Charles Chase: Report of General Stannard


From General Stannardís report of operations of the 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 18th Corps, Army of the Potomac

The whole command now moved forward, the 25th Mass. On the right, joined by the 55th Penna. and the 23rd Mass on its left, the left of our line serving as a support to our first line, which now became heavily engaged. The command lay in this position until 8:00 p.m., when it was moved to the right where it occupied throughout the night a line of rifle pits from which the enemy had previously been driven. The command lay in the position indicated throughout the 2d and about 9:00 p.m. was ordered to extend its line by deploment to the right to form a junction with the 5th Corps and command the movement of trains.

We lay in position until daybreak on the 3d, when, the trains having passed, our intervals were closed to the left, and at 4:00 p.m. the whole command moved to the left. ********* The column was formed in the following order, 27th Mass., Major Walker; 25th Mass., Col. Picket; 23d Mass., Col. Elwell; 55th Penna., Capt. Shearer. The 27th Mass. Was now deployed as skirmishers and moving up cautiously arrived within 350 yards of the enemyís works, when the command was ordered to charge over an intervening rifle pit and carry the works by storm. The works, at this point, consisted of strong rifle pits converging to a small earthwork mounting three light field guns, directly in our front, on the further side of a deep ravine, and situated at the convergence of an angle, the apex of which was toward the enemy. As soon as the intervening rifle pit was cleared and my command reached the edge of the ravine, it became at once evident, in view of the converging fire of musketry and the direct fire of artillery which was cutting down each successive division as it rose to the knoll, that it would be impossible for a sufficient number of men to reach the works, to produce any effect on the enemy, and as no concert of action on the part of the other commands was apparent, I ordered the remnant of my command to retire to the rifle pits, which they did in good order.***** My loss in this movement (killed and wounded) was 31 commissioned officers, including all of my staff, and 462 enlisted men. My command held this position until 5:00 p.m., when it was relieved by other troops and fell back to the second line of rifle pits.

From the record of 23d Mass. Vol. Inf.

For five June days, the rebels refused us any opportunity to bury our dead.***** The little space between our works and the works of the enemy was thickly strewn with the dead. There was little chance for recognition. For the most part the seventy-one bodies found were consigned to a common grave.


[Source: War Letters of Charles Chase, 1862-1864, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia]