade and its commander had suffered severely in the fight two days before. "Form your own plans, and nobody shall interfere with you," said Warren, who immediately took measures to have a bridge built over the branch, the water being three or four feet deep, and the bottom muddy and soft. But without waiting for the bridge, the brigade was formed in two lines, Major Glenn with the right wing of the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania in the advance, and dashed through the stream, driving the enemy's skirmishers before them as much by the moral effect of the movement as by the fire of the Third Brigade, which still continued obliquely, while the First was crossing. "I will give you Gregory's brigade," says Griffin, "and follow with Bartlett's myself." On the left the skirmish line of the First Division, Colonel Pearson commanding, advanced, followed by Ayre's division. In this way the enemy was pressed back a mile or so to the field, where the attack had routed our troops in the morning, and our dead and wounded were recovered. Across this field the enemy appeared in heavy force in an entrenched position, and some more carefully prepared form of attack was now necessary. The first line had gained a slight crest half way across the field, and they were now halted until the disposition for the attack could be prepared. H9aving Bartlett's fine brigade in the rear and Crawford's division somewhere on the right and rear, General Chamberlain formed a plan to carry the works and line across the field by a dash. Forming Gregory's brigade on the right of his own, in echelon by the left battalion, to counter-flank any flank attack on the right, and, having an understanding with General Ayres that he would form his division in the woods on the left, also in echelon by the right, to meet an expected assault on the left flank, and, bringing his own brigade into line, stretching across the field, sheltered somewhat by the crest referred to, General Chamberlain instructed Gregory to move through the woods on the right, and when he struck the enemy in force, to open on them the heaviest possible fire, while with the First Brigade he should take the open field at a dash. This was executed to perfection. The roar of Gregory's fire was the signal for the assault, and the moment the First Brigade came into full view a terrific fire of the enemy converging from front, and right and left, with their artillery at close range, made it a blinding storm of destruction in an instant. Only for a moment did the sudden and terrible blast of death cause the right of the line to waver. On they dashed, every color flying, officers leading, right in among the enemy, leaping the breastworks, a confused struggle of firing, thrusting, cutting, a tremendous surge of force, both moral and physical, on the enemy's breaking lines, and the works were carried. Private Augustus Zeiber, Company D, captured the flag of the Fifty-sixth Virginia in the taking of one of the parapets, and handed it to General Chamberlain in the midst of the melee, who immediately gave it back to him, telling him to keep it and take the credit he so rightly deserved. Almost that entire regiment was captured at the same time. Prisoners were taken belonging to Pickett's and Johnson's divisions who reported Lee near the field. So rapid had been the charge, and so confused were the enemy at the fierce onset, that the loss on our part was comparatively small - of the Fifth Corps, 1,488 officers and men; of the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania, about seventy-five. Among the killed were Captain Isaac Schroeder, of Company D, a brave and good officer, and Lieutenant Andrew A. Pomeroy, a young gentlemen of fine promise and a valued officer. He was a brother of the chaplain. A renewal of the fight was expected all night, as it was said that Lee was near, and that a counter attack on us was to be made in force. The heavy fire to our left and rear also gave token that Sheridan was being severely pressed. Humphreys, with the Second Corps, was not idle. Miles' division struck the enemy on the left flank some distance to Warren's right, and Miles, Mott and Hays, under Humphreys' orders, made repeated attempts to drive them from their works, but the abatis which covered its front was found impenetrable, and they were repelled. The same day, Sheridan, taking advantage of Lee's being occupied with Warren, advanced Devin's division and Davie's brigade of cavalry to Five Forks, and carried that coveted position. When Lee was clear of Warren he impelled Pickett's division, Wise's independent brigade of infantry, and Fitz Hugh Lee's, Rosser's and W.H. Lee's cavalry commands against them, drove them out, and nearly to Dinwiddie Court House. But Sheridan charged them in flank with Gregg's and Gibbs' brigades, and compelled them to let go of Devin and take care of themselves. Sheridan held his position until morning at the Forks, near Doctor Smith's house, with Custer's division, and the enemy withdrew during the night. Meantime, at headquarters, where it was only known that Sheridan had been driven to the Court House, there was naturally much alarm and anxiety for his safety, and repeated orders were sent to General Warren, who laid near White Oak road and the western point of the rebel works, to dispatch a division down the Boydton plank-road to his aid. Warren, at five o'clock in the afternoon, had sent General Bartlett's brigade towards Five Forks, and, at dark, it had reached a position near Doctor Boisseau's house, at the crossing of Gravelly run, in the rear of the enemy. About ten o'clock, in darkness of a stormy, starless night, Ayres was ordered to move down the plank-road to join Sheridan, but on account of the necessity of re-building the bridge over Gravelly run, he did not reach his position at J.M. Brooks' house, on the road between the enemy and Bartlett's brigade, until daylight, just as the rebel picket was withdrawing, the movement by them having commenced about eleven o'clock at night. About five A.M., the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth, which had been much disturbed through the night with orders, moved with the division rapidly across the country in a southwesterly direction to Crumps, near the crossing of Gravelly run, and near Bartlett's position. General Warren soon afterwards moved with Crawford's division from in front of the enemy's headquarters on the White Oak road, but was not followed and attacked by Lee as he should have been. By the neglect to do so, Lee was kept in ignorance of the movement of our infantry against his detached forces at Five Forks until it was too late to re-enforce or withdraw them.
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The Battle of Five Forks, April 1st, 1865. Upon the arrival of Warren, about seven A.M., he met Sheridan, who was following the enemy, and reported to him by order of General Meade. The corps was collected and, at one P.M., moved to Gravelly run church. Here the escort was advanced as a picket to conceal the presence of infantry. The corps was formed oblique to the road, with the right advanced, two divisions in front and the third in reserve behind the right division. Each division had two brigades in front, each brigade in two lines of battle, and a third brigade in the same formation behind its center. It was four o'clock in the afternoon before Warren completed this formation, and Sheridan was getting impatient. Our cavalry, which consisted of Merritt's, Custer's, Devin's and Crook's divisions, and laid to the left of Warren, attacked the enemy and drove him into his formidable works, extending along White Oak road across Five Forks. General M'Kenzie's one thousand cavalry on Warren's right attacked and drove some of the enemies towards Petersburg. The cavalry under General Merritt attacked the whole front of the enemy's works, and made a feint to turn their right flank, while Warren, advancing to the White Oak road, and swinging around to the left, burst like a thunder-bolt upon their left and rear. The fighting for a time was terribly severe. Ayres' and Crawford's divisions that held the advance, separating Griffin's that formed the support, moved forward to occupy the interval. The left and right of the former having recoiled, General Chamberlain dashed up to Major Glenn and said, "Major, if you will take those works you shall havc a Colonel's commission." Turning to his men, the Major asked, "Boys, will you follow me?" A wild shout was the response, and with their standard floating at their head, they dashed forward after the gallant Major, passing through the storm of buzzing lead. Reaching the breastworks a deadly struggle ensued. Bravely the boys pressed forward their flag, and thrice it was beaten down, but gloriously it rose again amid the battle smoke until, blood-stained and torn, it floated triumphant over the works. General Chamberlain, who in the meantime had taken one of Ayres' brigades and part of Bartlett's with the remainder of his, and pushed in on the left of this gallant and triumphant charge, rode forward to congratulate the leader, and to assure him of the fulfilment of his promise. But, alas! In the moment of triumph, when the Major had seized one of the enemy's colors from the hands of its bearer, he was pierced by a bullet, and fell mortally wounded. General Chamberlain's promise was, however, fulfilled; for he recommended Major Glenn for promotion to the President, and the Brevet was conferred. The division took 1,500 prisoners. Ayres struck farther to the left and took 1,000. Crawford, to the right, gained the Fords road, running northward from their center, down which he turned southward, taking the enemy in their rear, capturing 1,000 prisoners and four guns. The cavalry, which had vigorously assailed their front and right, at length charge over their intrenchments. Griffin and Ayres swept down the rear of their works, doubling up their left flank in confusion, and Mettitt, with his cavalry, dashed into the White Oak road, and, riding into their broken ranks, so demoralized them that they made no serious stand afterwards. Hurled in disorderly flight westward, they were charged and pursued by our cavalry until long after dark, and until our prisoners reached nearly 6,000. Their killed and wounded amounted to about 1,000, and ours little exceeded this number. In the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth, besides Major Glenn being killed, Lieutenant Joseph H. Lutz, of Company D, was wounded. We captured thousands of small arms and numerous flags, and the right wing of Lee's army was substantially smashed up. General Sheridan, who won this great victory, was dissatisfied with Warren's not more promptly marching during the night to join him, and with the delay in getting his corps into position to commence the battle. When the right and left of Ayres' and Crawford's troops recoiled, he attributed it to want of confidence, which he thought Warren did not exert himself to inspire. He, therefore, relieved Warren and directed Griffin to assume command of the Fifth Corps, but the order of relief did not reach Warren until the close of battle. This action seems hardly warranted by Warren's conduct, and his gallantry through the war. That General Grant's confidence was not shaken in Warren is proved by his immediate assignment of him to the command of the Department of Mississippi, then the theatre of active warfare. Soon after the battle Griffin moved eastward with two divisions to reopen communication with the rest of the army, and his own division, now commanded by General Bartlett, supported by M'Kenzie's cavalry, was pushed up the Fords road to Hatcher's run. The One Hundred and Ninety-eighth, now under the command of Captain John Stanton, Company A, and the brigade still under General Chamberlain, who preferred to retain it though offered his old brigade, the Third, bivouacked upon the field and took care of the wounded. Grant's headquarters were now near Dabney's Mill, and Meade's some three miles to the west on the Boydton plank-road, near Mrs. Buller's. Grant announced the glad tidings of Sheridan's victory to the rebels that night, by opening with all the guns in position before Petersburg, making the night lurid with the bombardment, and predicating the fall of treason. At daylight the next morning the whole line assaulted, Parke with the Ninth Corps carrying the outer line of rebel works confronting him. Wright to the left, with the Sixth Corps and two divisions of Ord's, drove everything before him to the Boydton plank-road, when, wheeling towards Hatcher's run, he turned the rebel intrenchments, sweeping down which he captured many guns and several thousand prisoners. Ord, forcing the crossing at the run with Wright, turned northeastward towards Petersburg. Humphreys', farther to the left, with Mott's and Hay's divisions of the Second Corps, storms a redoubt in his front, and closed in on their left. Ord, with Gibbon's division, assaulted and carried Forts Gregg and Baldwin, two important works. About eleven this morning, April 2d, the One Hundred and Ninety-eight got into line, with the rest of the corps and Mile's division of the Second, and Sheridan's cavalry, and marched eastward on the White Oak road, and attacked and carried the enemy's works at the intersection of Claiborne's road. Following them northward across Hatcher's run to Sutherland's depot on the South Side Railroad, he was about to assault when Humphreys came up and reclaimed Miles' division. It was now about 2 P.M. Sheridan at once desisting, marched back of Five Forks, and taking the Fords road to Hatcher's run, moved rapidly towards and to the left of Sutherland's depot to strike the rear and cut off the retreat of the enemy, who confronted Miles. Miles in the meantime had defeated them, capturing two guns and six hundred prisoners. This was the most tiresome day's march the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth had ever experienced, it extending far into the night, and being resumed at light of the following day. Much of it was on the double-quick, and through dense thickets and swamps, with but few short halts. Longstreet, who held the defence of Richmond north of the James, rejoined Lee at Petersburg this forenoon. A.P. Hill, who attempted to regain part of the works taken by Parke, was shot dead. He was one of Lee's best officers. Lee's loss during the last two days was at least 12,000 men, and he saw that Grant could now extend his left to the Appomattox, and could also seize the railroad junction at Berkesville, his only avenue of supplies. Recognizing the imperative necessity of immediately evacuating Petersburg, he, at ten o'clock on that fated Sunday morning, telegraphed to Davis that his lines were broken in three places, and that Richmond was to be evacuated that evening. The dispatch found Mr. Davis at church. He and his family walked quietly out, with the doom of treason written on his face. No one can duly portray the horrors of the last hours of Slave-Holding-Powers rule in Richmond. God's vengeance was upon them. His measure of justice had been filled. The two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil and lashes had been atoned for by the sunken treasures and blood of the master. And we who had been the silent participants in the great wrong had paid too our full measure in woe and treasure. Seizing the trains that should have borne to Lee's heroic army the much-needed supplies, amidst the riot of a drunken, plundering mob and the lurid flames and smoke of an immense conflagration, Davis and his host of satellites fled in confusion and dismay. On our lines for miles the bands pealed forth our national anthems, and soldiers vented their frenzies of delight in loud cheers, until "the musicians fell asleep with their horns to their mouths, and boys waving their caps in the air." Never in this wide world was there such utter despair and wild rejoicings in armies before, for not only were the rebel forces dismayed, but their cherished government vanquished like a bubble in the air. Silently through the night all the rebel forces north of Richmond marched off, and soon after daylight on Monday, the third of April, General Weitzel and staff rode into the Capital amid a constant roar of exploding shells and falling walls, and were welcomed by the shouts of thousands of humble citizens and negroes. Petersburg was evacuated simultaneously with Richmond, but so noiselessly that our pickets did not discover it until morning, when our troops marched in unopposed. No conflagration or wanton destruction of property marked the flight of the rebels from here. Mr. Davis, with the rebel government, had fled to Danville, near the northern confines of central North Carolina, and thither Lee hoped to follow him with his army, and to effect a junction with Johnson, who was at Smithfield, at the head of 40,000 men. With the forces united, if found too weak to protract the struggle, he would be strong enough to command favorable terms. But Griffin lay with the Fifth Corps ten miles west of Petersburg at Sutherland's station, and Sheridan with his cavalry, ten miles further west, at Ford's station, and the residue of Grant's army lay to the southwest of Petersburg, and he was forced to move west, north of the Appomattox. His army now, from its heavy losses, mainly in prisoners and hordes of deserters, was reduced to 35,000 men - brave and true. With these he retreated to Chesterfield Court House, and thence to Amelia Court House. Here he expected to meet supplies which he had ordered from Richmond, but the terror-stricken officials had seized his trains to accelerate their flight, and he was forced to spend the 4th and 5th in trying to gather from the neighborhood the means of feeding his men. Relentless Sheridan, with his troopers, in the meantime had moved rapidly westward by roads south of Amelia Court House, and had struck the Danville railroad at Jetersville, eight miles west of Lee, while his advance had swept down the road nearly to Berkesville, scattering such portions of the rebel cavalry as they met fleeing westward. Grant and Meade had pushed on with the infantry after Sheridan. The One Hundred and Ninety-eighth moved with the Fifth Corps at daylight on the third, and all day long they toiled through the mud, coming in at Deep Creek too late to participate with the rest of the corps in driving the enemy's infantry from their position. The next day, the 4th, at daylight, they moved again and joined Sheridan at Jetersville, where he had planted himself across the railroad, and where they threw up intrenchments and prepared to fight Lee's entire army until Grant and Meade arrived in his rear and crushed him. This destroyed all Lee's hope of receiving the supplies that were collected at Danville and Lynchburg to send to him. Meade, with Hunphreys' and Wright's corps, arrived late on the afternoon of the 5th, and at dark that night Lee left Amelia Court House, and moved around the left of Meade and Sheridan and struck Farmville to escape, if possible. But General Davis struck his train at Paine's cross-roads moving in retreat in advance of the infantry, and destroyed two hundred wagons, captured five guns, nine hundred mules and many prisoners. Gregg's and Smith's brigades came up and a spirited fight ensued, and Davis, with his captures, safely withdrew. By the 6th, nearly the whole of our army was concentrated at Jetersville, and started in hot pursuit of Lee. General Crook, holding Sheridan's left, (our army on this march faced eastward, moving left in front,) came upon Lee moving westward, and, by order, immediately attacked, though much inferior in force, his object being to detain him. Custer thus gained the crossing at Sailor's creek. Ewell's corps was thus cut off, and was attacked by Seymour's division of the Sixth Corps, and so hard-pressed by the fire in the rear and charges in front that Ewell and four other generals and nearly 6,000 prisoners surrendered. Sixteen guns were captured, and over four hundred wagons destroyed. The same day, General Ord struck the vanguard of Lee's column as it was preparing to cross the Appomattox, near Farmville. Fighting against overwhelming numbers to arrest the flight for a time, he was pushed to one side, and Lee marched on. By daylight, on the 7th, the rear of his army had crossed, and the bridges were set on fire, but Hunphreys' van of the Second Corps arrived in time to save one of them, and capture eighteen abandoned guns on the opposite side of the river.
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Chapter IX (Thanks to Larry
Lee's army now was in a sad condition. Moving by forced marches that sometimes extended far into the night, with his men fainting and falling by the way, and his animals dying of hunger, his cavalry useless and his guns stalded in the mud, with utter despair and hopeless desperation his brave men struggled on. Pursued by an active and exulting foe, headed off, attacked in rear and flank, there was no rest for them day or night. Wherever met they were assaulted with relentless fury, but the moment a token of surrender was seen, they were treated as friends, our men invariably dividing the contents of their haversacks with the prisoners. On the 6th, the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth, with the Fifth Corps, moved northward to near the mouth of Horsepen, a tributary of Flat creek, when, turning westward, they passed through Paineville, Rodolphil and Ligontown, whence, turning south, they rejoined the Second Corps, near Jamestown, marching thirty-two miles. It was a warm day, and the sun shone brightly, but they clambered up steep heights and down deep ravines, over marshes, and through almost impassable briar-swamps, full of hope and enthusiasm. Sometimes they would plunge into the water and ford deep streams, and at others they would double-quick along the roads, enveloped in clouds of dust. But onward they pressed, guided by the thunder of Sheridan's relentless guns. "Your legs must do it, boys," was the constant cry of the officers, and their legs certainly performed their duty. Skirmishers were always kept on the front and flanks. On the first day of the pursuit an occasional dead man or an empty haversack only marked the track of the enemy's flight. But anon these multiplied, intermixed with broken-down wagons, abandoned guns, used-up horses, and the general debris of a fleeing enemy. Nor was the flight confined to the army. The inhabitants, generally, had been led to believe our war was waged against the unarmed and helpless as well as the hosts of Davis and Lee. Men, women and children, with their goods and chattels packed in queer country carts and strange-looking vehicles, were met fleeing in every direction, as if the scourge of God was upon them. Wild with fright, some begged for mercy, and some dark-complexioned white men even claimed to be colored. Amidst so much distress it was a relief to see the cheerful, hopeful, trusting faces of the slaves, who felt that the day of deliverance from bondage, for which they had for generations in secret prayed, had come at last. During the night of the 6th, the chief officers of Lee's army held an open air consultation, in which they unanimously agreed that a capitulation was inevitable. The judgment of this informal council was conveyed to Lee by General Pendleton. But Grant spared General Lee the pain of first proposing a surrender by dispatching a letter to him from Farmville the next day, stating the hopelessness of his further resistance, and asking the surrender of his army that there might be no further useless effusion of blood. The letter reached Lee towards night. General Humphreys also came up with Lee's army, entrenched in a strong position about five miles north of Farmville, on the Lynchburg plank-road. Humphreys recognized the importance of pressing him hard until forced into surrender, but believing that would soon be accomplished, he was charry of the lives of his soldiers. He therefore did not order a direct assault, but, sending up General Barlow to annoy his front, ordered Miles to attack his left wing, which he did with a loss of some five hundred killed and wounded. General Smyth was among our killed, and Major-General Mott, Brigadier-Generals Madill and M'Dougall, were severely wounded. Darkness prevented another assault that day, and Lee silently withdrew and resumed his retreat. That night he sent a response to Grant, stating he did not see the hopelessness of further resistance, but asking what terms he would offer on condition of surrender. To this, Grant immediately replied that the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. The next morning, the 8th, the last day of the pursuit, the whole army moved at daybreak. Meade, with Humphreys' and Wright's corps, pushed northward on the trail of Lee, while Sheridan, followed by Griffin's and Ord's corps, marched to head him off from Lynchburg. The cavalry concentrated at Prospect station, ten miles west of Farmville. Here Sheridan learned from scouts that four trains had arrived at Appomattox station with supplies from Lynchburg for Lee's army. He immediately dispatched Generals Merritt's and Crook's divisions of cavalry to that point, which they reached after a rapid march of twenty-eight miles, and succeeded in surrounding and capturing them. Generals Custer's and Devin's brigades at once advanced towards Appomattox Cout House, five miles to the north, and encountered, on the way, the van of Lee's army, which they engaged till after dark, driving it back on the main body, capturing twenty-four guns, a large number of wagons, and many prisoners. Sheridan arrived with the rest of his cavalry during the night. The Fifth Corps, under Griffin and Ord, with the Twenty-fourth and a division of the Twenty-fifth, pressed on all day and night, and joined Sheridan in time to lie down in line of battle and take a few moments' sleep with their cartridge boxes on and muskets in their hands. Incredible as it may seem, such was the high state of excitement under which the men were, coupled with the firm belief if they could capture or destroy Lee's army the war would virtually be closed, that these corps, after an extraordinary hard march, came in in high spirits, with hardly a straggler in the rear. Lee, evidently supposing his road was blocked by cavalry alone, whom he could push aside with his infantry, and not fully realizing his true position, that night addressed a note to Grant, declining to meet him with a view to surrender his army, but expressed a willingness, as far as his proposal might effect his army and tend to the restoration of peace, to meet him the next morning, at ten o'clock. Grant, early the next morning, replied he had no authority to treat on the subject of peace, and declined to meet him, as it could lead to no good. He also stated the terms upon which peace could be had were well understood, and expressed a hope that no more lives would be lost. Grant and Meade started early the next morning to join Sheridan and Griffin. The Fifth, on this memorable Sunday morning, the 9th of April, after snatching an hour's sleep, were up and off at the first dawn, and marching about two miles towards the court house, halted to take breakfast. But a few moments were spared for this, when, moving on, they came up with Sheridan's dismounted troopers, who were slowly falling back before the enemy's skirmishers, behind which came the heavy infantry columns, bent upon forcing their way through the cavalry to reach their supplies. It was the last charge of the brave Army of Northern Virginia. When our infantry was formed, the troopers double-quicked to the right, and revealed to the astonished enemy our solid lines in battle array, before whose wall of gleaming bayonets they recoiled in blank despair. Our cavalry remounted, and, moving around to the right, prepare to charge. The enemy sullenly retire upon their batteries upon the crest, and all fell back beyond. General Ord ordered our troops to halt, but they preferred to obey Sheridan's orders and push on to the crest, when a sight burst upon their vision that repaid all their long years of toil and blood - Lee's army prostrated. Immediately in their front lay a broad, undulating valley, stretching far away to the west, with the narrow Appomattox meandering through its centre, and enclosed on every side by a belt of heavy timber. Near the centre lay the Court House, in front of which stretched the enemy's long line of skirmishers, and beyond, their main army and a confused multitude of soldiers and citizens, horses and mules, carts and wagons, heading in every direction. Our light batteries were brought up, the cavalry closed in upon the right, and our line advanced down the steep. Their skirmishers fell back fighting, the batteries open, the Court House is gained, and fighting commences in its streets. Soon a flag of truce approaches from the right, and General Longstreet requested a cessation of the conflict until Lee could be heard from. Sheridan rode to the Court House, and met General Gordon, who assured him that negotiations were then pending between Generals Grant and Lee for a surrender. Grant, before reaching Sheridan, received a note from General Lee, asking an interview with a view of surrendering. The two commanders met immediately, at the mansion of Mr. W. M'Lean, near the Court House. The interview was brief; the business frankly discussed, and soon settled. While the chiefs were in consultation, six or seven generals, from both sides, met between the skirmish-lines, and talked the matter over in the most friendly manner. While there, firing on the road was heard. General Gordon was much vexed, and stated he had ordered a cessation of the fight; but Sheridan, who was not clearly satisfied with the whole arrangement, exclaimed, "Let them fight; I know what they are about." A single field-piece fires a last shot, and a gallant lieutenant of the First Brigade falls the last victim of the Army of the Potomac. Private Hiram Williams, of the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth, at the same time receives a ghastly wound. Soon Grant and Lee rode up; Grant, with his inevitable sugar-loaf hat, open coat, and muddy boots. Lee looked venerable and impressive, dressed in a new suit of grey, with a new sword by his side. One of our bands, near by, through the generous impulse of the moment, struck up the appropriate air of "Auld Lang Syne." Three officers were appointed on either side to arrange the details, but the day's work was done by the chiefs, and its result summed up in these concluding letters: "Appomattox Court House, Va., April 9th, 1865. "General - In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant, I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate; one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be packed and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside. "U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General. "General R. E. Lee." "Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, April 9th, 1865. "General - I received your letter of this date, containing the terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect. "R. E. Lee, General. "Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant." When the news of the surrender became known to the army, the enthusiasm of our men burst all bounds, and arose to the zenith of perfect frenzy. The boys screeched, yelled, danced, tossed their caps in the air and rolled upon the ground. Even the bands that attempted to play our national anthems broke into discordant medleys, and cut short their jumble in wild shouts and frantic waving of their instruments. Oh, what happy hearts those blue coats held - a country saved, one and undivided! The seed sown in sorrow and anguish upon so many fields had yielded its golden harvest - victory. Our comrades who had fallen had not died in vain. Glory to God and the brave hearts! The uproar of exultation was kept up long into the night, when, exhausted with overjoy, our boys sank to sleep. This wild uproar was not confined to our side; for long after our boys had laid down to sleep, the ex-rebels kept it up. Some said they were cheering General Lee, but the truth was, they welcomed peace as much as we did, and it was long after midnight before their noise was hushed. During the day they came over among our men, who divided the contents of their haversacks with them. The rations for our army was given to them this day, and many of our men went supperless to sleep. The Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia slept peacefully side by side in the same valley. The mighty hosts, that for four long years had wrestled in a death-struggle with all the fiery passions of demons, now laid down together without anger or fear. The battalions that had reddened the fields of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and drenched the soil of Virginia with their generous blood, had now ceased to bleed. The brave men in blue and grey that had struggled for different nationalities, were now one of a common country. And this on that Palm Sunday night of April, 1865. The next morning the two armies were up bright and early, and while the officers were preparing the paroles, the greys thronged our camp, busy at trafficking for tobacco, pipes, knives, hats, shoes, etc. All really appeared to be the best friends in the world, and talked over their different battles with great interest. The next day, the 11th, the formal surrender took place. The terms were mild, and the forms as little humiliating as possible. Their officers tried hard to get off with stacking their arms in their own camp, and leaving our men to go after them. But that was not consistent with our dignity; so it was arranged that their troops should march out and lay down their arms and colors in the presence of some portion of our army. The lot fell to the Fifth Corps and M'Kenzie's cavalry, who were drawn up in line of battle, General Chamberlain being designated to preside at the surrender. Soon the greys were seen slowly forming for the last time. On they came, with careless step, their ranks thick with banners. As they approached, our lines shouldered arms, and a perfect silence was preserved on our side. They moved slowly along our front, faced inwards towards us, dressed lines, fixed bayonets, stacked arms, took off their cartridge boxes and hung them on the bayonets, and then sadly, painfully furled their flags and laid them down, some kneeling and kissing them with tears in their eyes. It was a proud, but sad scene, and our men felt a soldier's sympathy for their brave antagonists. All day long regiment after regiment stacked their arms, and then marched off to the Provost Marshal to give their parole of honor, and then to draw rations and leave for their homes, our government, to such as it could, furnishing transportation. The bearing of the generals and higher officers was that of a dignified, sad disappointment, that became brave soldiers who felt they had performed their duty. They spoke freely of the humiliation they felt, of the generosity of the terms granted them, and of the magnanimity of the bearing and manner of our men. General Henry A. Wise, however, was an exception. He, poor old man, had grown no wiser with age, and could not reconcile himself to the situation. Disappointed and embittered at the failure of his political life, as he sat on his horse, with his grey hair and beard, and tobacco juice trinkling from his mouth, he resembled a withered old crab-apple tree. To General Chamberlain, who spoke kindly to him of the good-will that would soon be restored between the two sections, he replied, "You are mistaken, sir; we won't be forgiven; we hate you, and that is the whole of it. You go home, and take those fellows home and that will end the war." The parting of General Lee with his devoted followers was a sad one. As he sat upon his horse, and they crowded around him, with tears in his eyes he grasped and pressed their outstretched hands, until at last he was able to say, "My men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best that I could for you." Then, uncovering his head, he rode slowly away. There was few dry eyes among those who stood around. About noon, on Saturday the 15th, the paroling of the prisoners being through with, and possession taken of the arms, flags, etc., the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth turned faces homeward, and marching through a light rain and deep mud eight miles, encamped for the night. The next morning they started early, and soon struck the Petersburg and Lynchburg railroad, along which they proceeded to Farmville, where they arrived about one o'clock in the afternoon, and encamped in a beautiful grove about a half-mile west of the town. Here they received intelligence of the assassination of the President, that filled their loyal hearts with sorrow. That inflexible, steadfast chief in war, whose heart had turned in love and kindness upon the prostrated South, perhaps was well fitted as the Nation's last sacrifice of the war. On the 17th they marched on, and when near Berksville, wheeled to the right and moved to near Green Bay, where they encamped in a strip of woods. On the 19th, as they were about moving, orders came for them to remain in camp, it being the day of the interment of Mr. Lincoln. All work was suspended, and at the time fixed for the movement of the funeral cortege, the regiments were drawn up in their camps, the brigade bands performed solemn dirges, and minute guns were fired. At seven, the next morning, they moved off, passing through Berksville and halting in the middle of the afternoon near Nottoway Court House to encamp. On the 22d, after short marches, they reached Wilson's station, where they remained guarding the railroad until the 2d of May, when, breaking camp, they marched to within five miles of Petersburg. The next day they passed through that city, and about two o'clock faced for Richmond, reaching the environs of Manchester, on the south banks of the James, on the 4th. Here they encamped in a large grove of timber near the railroad, and remained until the 6th, when, moving through the city, they crossed the James on pontoons, and entered the once proud and defiant Capital of the late Confederate States Government. As the long column passed through the principal street of the city, it was reviewed by Generals Grant and Meade. The men looked with interest on Castle Thunder and Libby Prison, the horrors of which, in connection with Andersonville and other prison pens, will for generations connect the names of the civil chiefs of the Confederacy with infamy. Leaving Richmond, they moved northward, marching through Fredricksburg on the 9th of May, and reaching Arlington Heights on the afternoon of the 12th. This march, from the James to the Potomac, a distance of about one hundred and fifty miles, was made with great rapidity, and averaged, for seven consecutive days, twenty-one miles. At Arlington, the residence of General Lee prior to the war, was collected nearly the whole Army of the Potomac. Here that grand army may have said to have crumbled to pieces, for, after the Grand Review in Washington, the regiments were mustered out, one after another, and sent to their homes in the north. On the 3rd of June, the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth was mustered out of service, and on the morning of the 5th they broke camp, and marching through Washington, embarked upon the cars for home, reaching Philadelphia at nine o'clock the next morning. Disembarking, they formed and marched to the Union Refreshment Saloon, where a sumptuous dinner was prepared for them by the good citizens of Philadelphia, after partaking of which, they marched through the city to Camp Cadwallader. Everywhere in the city they were received with demonstrations of joy by the citizens, their friends and relatives, flags being displayed on many points of the route, and hearty cheers of welcome given.
On the 12th of June, 1865, the One Hundred and Ninety-eighth was
paid off, and the men discharged. For the brief period of time they served
there were few regiments that saw more hard service and severe fighting
than it did, and their flag was unsullied by their breaking in the
presence of the enemy.
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