Report of Lieutenant Colonel Denis F. Burke, Eighty-Eighth New York Infantry.
Hdqrs. Eighty-Eighth New York State Vet. Vols.,
October 14, 1864.
Lieutenant: In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 209, headquarters Army of the Potomac, of August 5, 1864, I have the honor to forward the following report of the part taken by this command from the crossing of the Rapidan to the assault on the enemy’s position in front of Petersburg.
This regiment broke camp on the 3rd of May, 1864, and crossed the Rapidan at Ely’s Ford, and marched to the Old Chancellorsville battle-ground on the 4th; encamped for the night. On the following morning, 5th, moved at 5 a.m., and marched all day until 4 p.m., when we engaged the enemy at Wilderness. The regiment advanced in line of battle in conformity with the other regiments of the brigade, and drove the enemy’s line back. We held the portion gained for over two hours, when we were relieved by a portion of the Third Brigade, First Division, Second Corps. We retired and took a position at the works on the plank road.
On the 6th of May, about the hour of 11 a.m., the enemy came in heavy force and charged on our position, but they were repulsed with heavy loss. On the 7th we were thrown out as skirmishers. On the 8th we marched to Todd’s Tavern. We were ordered out to support a first line of skirmishers and held the enemy in check until ordered by General Barlow to resume our former position. On the 9th we moved to the left of Third Division, Second Corps, and were employed in throwing up breast-works; 1 a.m., we moved to and crossed the Po River, where we rested for the night. On the 10th the regiment was moved to different position on the field and subsequently ordered by General Hancock to take a position on the right flank of the corps, supporting a light battery; holding this position for some time we were ordered to fall back and again ordered by General Hancock to hold the bridge and cover the retreat of the corps while recrossing the Po River; relieved by General Ward’s brigade, of Third Division, Second Corps, we immediately formed line with the other regiments of the brigade, and were at once employed in throwing up breast-works and picket duty until the night of the 11th. We moved to the left, and after a severe night march, formed in front of the enemy at Spotsylvania Court-House, this regiment being in the second line and in double column in mass. On the morning of the 12th, the regiment moved forward with the rest of the division and charged the enemy’s strongly intrenched works, being one of the first regiments to cross the enemy’s lines, and assisted in the capturing of their batteries. We were then moved to the right of line and remained in support of a battery all night and following day. On the 14th moved to the right to support a battery, where we remained two days. On the 17th moved to left flank in support of a battery. 18th, moved farther to the left flank where we engaged the enemy and drove them, and held our position until ordered to the right, where we were held in reserve all night and the following day. On the 20th moved to Guiney’s Station, on the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad, arriving there at daylight next morning.
On the 21st marched to Bowling Green and Milford Station and halted. 2nd of May, threw up breast-works, and remained in support of batteries. 23d, moved toward the North Anna River; halted for the night on the left side of the river. 24th, crossed the river at the railroad bridge and took up position in the enemy’s first line of works near the river. On the 25th assisted in destroying the railroad track and bridge, tearing up the track and cutting up the embankment for miles. 26th, recrossed the river at sunset and rested on the left bank of the river. 27th, moved at 11 a.m. on the road toward Hanover Court-House, marching some 20 miles, and rested for the night.
May 28, marched toward the Pamunkey River, which we crossed near Hanovertown; threw up breast-works on the right side of the river and rested for the night. 29th, moved toward the Chickahominy; threw up breast-works and rested for the night. 30th, moved on the Richmond road about 2 miles; halted and threw up works. 31st, sent on the left to support a battery.
June 1, moved from the right to the left flank of the army toward the Chickahominy. 2nd, continued the march to Cold Harbor; got into position, and threw up works, having met the enemy. 3rd, advanced and charged the enemy’s works, gaining ground about 1 ½ miles; remained until ordered to the right to support batteries, where we remained until the 12th, when we again moved, at 9 p.m., from Cold Harbor in the direction of the Chickahominy. 13th, continued the march across the Chickahominy to the bank of the James River and halted for the night; threw up works. 14th, moved across the James at Wind Mill Point, and halted on the right side of the river for the night. 15th, moved to Petersburg, marching all day and night.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Denis F. Burke,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Lieutenant George Mitchell,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General , Consolidated Brigade.