760 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. [CKA?. LIV.
Reports of Brig. Gen. Robert S. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding Second
Division, of operations September 28-October 4 and October 27-28.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, TENTH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., October 5, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the
operations of the Second Division, Tenth Army Corps, from the 28th
of September to the 1st of October, 1864, inclusive:
On the 28th of September, pursuant to orders from the major-general
commanding the corps, broke camp near Petersburg at promptly 3 p.
m. and took up the line of march, following in rear of First Division,
Tenth Army Corps. Owing to delays in the wagon train of that divis-
ion my progress was slow, and the head of my column only reached
the pontoon bridge across the Appomattox at 8.35 p.m. and Deep Bot-
tom at 1.30 a. m. on the 29th. On reaching Deep Bottom the Two hun-
dred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers was detached from the SecoMd
Brigade and ordered to garrison the roads at that place. The balance
of my command bivouacked outside the works until 5.50 a. m., when it
was moved forward and formed in column of battalion in mass, the head
of column resting on the Kin gsland road about 300 yards on the right
of the Grover house, in support of General William Birney's division,
of the Tenth Army Corps. At 8.30 a. m. the division moved forward to
Signal Hill and took the advance up the New Market and Richmond
'road, the First Brigade leading the column. At 9.25 the head of col-
umn met the enemy's picket along the line of works at the junction of
the Mill and New Market and Richmond roads. A portion of the One
hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers, Lieut. Col. A. M.
Barney, were deployed as skirmishers, and followed by the whole
brigade charged the works at a run, the enemy falling back rapidly,
leaving their works in our possession. After a short rest the column
again moved forward through the woods with but a few shots from the
enemy's vedettes, to the open ground, when the head of the column was
opened on with very severe artillery fire from the fort to the front and
left and by their light 12-pounders in position at Laurel Hill Church.
I attempted to form under cover of the wood in three lines of battle,
but the formation of the ground threw them in echelon—the First
Brigade in advance, the Second Brigade extending to the right, and
Third to the right. This was done under a heavy fire of artillery, which
did considerable execution. As soon as formed, I ordered an advance
to dislodge the battery at Laurel Hill Church, which was promptly
executed, the enemy retiring in such haste as to leave their killed on
the field and the road strewn with artillery ammunition and implements.
I formed my command along the New Market road, the right resting
at Laurel Hill Church. At this place I found upon examination that
my command had been reduced, by straggling and shirking, to about
1,400 men, although strong rear guards were detailed in front of each
brigade. Many of these men fell out in the darkness between Peters-
burg and Deep Bottom and others fell out at the time of the formation
to charge the battery, the thick undergrowth favoring their retiring.
A. large number of these men were sent forward with their commands
in this charge by myself and staff, but I regret to say many escaped
the duty they should have performed. At 1.25 p. m. I received orders
from Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson, assistant inspector-general Tenth
Army Corps, to charge and attempt the capture of the enemy's works,