1864 11th Massachusetts Battalion Report of Major Abram L. Lockwood - Cold Harbor to the Crater

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1864 11th Massachusetts Battalion Report of Major Abram L. Lockwood - Cold Harbor to the Crater

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Offered here is an incredible ALS written and signed by Major Abram L. Lockwood, commanding the 11th Massachusetts Battalion. It was written to Lieutenant William J. Rusling, A.A.A.G. The document is a report of the 11th's activities from Cold Harbor through the Battle of the Crater and was written in reply to Special Orders 209, that called upon combat commands to submit reports of their actions. On June 12th, many of the enlistments in the 11th Massachusetts Regiment expired. The five remaining companies were organized into the 11th Mass Battalion. They were joined on July 11 by two companies of the 16th Massachusetts. The 11th Massachusetts was part of Colonel William R. Brewster's 2nd Corps brigade during this time.

Major Lockwood included day-to-day entries in his report. For example, on June 16:

At Sunrise the Enemy opened in one position with Shot and Shell, killing 1 and wounding 11 men. The firing lasted about half an hour, during which time the men were exposed to a deadly fire without cover of any kind being stationed in an open field about five hundred yards from the Enemy’s Battery. At 3 oclock P.M. this Battalion was ordered on the Skirmish line, and was engaged in skirmishing with the Enemy until dark when we was relieved and took up a new line some distance to the right, where we built Rifle pits in which we remained until the night of the 17th. In this immediate locality we remained occupying rifle pits and Breastworks until the morning of the 21st, when the Command moved to the left of the 5th Corps and then up a line of works connecting with those of that Corps.   

Lockwood noted the June 23 death of a popular former commander of the 11th Regiment:

Colonel William Blaisdell of the Regiment was killed today while in command of the Corcoran Legion. After being relieved from Picket the Battalion returned to its former Camp where it remained until the 27th inst.

Later in July:

While in this Camp the Command has been engaged in leveling works and building covered roads, until the 26th of July when at 5 oclock P.M. the Command moved, and after a severe march bivouacked within one mile of the James River. At daylight on the morning of the 27th inst, we crossed the James River and moved out to the front of the position occupied by Gen’l Foster’s forces, and halted in an open field, and after remaining here about an hour, were moved into a small piece of woods a little in our front. Shortly after getting into line the Enemy opened a Battery in our front and for a short time they shelled the woods in which we lay with great vigor, but without inflicting any Casualties in this Battalion.

Lockwood included many details about the Battalion's movements--shifting a few hundred yards one day, then back the other direction the next day--as Grant attempted to strengthen his grip around Petersburg.

The report was written on all four pages of an 8" x 12 1/2" bifolium stationery. The paper is in good sturdy condition, not stiff, and not particularly delicate. Very little wear to edges and corners. Little toning. A few very shallow tears at the edges of folds. Horizontal creases at original folds. Lockwood's penmanship is very easy to read.

Full electronic transcript available upon request.

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