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607 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I


Numbers 39. Report of Colonel Charles H. Tompkins, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, commanding Artillery Brigade, of engagement at Rappahannock Station.


November 14, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit herewith a report of the operations of my command in the action of the 7th instant, at Rappahannock Station, Va.:

The brigade left Warrenton at 7 a. m. the 7th instant. Battery A, First Massachusetts Artillery, Captain McCartney commanding, and the Third New York Battery, Captain Harn commanding, marched with the First Division. Battery M, Fifth U. S. Artillery, Captain McKnight commanding, marched with the Third Division. The remainder of the brigade marched in rear of the First Division, and reached the railroad near Rappahannock Station at 1 p. m.

At 3 p. m., by order of General Wright, commanding Sixth Corps, I sent Battery C, First Rhode Island Artillery, Captain Waterman commanding, and Battery F, Fifth U. S. Artillery, Lieutenant Martin commanding, to report to General Howe. The remainder of my command was parked in the rear of the First Division in readiness to move to the front if required. At 3.45, our skirmishers having cleared the first crest, I placed Martin's battery in position on the left, and Waterman's battery on the right of the road leading to the station, to engage the enemy's artillery in the works on the north bank of the river, about 1,500 yards distant. As soon as the batteries moved into position, the enemy opened upon them from the works on the north bank, and also from a battery of 20-pounders in the redoubt on the south bank of the river. Taft's battery of 20-pounder guns was ordered up by Brigadier-General Tyler, commanding Artillery Reserve, to reply to the guns in the redoubt, and the fire of Martin's and Waterman's batteries concentrated upon the enemy's works and troops on the north bank.

At 4.30 p. m. three guns of Waterman's battery moved to the extreme right of our line, by order of General Howe. The firing was continued with regularity and precision until the works were carried by the storming party.

About 9 p. m. I sent a detachment, with horses, from Martin's battery, and withdrew two 1-pounder Parrotts, two 3-inch rifled guns, and one limber captured in the works. The remaining three limbers and four caissons were left by the enemy close to the river bank, and, being within short musket range of the enemy's pickets upon the opposite side of the river, it was not deemed best to remove them that night. The following morning the guns and caissons captured, together with a quantity of artillery harness found strewn about the works, and one wounded horse were, by order of Major-General Sedgwick, turned over to Brigadier-General Tyler, commanding Artillery Reserve.

The practice made by the batteries engaged was very good, with the exception of a few shots of Martin's battery, caused by defective ammunition. All the ammunition expended by Captain Waterman worked well.

The conduct of the officer and men of both batteries was all that could be desired.