HDQRS. TWENTY-FIRST REGT. CONNECTICUT VOLS.,
June 12, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Cold Harbor on the 3d of June, this duty now devolving upon me in consequence of the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Burpee, who was in command of the regiment during that engagement:
At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 3d our brigade was formed in close column by division, the Twenty-first Connecticut being at the head of the column, with their bayonets fixed, upon which they were instructed to place their sole reliance in storming the enemy's works. The brigade of General Marston, also in close column by division, was in the advance. The two brigades at about daylight made an assault on the strongly intrenched line of the enemy, who immediately opened upon the advancing column with such a rapid and effective fire of musketry and artillery that the brigade in our front was thrown back with heavy loss and in great confusion upon the head of our column, which, notwithstanding, held its ground with the steadiness of veterans. The Twenty-first Connecticut was now deployed in line of battle on the advanced ground we then held to guard against a threatened assault on the part of the enemy. The <ar67_1014> regiment was here exposed to a sharp, fire of shot and shell, both direct and enfilading, from the enemy s works, which were barely 200 yards distant, but protected partly by the formation of the ground, which gave the men some shelter while lying down, the casualties, which otherwise would have been very heavy, were comparatively light. We held this position some three hours, and were then sent to re-enforce General Burnham's brigade in a contemplated charge upon the same works from another point farther to the left. General Burnham's brigade was formed in close column by division, the Eighth Connecticut to lead the charge and the Twenty-first Connecticut to follow in line of battle, with orders to rely upon the bayonet alone in carrying the enemy's works. The enemy, however, appearing in such force along that portion of their line against which our assault was to be directed, the order was subsequently countermanded. The regiment behaved with great steadiness throughout the whole engagement, receiving well-merited compliments from brigade and division commanders. A list of the casualties is annexed.
With profound sorrow I announce the death of Lieut. Col. Thomas F. Burpee, who was mortally wounded at daybreak on the 9th of June while going the rounds as brigade officer of the day. He survived only until the evening of the 11th. Lieutenant-Colonel Bur-pee had borne his part with distinguished valor all during the Bermuda Hundred campaign. His coolness and good judgment at the battle of Drewry's Bluff will not soon be forgotten by his comrades in that hard-contested action. At Cold Harbor he was equally conspicuous for gallantry. While in command of the regiment he was able and efficient, always discharging with promptitude every duty, particularly if concerning the comfort and welfare of his men, by whom he was much loved and respected.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HIRAM B. CROSBY,
Brig. Gen. H. J. MORSE,
Adjutant-General, State of Connecticut.