Saturday, August 09, 2014

Seventeenth Vermont Infantry in Battle.

Near Petersburg, Va., August 1, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Seventeenth Vermont Volunteers participated in an assault made by the Ninth Army Corps, under the enemy's works in front of Petersburg, Va., on Saturday morning, July 30, losing very heavily both in officers and men. The blowing up of one of the enemy's forts, previously mined for the purpose, was the signal for a terrific bombardment, under cover of which the assault was made.

The first line of works in clearing the demolished fort was carried with but little loss, but the enemy's batteries, instead of replying to our guns, reserved their fire for our advance, and now commenced pouring in a withering fire of case and canister that compelled our men to seek protection in the trenches and the ruins of the fort. Very soon our troops were thrown in confusion, and the enemy, advancing through a protected way, attacked our men in the trenches and fort, both in front and flank, and succeeded in driving us back to our original position.

The Seventeenth Vermont was commanded by Major William B. Reynolds, my health having been such for some weeks as to incapacitate me from field duty. He led the regiment on this occasion, as I am they did all that was in their power to insure success. While bravely fighting the enemy in their own trenches he was shot by a musket-ball in the left breast, and soon thereafter died. His loss is deeply felt and deplored by all the command.

Lieutenant William E. Martin, of Company E, was shot through the head about the same time. He had joined the regiment for duty but the day before, since he was wounded at the Wilderness. He was a brave and valuable officer. Lieutenant John R. Converse, of Company H, was killed early in action. Of the eight commissioned officers who went into the engagement not one returned to the regiment. When the enemy regained possession of their works they took a large number of prisoners, which largely swells the total loss. As evidence of the severity of the action I may remark that the Second Division lost more than half its effective force, and the Second Brigade lost in killed, wounded, or prisoners, every regimental commander on the field.

I append a list of the casualties in the Seventeenth that occurred during this engagement; also a list from June 20, the date of the former report, to July 29, inclusive.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHARLES CUMMINGS, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Major William B. Reynolds.
To read more about him take this link. Lieutenant

Lieutenant William E. Martin. 

Birth: 1834
Death: Jul. 10, 1864.

Civil War veteran: served as 2d lieutenant in Co. C, 13th Regt. Vt. Vols., under the command of Col. F. V. Randall, and was promoted to 1st lieutenant before that regiment was mustered out. He then enlisted in the 17th Regt., and was killed at the battle of Petersburg, Virginia.

Burial: Plainfield Village Cemetery Plainfield Washington County Vermont

Lieutenant John R. Converse.

Birth: Nov. 28, 1842, Panton, Addison County, Vermont.
Death: Jul. 30, 1864, Virginia.

 Lieutenant John R Converse.  Residence Panton, Vermont Enlistment Date: 16 Sep 1862 Side Served: Union State Served: Vermont Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 16 September 1862. Enlisted in Company I, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 21 Oct 1862. Promoted to Full 2nd Lieutenant on 3 Jul 1863. Mustered Out Company I, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 30 Jul 1863 at Brattleboro, VT. Commission in Company H, 17th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 23 May 1864. Killed Company H, 17th Infantry Regiment Vermont on 30 Jul 1864 at Petersburg, VA

Burial: Adams Ferry Cemetery, Panton, Addison County, Vermont.

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