July 4th Report of Lieutenant D. D. Perkins, Fourth U. S. Artillery


SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of my operations in the affair of the 2nd instant. My battery of light artillery, Company F, of the Fourth Regiment, U. S. Army, having been assigned by sections to the different columns, I remained with the center section (Lieutenant Martin’s), composed of two 6-pounder guns. A few miles after crossing the Potomac firing commenced on the right, with Colonel Abercrombie’s brigade, and by direction of Colonel George H. Thomas, commanding brigade to which I had been assigned, I proceeded as rapidly as possible to the front, and took position in a wheat field on the left of the main road. Here, not finding any occasion to place my guns in battery, I passed on, inclining to the right through several fields, up to a thick wood, which afforded cover for a body of the enemy’s skirmishers. With the assistance of Colonel Dare and Colonel Ballier, commanding regiments, in support, this place was soon cleared, and I moved along the edge of the wood, when, by direction of Colonel Thomas, who visited my section at that time, I struck into the main road, and continued in it hereafter.

A quarter of a mile beyond the point where I entered the road, I was informed at a farm-House that a considerable force of the rebels had passed about ten minutes before. Striking into a gallop, I took my section as far ahead of its support as I dared, and halted until I could get sight of its approach. Immediately I was visited by two officers of the enemy. I went out to meet them. We brought our horses together, and shook hands quite cordially, when they asked me what company I belonged to and how far “the boys” were behind. I answered so as to allay any suspicion they might have that I was not one of their own party, and endeavored to detain them, for neither I nor my section were provided with small-arms. At first they appeared satisfied that my pieces formed a part of their own flying artillery. Suddenly they somehow discovered their error, and, bending over their horses’ necks, ran away at the utmost speed. As soon as could be done in a narrow road, I put my pieces in battery and discharged some canister then some spherical case-shot, at them and their retreating friends, with what effect I do not know. I then returned to camp.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant Fourth Artillery, Commanding Co. F, Fourth Artillery.

Colonel G. H. THOMAS, Commanding First Brigade.


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.