21st Pennsylvania Cavalry soldier writes of Cold Harbor and Petersburg (June 1864)

[Original letter] HQ, Co. I, 21st P.V. Cav., front line of battle in front of Petersburg (June 1864)

Soldier – McMellen

From U. S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

“Joined the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor on the evening of the 1st of June. Entered the breastworks immediatly and strenghtened them. Were placed in reserve on the second. Charged on the enemies lines on the morning of the 3rd, drove them and occupied the position, lost 2 men in killed namely Sargt Wagoner and Private Parker, and 9 wounded, namely 1st Lieut M.P. Doyle, Sargt Wilfong, Corp Sutton and Edmondson, Privates Ney, Rihine, Geiger, McMillinm, Eckley.

June 4th advanced our lines, threw out a line of pickets, found the enemy had retreated, marched on the evening toward the Chickahominy, arrived on the north bank on the 7th. Threw up a line of breastworks. 12th marched to longbridge by the left flank, crossed the river on the 13th. Crossed the James on the 16th, arrived in front of Petersburg the 17th. Charged on the enemies works on the 18th. Drove them across the railroad when they retreated behind their works.

Casualties in the charge 6 wounded, Private Knight, Whiteneck, Fisher, Bolingeu, Roush, Nichols. Were relieved from the front line on the 19th moved to the left 22nd and went to the support of the second corps on the same date. Threw up intrenchments in front of the second corps 23rd. Marched to the extreme left on same date and threw up another line of works. Fell back to the rear line and were kept building forts until the 12th of July when we advanced to the front line. Lay there there 8 days, fell back again to the rear. Moved forward to the front line of breastworks on the right of our corps and on the left of the 9th corps on the 25th of July were engaged until the 30th in strenghtening our works, picketduty. On the 30th we were in line of battle behind our works andkept up a constant re during the day. We had no casualities.”

Letter was listed in the summer catalog of:

Click to access CWnl99.pdf


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