After the Cold Harbor Battle, the 23rd Pennsylvania remained on the field until June 12th when the Army retreated. The Regiment Marched and Countermarched while still holding a line of Battle. They reached the James River on June 16th at the farm of ex-president James Tyler (Sherwood Plantation). They boarded the transport “Cauliflower” and cross the James. While on the Transport they noticed a skylight on the upper deck. As the men looked down through it they noticed a Contraband cooking Ham for the Officers. They devised a plan to get the Ham. They tried to get the contraband to open the door but he had been ordered to keep it closed. One of the men went down and started banging on the door to distract the Contraband. The Contraband replied, “Go away dah, stop you nosin.” At the same time they lowered a drummer boy by the heels and he snatched the Ham. When the cook turned around it was gone. He rushed out of the room, found one of the Officers and said, “For God, boss, I was fryin dat Ham, the boys was a pesterin me, and when I turned around to tend to the Ham, the Ham and pan clean done gone.”
They moved to Bermuda Hundred, and proceeded to the right of General Benjamin Butler’s Headquarters and were ordered into a line of Battle. This was the Halfway House (Today it is the Halfway House Restaurant). On June 19th they crossed the Appomattox River and formed a line in front of Petersburg under heavy artillery fire. The 23rd found and used an old line of breastworks the British had thrown up during the Revolutionary War. In front of them was the rebel line and behind the rebel line was the home of Powhattan. An attempt to advance the lines was made under severe fire and then called off. The 23rd went on Skirmish duty the night of June 19th resting on the Appomattox River. During this action there were 15 wounded and one killed, Richard Hamilton.
On June 21st the sixth Corps was relieved by the Eighth Corps and moved to the extreme left of the line, about four miles southeast of Petersburg. The 23rd formed to the left of the second Corps. They advanced four hundred yards in the face of hard skirmishing fire. They halted and threw up breastworks. The next day on June 22nd, they pushed through the woods and thick underbrush and met strong resistance. As night came they put up both front and rear breastworks to make their position secure. Over the next few days there was a stalemate in the action.
Finally on the 29th of June, the regiment was marched down the Jerusalem Plank Road and placed on picket duty near Ream’s Station on the Weldon Railroad. On the 30th they drove enemy Skirmishers in through the woods and were reunited with their place in the Brigade Sixth Corps, Third Brigade First Division under Oliver Edwards.
July 1st 1862, the 23rd was asked to destroy the Railroad and throw up breastworks. The next day they left their bivouac and moved back to their old position on the left in front of Petersburg on the Appomattox River. Thirteen men were wounded.