1864 Report by Major Virgil M. Healy of the 8th New Jersey's Participation in the Battle of the Wilderness

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1864 Report by Major Virgil M. Healy of the 8th New Jersey's Participation in the Battle of the Wilderness

485.00

Item No. 2997434

A fascinating written report by Major Virgil M. Healy, commanding officer of the 8th New Jersey Volunteers. The two-page document is Healy's report from May 3, when the regiment broke camp at Brandy Station through the conclusion of the battle on May 7. It was written in response to Special Orders 209, under which all combat commands in the Army of the Potomac were called upon to submit reports of their actions during the Overland Campaign. Healy reported the regiment’s move south along the Brock Road, the 2nd Corps assault of May 5, its reverse of the 6th in which the regiment fell back to the Brock Road, and, having been much depleted, its movement to the rear on the 7th after being detailed to guard the ammunition train. Of the ten officers Healy reported as present before the regiment crossed the Rapidan River, only five remained after the battle. Of 184 enlisted men present in camp, 119 had been killed, wounded, or were missing—about 64% casualties. Briefly docketed on reverse. The report was addressed to Lieutenant William J. Rusling, originally of the 5th New Jersey, but then acting as brigade adjutant.

The report was written on a sheet of lined paper measuring about 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. It is in excellent condition with very light toning on the two written pages, with a little bit more toning on the reverse. Creased where folded.

Please note that the inset picture of Healy is not included in this listing. It was from a scan of a CDV found at www.beyondthecrater.com and includes Healy’s signature, which is a match to the one found on this report.

The full transcript of the report follows:

Head Quarters 8th N. J. Vols
Camp near Petersburg Va
August 8th 1862

Sir
In compliance with Special Order 209, Hd Qrs Army of the Potomac, dated August 5th 1864, I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this regiment during the first Epoch of the campaign, embracing the battle of the Wilderness Va.

The Regiment left camp near Brandy Station Va on the night of May 3rd and crossed the Rapidan at daylight on the morning of the 4th and continued the march until 3 P.M. of that day, and halted on the old battle field of Chancellorsville and bivouacked; distance marched about 23 miles. On the 5th of May about 6 A.M. we left our bivouac and marched to the Brock Road running through the wilderness and became engaged at 2 P.M., the regiment being relieved about 6 P.M. The regiment went into action with 10 officers and 184 enlisted men.

At 5 A.M. on the morning of the 6th the regiment again advanced on the enemy position, and remained under fire during the day until about 3 P.M. when we were compelled to fall back to our breastworks on the Brock Road, where we took up a position in the second line. About 4 1/2 P.M. the enemy attacked our front in strong force, but was repulsed with great loss. During the enemy’s assault the regiment was deployed in rear of the second line as a Guard to arrest stragglers, and prevent the men from falling back from the works and succeeded in collecting about 1000 men and returning them to their regiments, mostly in the front line.

May 7th the regiment lay in the 2nd line of works until the afternoon and then marched to the right about 2 miles and was there detailed for guard duty with the ammunition train, which we escorted back to the old battle field of Chancellorsville and bivouacked about 1 A.M.; distance marched about 14 miles.

Total of casualties during the series of battles, in killed and wounded and missing (5) five commissioned officers and (119) one hundred and nineteen enlisted men.

Very Respectfully
Your Obdt. Servt.
Virgil M. Healy
Major 8th N.J. Vols
Comdg Regt

To
Lieut W. J. Rusling
A.A.A. Genl 3 Brigade
3 Div, 2 Corps

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