also Fort Welch, whicli was about the centre of my brigade. . .
The brigade was formed for the assault to the front and left
of Fort Welch, about '.', A. M.. in three lines of battle, with the
From "Hardtack and Coffee," by permission.
224 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
right resting on an almost impassable swamp and ravine, which
separated it from the left of the 2d Division, 6th Army Corps.
The 1st Brigade, 3d Division, was formed on the left of my
brigade. The brigade was formed just in rear of the old in-
trenched picket-line of the enemy, which had been taken from
him on the 2oth ult.
Much dilBculty was experienced in getting the troops formed,
in consequence of the darkness and the deep swamp to be
passed through, and also a severe and annoying fire of the
enemy. A number of men were killed and a number of officers
and men were wounded during the formation of the troops;
notwithstanding which the troops preserved good order and
remained cool and steady.
The 110th and 12Gth Ohio and 6th Maryland Regiments were
formed in the front line from right to left in the order named.
The 9th Xew York Heavy Artillery constituted the second
line and the 122d Ohio, the 138th and 6Tth Pennsylvania Regi-
ments were formed in the rear line from right to left in the
The signal to assault the enemy's works was given by direc-
tion of JIajor General Wright at precisely 4 (General Wright
says 4.40) A. M. by discharging a piece of artillery at Fort
Fisher.* Immediately after the signal was given, the troops in
the front line moved forward upon the enemy's outer works,
which were held by a strong line of pickets, and captured them;
and without halting or discharging a piece, although receiving
a heavy fire, the whole command moved upon the main works.
Not even a temporary check transpired in passing through and
over the double line of abatis, ditch and strong breastworks.
A hand-to-hand fight ensued within the main works, in which
many gallant officers and men were killed and M'ounded. The
rebels in our front were soon killed, wounded, captured or dis-
persed. Although the enemy had a large amount of artillery
in the works in our front, we suffered but little from it. The
whole of his artillery in our front fell into our hands imme-
diately upon our entering the works.
This brigade assaulted the enemy just to the left (the enemy's
right) of a salient angle in his line of works. After gaining an
entrance within the line of works, the enemy was still firing
over them to our right and upon the 1st and 2d Divisions of the
6th Arm^- Corps, but in a few moments were driven from their
entire line of works in front of our corps. This brigade cap-
tured ten pieces of artillery immediately after entering the
enemy's works, for which it received receipts; also a large
â€¢As this fort was garrisoned by the Ninth, to our regiment belongs
the credit of sounding the knell of the Confederacy. The movement
beginning at this 4 A. M. ended only at Appomattox.
BREAKING THE LINES, AND SAILOR'S CREEK. 225
number of prisoners, tbree battle-flags, and Major General
Heath's division headquarters dag.
The troops of the brigade were in some confusion after enter-
ing the works, but the main body was at once directed along
the enemy's fortilications to the left, and upon a strong fort con-
taining four pieces of artillery, which were soon captured.
Although a number of troops of the division were hurried to
this fort, yet when attacked by the enemy, they were, owing
to their unorganized condition, driven back, and the fort was
retaken and held by the rebels a very short time.
At this juncture, I directed Major William Wood and Brevet
Major S. K. Lamoreaux, 9th New York Heavy Artillery, to
place in position a four-gun battery captured from the enemy,
which they were prompt in doing, and tired it with good
effect. . . .
As soon as the recaptured fort was again retaken by us, the
main body of the troops of the brigade, with the other troops
of the division, swept along the enemy's fortifications to the
left as far as Hatcher's Run, and small parties of the brigade
with the brigade sharpshooters crossed it and captured a large
number of prisoners. Twelve pieces of artillery were captured
during this movement to the left of the troops of the 3d Divi-
sion. . . .
From Hatcher's Run the troops were hastened back to the
place where the attack was first made, whence the division was
sent to the front, and formed fronting Petersburg, and upon
the left and in support of the 9th Army Corps.
The general calls particular attention to the brilliant services
of Colonel J. W. Snyder, Majors William and Anson Wood and
Brevet Major S. B. Lamoreaux. "So near were the colors of
the 110th Ohio, 9th New York Heavy Artillery, 67th Pennsyl-
vania and 6tb Maryland that each claims the honor of being
first. . . . Sergeant Judah N. Taylor, Company A, 9th New
York Heavy Artillery, is reported by his regimental com-
mander as having captured a battle-flag, which he gave up to
two officers whose names are not known to him.''
The report of Colonel J. W. Snyder is to the following effect:
We moved out of camp at 12 o'clock midnight to the rear
of the picket-line of the .3d Division and halted, the regiment
forming the second line. At 4 o'clock the order to advance was
given, and we moved forward under a galling fire of artillery.
As we moved towards the enemy's works we left-obliqued, and
entered the fort in front of the left of the .3d Division line, be-
ing the first to enter the work, capturing four guns, which were
immediately brought to bear upon the retreating foe with great
effect. The guns were manned by men and oflScers of the regi-
226 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
ment, and they handled them with great skill. We wheeled to
the left and swept down the right of the rebel line, charging
across a deep swamp, then wading to our breasts, and carried an-
other fort, capturing two guns. The rebels rallied and charged
upon us and drove us across the swamp again, where we held
them for some time. The artillery under charge of Major Wil-
liam Wood of the regiment dismounted one of the pieces at
the first fli'e, which left them but one gun, which was soon
silenced, when we charged again across the swamp and cap-
tured a great many prisoners. We moved on down the enemy's
line for a couple of miles, when we were halted and formed; then
moved down the left of the enemy's line towards Petersburg,
before which we reached about 3 P. M.
To mention individual instances of bravery in the battle by
any single individual would be but doing injustice to others.
Both officers and men did their whole duty without a single
exception; but I must speak of tlie field-officers in my command
in the highest terms. Major AVilliam Wood jjerformed his duty
nobly in urging the men forward to the assault, and after car-
rying the works, in turning the enemy's guns upon them with
telling effect; Major A. >S. Wood was active in urging the men
forward; also Brevet Major S. B. Lamoreaux performed his
duty well. The line-officers all behaved themselves nobly; so
did the whole command. Lieutenants Guy A. Brown and
(L. H.) Bigelow were wounded while charging U])on the enemy's
works at the head of the command. They should receive hi>u(U'-
able mention for their gallantry.
Altogether this was a pretty good Sunday's work, not much
like that to which most of the boys had been reared, but a prac-
tical destruction of the power of evil, against which all Christian
efforts are supposed to be directed. In General Wright's report
he states that without the action of March :25th, viz., the cap-
ture of the intrenched rebel picket-line, the success of this day
had been impossible, for here there was opportunity to as-
semble in mass and thence to advance. Also he lays stress
upon this being the very weakest portion of the enemy's line,
a fact detected by long and close inspection. That there is
science in war becomes evident when we see the manner in
which experts set themselves about carrying into effect their
theories. Axmen to cut away the abatis accompanied each
advancing line, but so great was the darkness that, he states,
the signal for advancing was not given till 4.40 o'clock. It was
while the 3d Division was making its left swing and ])enetrat-
ing some parts of it to the Southside railroad that Confederate
General .\. P. Hill was killed by Corporal John W. Mauk of
BREAKING THE LINES, AND SAILOR S CREEK.
the 1.38th Pennsylvania. Recalled, and again aligned, the 3d
Division was immediately south of the city of Petersburg, with
the left of the division resting on the Appomattox river. Gen-
eral Wright says that so wearied were the members of his corps,
having been under arms eighteen hours, it was deemed inad-
visable to attack till the following morning, so they betook
themselves to merited rest.
One officer, writing home, says of the fight: "Our men seemed
to care for nothing; went right in; charged through ditches and
over breastworks; never saw such lighting; they were like a
lot of wild men."
From "HardtQcTt and Coffee," by permission.
FORT STEDMAN. SHOWING GABION. ABATIS AND CHEVAUX DE FRISE.
Any man ever in an engagement knows that a deal of urging
is necessary at times. Men need driving occasionally to keep
them up to the requisite pitch, and the following, written in his
journal the very day of the charge, seems a reasonable account
of one man's observation, himself one of the most honored sur-
vivors of the regiment. Like a sensible man, having loved ones
at home, he writes, on the 1st: ''Before the light of another day,
we .shall charge the rebel works; all are talking about it; all
dread it." Are we reminded of Bayard Taylor's words in his
"We storm the forts to-morrow,"
and as the singer there proved himself a true Briton, so these
228 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
dreading Northmen did tbeir duty in the face of danger and
"After being up all night in expectation and making prepa-
rations, at 4 A. M. we advance upon the enemy's works. We
have not gone far upon the charge before we are broken up.
We lose our line and all formation. At our own picket-line
the men hesitate, and it takes much urging and some coaxing
and some beating with the sabre to get them along. Have to
go and train many. Crossing the plain, the shells from the
enemy's forts screech over our heads, streaks of seething fire.
As we get nearer, like a tempest grape and canister plunge,
patter and bound around us in all directions. Behind every
stump lie one, two or three men very affectionately hugging
mother earth as if by close application they were deriving the
milk of life. 'Come on, boys, we will carry their works,' has
little effect. 'Get up, you cowardly devils;' 'Get out of this;'
'Go on;' with a vigorous application of the flat of the sabre,
have power. I started an ofiBcer from behind a stump, urged
by the flat of my sword; he was very indignant, and asked me
if I knew whom I was talking to. Like a lot of sheep, over a
stone wall, we go into the enemy's works. I made myself very
hoarse by giving commands, cheering and urging on. I prac-
ticed some cheating, which had better effect than anything else
I could do. When they hesitated and were reluctant to go on,
I cried out, 'Come on, boys; they've only one gun in the fort,
and nothing but a skirmish line in the works.' The next bat-
tery was playing upon us, 'Come on, boys, let's take another.'
It is hard work to get the men out of the shanties in the first
works, but some go forward and soon the next battery is taken.
On we go, and our men enter the next battery and camp, but
forgetting all order, organization and discipline and beginning
to think of plunder, the enemy in small force turns upon us
and drives us back, capturing some. When at the second fort,
by the direction of General Keifer, we get into position the six
guns we had there taken, and by this time there was need of
them to operate against the enemy, who had driven our men
out of the third fort and were working the guns against us.
We turned their guns against them, used their own ammunition
and made it tell well. We fired rapidly, probably half an hour.
As a result, one of their guns was found to be capsized and the
carriage broken. By the other gun lay its gunner with half
BREAKING THE LINES. AND SAILOR's CREEK.
230 MNTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
of his head blown off, and near bj, another with his thigh
smashed, also a rebel officer who had bitten the dust. The
enemy was driven again. Then having no horses we had to
leave our captured guns and again press on as infantry, and
on we went. After taking six forts, twelve guns and many
prisoners we halted. The prisoners we greeted with 'Good
morning, a fine Sunday morning,' etc. We then turned back
and directed our course along the line of works lately occupied
by the enemy and towards Petersburg. . . . At night we
shovel a little dirt for protection, in case the enemy should come
down upon us. We lay down to rest, feeling that we have
worshiped God with a vengeance." The long drill in the forts,
on light guns as well as heavy, on this day bore excellent fruit.
The men fell into their places like clockwork, and worked the
captured guns as though they had been trained on them.
The morning of the 3d reveals the rebel forts evacuated, and
there is nothing to hinder onr advance, which we make at day-
break. Our folks under General O. B. Wilcox were in the city
of Petersburg early, and General Godfrey Weitzel entered
Richmond at 8 A. M. Our march in the enemy's wake was a
long and weary one. Millions of dollars' worth of impedimenta
was thrown away by the retreating foe. They stopped not on
the order of their going, nor did they hesitate to throw away
anything that could impede. The pursuit was kept up through
the 4th with the utmost speed.
Our start the .oth, as usual, is early, before daybreak even,
and at sunrise we halt for coffee. A paper is read before us
asking us to endure a little hardship, and stating that we must
march twenty miles to rations. We halt at 11 A. JI. and draw
rations, but before we can utilize them the bugle calls "Away,"'
and we are off, leaving abundance of food for crows and buz-
zards. We march one and a half hours, and then halt fifteen
minutes. Again a paper is read stating that Sheridan has
cai)tured six guns and that the enemy is only six miles ahead.
We cheer, the bugle sounds, and again we advance at a great
rate. A cavalryman whom we meet tells us that it is twelve
miles to camp. Another day's break-neck march on the 6th,
and we sample all points of the compass, ending at 11.50 A. M.
very near our late t auijiing-place. Another march of a few
hours takes us into the battle-line and the fight at Sailor's creek.
Though we knew it not, there was metliod in all this march-
Maj. Gesl Piin.ir II. Sheridan.
Maj. Ge.n'i, U. S. Grant. M.w. Gen'l Geo. G. Meaue.
BREAKING THE LINES, AND SAILOR's CREEK. 231
ing and cbangiug. As ever, we were only pawns on a vast
chess-board, wholly ignorant of the intentions of the mighty
hand that moved us. We could have done no better had each
day's intentions been revealed to us. The ancient orders to do
our duty and to (juestion not, applied. The men who fell in this
day's doings died ignorant of the great consequences following
their obedience, and thus it was on every battlefield. Occa-
sionally, as at Winchester, we knew our ground and what the
stake, but such cases were rare. Not a dozen men in the regi-
ment, officers included, knew where we were and hardly which
way we were headed, except as they now and then glanced at
their shadows. We did know full well that we had the enemy
on the run, and what were fatigue and danger in the exhilara-
tion of that pursuit?
It is fair to premise that General Lee was straining every
nerve to reach Danville, and Grant was equally strenuous in
his efforts to prevent. From Petersburg Lee's trend had been
southwest, with the hope of eventually making a junction with
Johnston, which being done, though the issue would have been
the same, the day had been long postponed. Grant was a bet-
ter tactician than Lee, and his generals could interpret and
execute his wishes. Sheridan was one of the gods of war, to
whom come, by intuition, the purposes of the enemy, and he
moved army corps as easily as a housewife arranges the furni-
ture of her home. These army corps were commanded by kings
of men, each one a master in his vocation, and so on, down to
the marching entities who carried guns, each man was a think-
ing, reasoning being having perfect confidence in his leaders
up to and including the highest, in the righteousness of his
cause, and, what counted most of all, in himself. Every com-
mander believed in his men and every man would stake his life
on the ability of his officer, hence the grandest, mightiest ag-
gregation of lighting material the world ever saw.
Then, as to this day, both of the wings of the rebel army, on
the previous night by circuitous roads, had marched away from
Amelia (Jourt House, around the Union left, and there was
danger of their accomplishing the march to Danville. This
must be headed off. and Sheridan is the man to do it. His fa-
mous Cth Corps with his cavalry is his weapon. In his Memoirs,
General Grant says: "When the movement towards Amelia
Court House had commenced that morning, I ordered Wright's
232 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
corps, which was on the extreme right, to be moved to the left
past the whole army, to take the place of GriiBn's. and ordered
the latter, at the same time, to move by and to place itself on
the right. The object of this movement was to get the 6th
Corps. Wright's, next to the cavalry, with which they had pre-
viously served so harmoniously and so etliciently in the valley
The battle itself is. perhaps, best told in a paper read by our
brigade commander. General Keifer, before the Ohio Com-
mandery of the Loyal Legion, and from which in substance
the following account is taken. He begins by stating, what
few can deny, that not five per cent, of the intelligent people
of the United States, North and South, who were of mature
years at the close of the Rebellion, and a far less proportion of
those of a later day, ever heard of the Battle of Sailor's Creek
at all. Most of the well-informed officers and soldiers of that
war. of both armies, knew little or nothing of it. This igno-
rance is readily accounted for on account of the magnitude of
the events which were rapidly occurring in those days leading
up to the surrender. Very likely, no other two weeks in Ameri-
can history carry so great a burden of imperishable material
as those extending from the forcing of the Petersburg lines to
the president's assassination; hence this tight of short con-
tinuance, involving the loss of many lives on both sides, the cap-
turing of thousands of the enemy, including more general offi-
cers than had been taken at one time before, is almost hidden
in the stronger glare of Five Forks, the surrender at Appo-
mattox, and the Lincoln tragedy. It was the hottest kind of
an engagement while it lasted, and the enemy resisted uj) to
the limit of human endurance, fully exhibiting the proverbial
Anglo-Saxon prowess. The stories of other fields less bloody,
less important, are told over and over while this is all but for-
gotten. Sailor's creek, on which the battle was fought, is a
small stream in Prince Edward's county, and, flowing north-
ward, empties into the Appomattox. The battle was fought
five miles from Rice's Station on the Lynchburg railroad. On
the morning of the 6th, our forces at Jetersville were started
towards Amelia Court House, but were speedily counter-
marched when the movement of Lee was realized. Our next
aim was to intercept the retreating army. Every road and
cross-lot routes were seized in the efifort to head off the foe.
BREAKING THE LINES, AND SAILOR S CREEK.
SAILORS CREEK BATTLEFIELD.
234 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
The 6th Corps followed hard after General Wesley Merritfs
cavalry, and as usual overtook them, about 3 P. M.. after a
march of eijihteen miles, at a |)oint two and a half miles from
Sailor's creek on the left. Here the cavalry were having a
brisk engagement with the enemy. Our 2d Brigade went into
the action promptly, with scarcely a halt for preparation. The
foe was charged, pressed back and a large haul made of pris-
oners, wagon-trains and some artillery. However, the main
body of the Confederates had gone on to Sailor's creek. Gen-
eral Sheridan ordered an immediate pursuit, and we followed
on. The 1st Division of our corps came up and joined in the
pursuit. The greater part of the cavalry passed on to the left
and south to intercept the retreating enemy. General R. S.
Ewell was in command of the Confederates, and by 5 P. M. ht
had taken uj) a strong position on the west bank of the creek.
His location was elevated and largely covered with forest. The
approaches on the east were level and open, the stream itself
wa.shing the foot of the elevations. Here he awaited an attack,
failing which he would, in the ensuing night, make good his
escape to Danville. Without waiting for the portions of the
corps which had not arrived, an immediate attack was ordered,
and holding aloft their guns and ammunition, the swollen
stream was forded, our soldiers literally "wading in." With
only a single line, the heights were assaulted, while the cavalry,
which had passed entirely around the enemy, furiously fell upon
his rear. The Confederates, massed in heavy column and led by
Ewell himself, broke our centre. This, however, only exposed
him to the artillery across the stream, while the broken Union
lines fell upon both flanks, and the cavalry pressed hard upon
his rear. The enemy struggled manfully, but to no avail; even
the bravery of desperation could not save, and there was noth-
ing to do but to throw down their arms, and surrender. Com-
modore .). Randolph Tucker in command of the Marine Bri-
gade, a force of about 2(H)(l men, also gave up, though only
after a stubborn resistance. The most of the officers of this
body, some thirty-tive in number, before the war had served
in the United States Navy, and before the evacuation of Rich-
mond had made themselves useful in manning gunboats and
river batteries. It was a singular decree of fate that sent them,
these seventy and more miles from the Confederate Capital,
to be made prisoners, of all places in the world for men bear-
BUEAKI.\<; THE LINES, AND SAILOR'S CKEKK. 235
iiijr tlifir iiaiiie. at Sailor's ('reek.* or, as it was sonietiiui's
callt'd. Sailor's IJiin, tliongh be it said to their credit, tliey didn't
Anionji tlie officers wlio fell into our hands were Lieutenant
General K. S. Ewell, Major Generals Kershaw, Curtis Lee and
Pickett, with Bri'iadier Generals Barton, Corse and Lewis,
while the rank and tile number nearly KI.OIMI men. Yet such
a vii-tory has scant mention in the running histories of the day.
The loss of so many men forced General Lee to move with what
remained of his army northward, and three days later came
the tiual scene at Appomattox. Though there were cavalry
skirmishes afterwards, the battle practically closed the great
engagement list. General Keifer's concluding words are: "It
may truthfully be said that it was not only the last general
field battle of the war, but the one wherein more oflBcers and
men were captured in the struggle of contiict than in any battle
of modern times." In the report which followed this cam-
paign. General Keifer is pleased to bestow merited praises upon
several officers of our regiment, ascribing to Lieutenant Colonel
Snyder great skill, judgment and bravery in the management
of his regiment: "Major William Wood, while leading his bat-
talion in a charge, received a dangerous wound from a canister-
shot in the face; Majors Anson Wood, S. B. Lamoreaux and
Captains George W. BrinkerhofT, Henry J. Rhodes and Chaun-
cey Fish are among the many who did their duty nobly." He
also praises Lieutenant J. W. Jewhurst, an aide-de-camp upon
his staff, for bis discharge of duty.
Of the part borne by the Ninth in this engagement the re-
port of Colonel Snyder says, dealing apparently with the charge
a short distance from the stream which gave its name to the
"The regiment wa.s formed in the second line, and advanced