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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Clark S. Edwards Transcript

Clark S. Edwards Transcript

Head Quarters 5th Maine Regiment
November 9th 1863

General,

I have the honor respectfully to make the following report of the late movement of this Regiment.

On the morning of the 7th inst. I received orders to move my regiment from its former encampment near Warrenton, in company with the Corps. Accordingly we took up our line of march towards the Rappahannock Station on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. After marching nearly 15 miles, we discovered the enemy occupying a strong position near the Station, entrenched within redoubts and rifle pits. At 3 o’clock P. M. the 121st New York Vols. and my regiment were ordered forward to the front in line of battle. Being upon an open plain – with scarcely any protection – the advance was slow and cautious. During this advance the enemy made but little demonstration upon us, excepting an occasional shell or shot. Approaching within about 500 yards of the enemy’s rifle pits, we were directed to lie down at a point where the crest of s small elevation of ground afforded us a little protection, which position we held until nearly 7 o’clock P.M. when I received orders to move my regiment forward. The line of battle was 5th Maine Vols. on the right, and 121st New York on the left – the line consisting of about 550 muskets. Under cover of the darkness of the night – we approached to within twenty five yards of the enemy in his pits, when I gave the order to “Charge.”  At this moment we received a terrific volley from the enemy’s infantry, and at the next, our boys had sprung into the rifle pits sweeping every thing before them. These entrenchments were occupied by more than double the men on our front presented, but so sudden and unexpected was our movement upon them – that the enemy seemed paralyzed.  After disarming them, by a rapid movement to the right, we succeeded in capturing nearly the whole force in the pits who were then ignorant of the fate of those on the left. During the entire charge my regiment did not fire a gun, carrying all at the point of the bayonet, and the following are the captures made by this regiment alone:

1200 prisoners – 1700 small arms – 1 caisson – and 4 stand of colors. Of the prisoners there were over 100 commissioned officers – including 5 Colonels, 1 Lieut. Colonel & 1 Major. The enemy’s force consisted of the 1st Louisiana Brigade and a North Carolina Brigade comprising the 6th, 7th & 54th Regiments. The 1st Louisiana Brigade (most of which fell into the hands of my regiment) – was the first command ever assigned to the late General “Stonewall” Jackson. We occupied the fortifications during the night, advancing to near Brandy Station yesterday.  The affair was a complete and glorious victory.

It affords me the greatest pleasure to report the unwavering bravery of every officer and man in my command, each vying with each other in the execution of valorous deeds – none flinching but pressing forward with a determined will to win. Where all so nobly done their whole duty – it is difficult to discriminate between any.  ….

The loss in my regiment in this action was 7 killed and 28 wounded.

[Lists omitted]

I am, General,
Very Respectfully,
Your Ob’t Servant
C. S. Edwards
Col. Commd’g Regt.

Brg. Gen’l J. L. Hodsdon
Adg’t Gen’l State of Maine
Augusta Maine.