HDQ. 1ST DIV. USCT - APRIL 16, 1865
Report of Brig. Gen. John P. Hawkins, U.S. Army, commanding First Division, U.S. Colored Troops, of operations March 20-April 9.
Headquarters FIrst Division, U.S. Colored Troops,
Blakely, Ala., April 16, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command, commencing with our march from Pensacola and ending with the capture of this place on the 9th instant: The division left Pensacola on the 20th of March, and going northward to within four miles of Pollard reached the vicinity of this place on the evening of the 1st instant. The march was a severe one on the men, being attended with constant labor, making corduroy roads to get the wagons through the almost impassable swamps. On the morning of the 2d the cavalry pickets between my command and the Blakely fortifications were attacked by a strong party of rebel skirmishers. The troops were under arms at once, and preceded by skirmishers the division marched in line of battle toward the enemy's position, Scofield's brigade in reserve. Very soon our skirmishers reached the place where the fighting was going on, and pressing forward kept the enemy on the run till they were driven behind the abatis or rifle-pits, when according to orders we ceased pressing them and commenced the construction of rifle pits. From the 2d to the 9th instant the troops were busy night and day making approaches toward the place, all this time under a heavy fire from the fort and from the gun-boats of the enemy. From the latter the fire was particularly annoying and destructive. On the evening of the 8th a battery was completed for four 30-pounder Parrotts and the guns put in position. After a few fires from these guns the boats were driven away, one of them being apparently seriously disabled. Captain Wimmer, First Indiana Heavy Artillery, had charge of this battery. On the afternoon of the 9th instant orders were sent to the brigade commanders to strengthen and advance their skirmish lines at 5:30 and drive the enemy as far as possible. Before this order reached them their lines had been put in motion at 5 o'clock, and skirmishing continued until 5:30, when, taking up the yell and forward movement commenced by the other divisions on the left, the whole front, re-enforced with other troops from the rear, went at the works of the enemy and were soon piling over the parapet, and the rebels confronting us threw down their arms. The prisoners captured amounted to 21 officers and 200 men - a small number, owing to the fact that when entered many of the enemy, fearing the conduct of my troops, ran over to where the white troops were entering. Of cannon captured there were nine pieces of different kinds. I learn from the letter book of the rebel commander that he had ordered his best troops to oppose my division. To my brigade commanders - Brigadier General Pile, Colonel Drew, and Colonel Scofield - my thanks are due for the zealous energy displayed by them in making their approaches and the good judgment with which their troops were handled. Captain Newton, engineer of General Steele's staff, merits my especial thanks for his assistance to me, being without an engineer officer for my division. My own staff also have performed all their duties with industry and promptness. The reports og brigade commanders and a list of casualties* are herewith inclosed.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN P. HAWKINS,
Capt. J.F. Lacey,
Assistant Adjutant-General. General Steele's Headquarters.
SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.