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1865 February 25: The Battle of Hatcher’s Run and the 5th, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin Infantries

March 1, 2015

The following is the second of several reports from Wisconsin regiments in the field.  It comes from the February 25, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run,¹ took place February 5-7, 1865, west of Petersburg, Virginia.  It was one in a series of Union offensives during the Siege of Petersburg.  The Union plan was to send General David M. Gregg’s cavalry out to the Boydton Plank Road to destroy as many Confederate supply wagons as they could find while the V Corps and II Corps provided support and kept the Confederates occupied to the north and east.  The 5th Wisconsin Infantry was part of the VI Corps, and the 6th and 7th Infantries were in the V Corps.  Company B of the 6th was the Prescott Guards.

THE CAMPAIGN IN VIRGINIA. 

Recent Battles South of Petersburg. 

Affairs in Southwest. 

The New Regime in Arkansas.

IMPORTANT MOVEMENTS OF TROOPS. 

Affairs in Tennessee. 

+++++++++++++++

From the Fifth Regiment.

The Recent Potomac Army Movement—Was it
a Success ?—Three Days Fighting—The 6th,
7th and 36th Wisconsin Suffer Severely—The
5th has but two Casualties—The Army Telegraph. 

Correspondence of the State Journal.

CAMP OF 5TH WISCONSIN, REGT., }
SOUTH OF PETERSBURG, Feb. 8th, 1865. }

In my last communication I mentioned that we were under marching orders, expecting to start very soon on an expedition, in what direction none could tell.

We left camp Sunday evening ;  as was after ward ascertained to cover the advance of Gen. Warren’s corps (the 5th) [Gouverneur K. Warren], and Gen. Humphrey’s (the 2d) [Andrew A. Humphreys], together with a division of cavalry under Gen. Gregg [David M. Gregg], across Hatcher’s Run, in the direction of the Southside railroad.  The 5th and 2d corps, until last night, have been fighting for three days, the first named having suffered very considerable loss.  Only the first division of our cops participated in the movement, and they only as reserve, consequently their loss has been but slight.  We have just got back to our old camp, near the remnants of the Weldon railroad, having left the field of battle last night at 1 o’clock.

It is very uncertain whether or not the object of the movement was accomplished, as it is only a matter of mere conjecture what was the object of the expedition, save in official circles.  If it were to cut the Southside Railroad we failed ;  if it was to keep Lee’s troops from going South, or to extend our line farther to the left we have succeeded—for no doubt we were opposed by a heavy force of Lee’s army, and while advancing some parts of our line we have extended it some tow or three miles farther, having made earthworks of considerable strength on the other side of the above-named “Run,” within a distance as variously stated of from five to ten miles of the South-side road.  [Robert E. Lee]

The “Iron Brigade” of the 5th Corps, in which are the 6th and 7th Wisconsin Regiments, was in the hottest of the fight.  Both of these regiments suffered very severely.  The 36th, also, belonging to the 2d Corps, suffered severely, as is said.

Our regiment met with but few casualties.  The following include all:

Private Riley C. Tyron, Co. G, missing and severely wounded, shot in the left side.
Private Chas. Beringer, Co. C, serious gunshot through right arm.
Private Geo. H. Worden, Co. F, leg broken by a falling tree.
Private Micheal Apel, Co. K, dropped down dead while on the march, from congestion of lungs and over-exertion.

One could scarcely fail to mark the strange accompaniments of the arts of civilization, with the scenes of war, as seem in the army telegraph in operation to each corps headquarters in the field, during the battle.  The wire is made of several smaller wires closely twisted, and covered with gutta percha, made so hard that artillery wagons it is said, may be driven over it without in any way impairing it.  This acts as a non-conductor, and thus they may fasten it as they do, to limbs and poles, almost anything, and almost any way.  It is said that they load it upon the back of a mule with a pulley at the back of the saddle over which it runs out, and that leading the mule along where they want the wire and fastening as they go, they will put it up as fast a one can over estimated.

How strange the comment thus made upon the peace conference at Fortress Monroe !  More than ever must we believe that our armies are the makers of an enduring peace.

.            .BB. C. HAMMOND, [Brant C. Hammond, chaplain of the 5th]
Chap. 5th Reg. Wis. Vols.

1.  Also known as Dabney’s Mill, Armstrong’s Mill, Rowanty Creek, and Vaughn Road.

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