91st PA at Mine Run

Mine Run

[source: Official records series 1 volume 29 part 1 pages 794-795]

Report of Maj. Gen. George Sykes, U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Army Corps.

CAMP NEAR RAPPAHANNOCK STATION, December 4, 1863.

SIR: On the 26th ultimo, my corps left its camp at Paoli Mills with instructions to proceed to Parker's Store, on the Orange and Fredericksburg plank road, and, if possible, to seize a point beyond, where the cross-road coming from Robertson's Tavern intersects the plank road. I reached Culpepper Ford on the Rapidan at 10.30 a. m., threw a regiment over in boats, forded the stream with the cavalry serving at these headquarters, and effected the crossing of the corps by noon of the same day. In consequence of delays happening to the troops on my right, at the fords of Germanna and Jacobs' Mills, I was instructed to await the passage of the river by the Second and Third Corps. About 3 p. m. I resumed the march and bivouacked at the Wilderness farm, near the intersection of the Germanna and Orange and Fredericksburg plank roads.

On the 27th, I continued the movement, arrived at Parker's Store at 9 a. m., and there met the cavalry under General Gregg, who had been ordered in advance on the same road. General Gregg soon met the enemy's cavalry and drove it gradually from point to point. The country was so densely wooded that the cavalry could only fight on foot, and the road taken by the troops being a continuous defile, it was only at [New] Hope Church that the heads of a few columns could be deployed.

About 3 p. m. the engagement became very warm, and the enemy having brought up a division of infantry, the cavalry could make no further impression upon him. I therefore deployed my troops as well as the ground would permit, took position in advance of [New] Hope Church, and relieved the cavalry, who had been fighting since 11 a. m. After my skirmishers were thrown out, the enemy became quiet and made no further demonstration. Upon reporting the condition of affairs, the major-general commanding directed me not to advance beyond the intersection of the road from Raccoon Ford with the Orange and Fredericksburg plank road, as the Third Corps had not yet effected a junction with the Second. During the night I received orders to move to Robertson's Tavern, on the old turnpike. This movement was accomplished early the next day {sc. 28 Nov}, the enemy making no effort to prevent it.

[p.795] At 4 a. m. on the 29th, I relieved the Second Corps, taking position across the turnpike in front of Mine Run. At the same hour on the 30th, the Fifth Corps was massed on the left of the enemy's position, and, in conjunction with the Sixth Corps, was prepared to storm his intrenchments. At 8 a. m. our batteries opened, and the hour for the assault, 9 a. m., having nearly arrived, the troops, in high spirits, were bracing themselves for the advance, when orders from headquarters were announced suspending the attack. We remained in position until dark, when the Fifth Corps returned to its bivouac across the turnpike.

At 6 p. m. on the 1st of December, it was directed to recross the Rapidan at Germanna Ford and occupy Stevernsburg, and subsequent orders have assigned to me the protection of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.

In these various movements the troops behaved well, were cheerful and subordinate, and although a very severe rain-storm fell upon them, rendering the roads almost impassible, and subsequently two days of unusually cold weather ensued, they were willing and eager to meet the enemy wherever he might be found.

The line occupied by the rebels on Mine Run was exceedingly formidable, the stream treacherous and uncertain in its approaches, and although some parts of it might have been assaulted successfully, it would have been at great sacrifice of life and might not have determined a favorable issue for a general battle. The cessation of the storm, the cold weather following it, and the consequent hardening of the roads were providential; otherwise our trains and artillery would have been stuck in the mud.

My thanks are due to the different commanders and to my personal staff.

I have to report but few casualties. Thirteen prisoners were captured.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant.



GEO. SYKES, Major-General, Commanding Fifth Corps.

[To] General A. A. HUMPHREYS, Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac.

[Inclosure]

List of casualties in the Fifth Army Corps during the march to New Hope Church and Robertson's Tavern.
Command.Killed.Wounded.Missing.Aggregate.
OffEnlOffEnl OffEnlOffEnl
First Division......16 ...19125
Second Division...1...1 131133
Third Division...2...6 .........8
Artillery Brigade...113 17211
Total*...4216 257474 [sic]
*See revised statement, p. 684.

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revised 23 Jun 02
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