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    Battle Report for the 16th Massachusetts, May-June 1864. Fourteen pages bound at top with ribbon, 8" x 12.5", August 10, 1864. "[T]he report of the operations of the 16th Mass. during the Campaign of May and June 1864", compiled and submitted by Captain Richard T. Lombard. Lombard recorded five consecutive engagements, spanning from May 4 to June 22, 1864, and including reports of the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, and the lead up to and beginning of the Siege of Petersburg. He wrote, "The Regiment having been mustered out of service, I have no records of losses and not expecting I should be called upon for said report, I took no notes; therefore I am obliged to depend to a great extent on memory."

    The first battle of General Grant's Overland Campaign took place in a densely wooded area known as the Wilderness. The battle was deemed a draw as neither side was able to cohesively maneuver through the thick woods and brush, and both the Union and Confederate armies suffered great losses in the confusion. Lombard records the events of the battle as such, dated May 6, 1864:

    "At 5AM moved forward through a thick and almost impassable forest about one mile and formed in read of Genl. Ward's Brigade...we halted about an hour when the Regt. was marched by the left flank for some distance by a small stream and had scarcely formed the line, and threw out skirmishers when the enemy advanced in strong force: On the right I saw many of the 'Red Diamonds' and 'Red Clubs' running to the rear from a line in advance of us, all passing to the right of the 16th Mass. we became immediately engaged and after fighting a few moments the 26th Penn. on the left gave way and fled to the rear from sight; at this time our line had taken a strong position a few moment later the 8th N.J. Vols on the right was gone. Col. Ramsay gave no orders to Lt. Col. Merriam the Commander of the 16th Regt. and he (Merriam) directed we should hold the line; seeing we were being flanked on the left (and after consulting with his officers) be ordered the Regt. to 'fall back' slowly, firing as it retreated which it did, suffering more loss in doing so, than while on the original line. From what I have since learned, if the Regt. had held its position (alone as it was) longer than it did it would have been captured. Our loss was heavy both in Officers, and men, Captain Hills and Lt. Woodfin were killed..."

    After the Battle of the Wilderness, Grant tried to lure Lee's army to a position where he could break the Confederate lines. The two armies came together multiple times at Spotsylvania Court House from May 8-20. However, these attempts by Grant were again unsuccessful, and the battle became the bloodiest of the Overland Campaign. Lombard recorded the regiment's movements during the battle, recording the following for May 10, 1865:

    "About 3AM was marched to the extreme left of the army, to what is known as the 'Brown House' (Spotsylvania County). The Regiment was ordered forward as skirmishers at 8PM connecting with _ _ _ _ on the right: our left formed the extreme left of the army until late in the afternoon when the 84th Penn. made its connection on our left: were engaged with the enemy's skirmishers until 4PM when three Companies of the Regiment were ordered to 'charge' 'take' and 'hold' a White house in our immediate front, which was held by the enemy's sharpshooters. After a desperate attempt, the said Companies fell back into the woods, where they were reformed and joined by two other companies. At this time Lt. Col. Merriam remonstrated against charging the position a 2nd time, but the order was peremptory, and the handful of men (not over one hundred) with a wild cheer went forward, driving the enemy and capturing about a dozen prisoners: in a few moments the enemy opened fire from six pieces of artillery, and a musketry fire from a strong line of battle, posted on the heights beyond, behind earth works. It was impossible to hold the position and we were forced to 'fall back' losing heavily from the grape and case shot from the enemy's battery. After falling back, the Remainder of the Regiment was relieved from the skirmish line and formed in the rear of the Brown House." Lombard's bold signature appears on the final page of the report. He survived the war and was mustered out of service on October 20, 1864.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with light toning at edges. Darker toning with small spots of soiling around signature, otherwise very fine.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
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