November 26 – December 2, 1863
From the Official Records:
NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 2, 1863.–The Mine Run (Virginia) Campaign No. 26. –Report of Col. John R. Brooke, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE,
December 8, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my brigade commencing November 26 and ending December 2, 1863:
On the 26th of November, agreeably to orders from the general commanding division, my command marched out upon the Germanna Ford road, following the Third Brigade, Colonel Beaver commanding. Early in the day we arrived near Germanna Ford, where, halting in the woods, we waited for several hours before the order was given to cross the river. About 1.30 p.m. General Caldwell gave me the order to move down the road and cross the river, which was immediately done. The men in wading the river, which was deep and swift, lost a considerable quantity of their five days’ rations with which we were supplied, also some ammunition. Upon arriving on the opposite side, I immediately took position in the enemy’s abandoned works, by order of the general commanding, and, throwing skirmishers well to the front, awaited the crossing of the remainder of the corps. About 4 p.m. moved forward about 2 miles and bivouacked for the night. At sunrise the following morning moved upon Robertson’s Tavern. Arriving near this place, it became evident that the enemy was disposed to dispute the advance of the Third Division, which was the advance of the corps. I was ordered to report to General Hays, commanding Third Division. I received orders from him to support the right of his line, which I did. The enemy stubbornly resisted every effort of our skirmishers to press them back, until the brigade of Colonel Carroll; making a rush, forced them from their position about sundown.
On the following morning, 28th ultimo, moved forward on the turnpike leading to Orange Court-House, forming a line on the right of Second Division, which was formed on the right of the pike, and remained in this position until daylight on the following morning, when we moved, by way of Robertson’s Tavern, to the left of the position occupied by the army on Mine Run. After advancing up the Orange and Fredericksburg plank road about 3 miles beyond New Hope Church, we came upon the enemy’s skirmishers and drove them back, developing their position. The Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers being deployed as skirmishers, the Second Delaware Volunteers were thrown out about nightfall to extend the skirmish line. The One hundred and forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers which had been sent out to relieve a party of Colonel Miles’ brigade, to enable him to strengthen his front line, were withdrawn and placed in bivouac with the remainder of the brigade, about 200 yards in rear of the skirmish line. During the evening I was told by the general commanding that the grand assault was to be made on the enemy’s position in our front at 8 a.m. on the 30th, and that the First Division, Second Corps, would support the attack. At 6 a.m. I moved my brigade, according to previous instructions, and formed line about 200 yards in rear of the assaulting column on the left of the plankroad. At 8 a.m. the signal guns were fired on the right flank of the army, which was the signal for the general assault. Everything was in readiness, but the grand assault was not made.
About 2 p.m. the general commanding division directed me to move forward and report to General Carr, commanding Third Division, Third Corps. On reporting to General Carr, he directed me to relieve his front line and skirmishers, which I did. I occupied this line, which was directly to the left of the plank road, fortifying the position so as to be able to resist the attack of the enemy if made. After dark, December 1, I received orders to march to the rear upon the plank road, and, following the column by way of the plank road and Culpeper Mine road, crossed the Rapidan at Culpeper Mine, reaching camp about sundown, December 2.
During this short but severe campaign the casualties in my command were but few, a full report of which has already been made (*)
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN R. BROOKE,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Maj. JOHN HANCOCK,
compiled by Scott Kunkle & Joel Peterson, 1999