Report of Col. Jacob M. Campbell, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry.
MAY 15, 1864.--Engagement at New Market, Va.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVII/1 [S# 70]
HDQRS. FIFTY-FOURTH REGT. PENNSYLVANIA VOLS.,
Camp near Cedar Creek, Va., May 18, 1864.
Col. JOSEPH THOBURN,
Comdg. Second Brig., First Infty. Div., Dept. of W. Va.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Fifty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the recent engagement near New Market on the 15th instant:
The regiment having marched in the morning from Woodstock, had just gone into camp at Mount Jackson, when I received orders to march rapidly toward New Market. Forming hastily, we at once marched as directed, and in obedience to renewed orders to that effect hastened our steps, and without halting or rest arrived much fatigued on the field. According to your orders we at once deployed into column by division to the left and rear of the Twelfth Virginia, which regiment shortly afterward moved toward the right, unmasking us, and about the same time my regiment was deployed and took position on the left of the First Virginia and on the extreme left of the line of battle. We remained in this position, partly shielded from the fire of the enemy by the crest of a hill in front, until, observing the regiment on my right making a charge in the absence of orders, presuming it proper to imitate their example, I ordered the Fifty-fourth also to charge, which was done with alacrity and spirit. Advancing beyond the crest of the hill, a rapid, vigorous, and, as I believe, effective fire was for some time kept up on the enemy, and every effort made by them to advance on the front occupied by my regiment was firmly and resolutely resisted and proved abortive, although we sustained a galling and destructive fire, in which many of my men were killed and wounded. The enemy, however, pressed forward his right, which extended some distance beyond our left, and was rapidly flanking me in that direction despite the most determined resistance, when my attention was called to the fact that the regiment on my right (owing to the overwhelming numbers brought against it) had given way, and the enemy was advancing at almost right angle with my line and extending beyond the rear and right of my regiment. A few minutes only would be required to completely surround my regiment, and in the absence of any appearance of advancing support I was reluctantly compelled to order my command to retire. This was done in as good order as the circumstances would allow, two stands being made by a portion of the command before passing beyond musket-range: and the whole of it finally rallying and forming at a point indicated by the colonel commanding brigade.
Lieut. Col. John P. Linton was wounded, but remained upon the field rallying and encouraging the men until the final close of the action, rendering most valuable and efficient service.
Captain Graham, of Company E, was killed early in the engagement, and Second Lieutenant Anderson, of the same company, fell afterward, leaving the company in command of the second sergeant, the first sergeant being also severely wounded.
Captain Geissinger, of Company H, fell mortally wounded, and about the same time Lieutenant Killpatrick, of the same company, was seriously injured and brought off the field.
Lieutenant Colborn, of Company B, fell just as the command commenced to fall back. He was brought to a house in the rear of our line, but finally fell into the hands of the enemy in a dying condition.
Capt. William B. Bonacker fell mortally wounded, I believe, as we were in the act of falling back, gallantly encouraging his men. His conduct throughout the whole engagement was most cheering and encouraging to his men, and his loss is deeply to be regretted. Indeed, the conduct of officers and men throughout was all that I could ask or desire, and entitles them to the highest praise. The number of officers and men of my regiment in the engagement was 566. Our loss is 5 commissioned officers killed or mortally wounded, and 2 wounded and brought off the field. Of the noncommissioned officers and privates, 27 are known to he killed, and 42 wounded, all of whom fell into the enemy's hands. We brought off the field 98 of our wounded. This number does not include some 30 who were so slightly wounded as not to be thought necessary to report.
The inclosed report of casualties will show the rank, name, and company of all the killed and seriously wounded, amounting in the aggregate to 174.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JACOB M. CAMPBELL,
Colonel Fifty-fourth Regt. Pennsylvania Volunteers.
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