Number 313. Report of Major General Wade Hampton, C. S. Army, commanding cavalry division, of operations June 27-30

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 80)

Numbers 313. Report of Major General Wade Hampton, C. S. Army, commanding cavalry division, of operations June 27-30.*1

HDQRS. HAMPTON’S DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, July 10, 1864.

COLONEL: On the morning of 27th of June the general commanding ordered me to move my command from Drewry’s Tavern to Stony Creek

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*For Hampton’s report of operations from June 8-24, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 1095.

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in order to intercept Wilson, who was returning from Staunton River bridge to rejoin Grant’s army. In obedience to these orders I moved rapidly in the direction indicated with my division, Chambliss’ brigade having been sent forward the evening previous.

At 12 m. the next day I reached Stony Creek Depot, where I found Chambliss. From this point scouts were sent out to find the position of the enemy and to ascertain what route he was pursuing, and at 12.30 I wrote the general commanding, suggesting that a force of infantry and artillery be placed at Reams’ Station, as the enemy would have to cross the railroad then at Jarratt’s or at Belfield. The scouts having reported what road the enemy were marching on, I notified general commanding of their position, and informed him that I should attack them at Sappony Church, asking him at the same time to place the infantry at Reams’ Station and to order Major General Fitz Lee to take position near there. These dispositions were made by the general commanding, and in the meantime my command was put in motion. Chambliss, who was in front, was ordered to push on to the church and to charge the enemy as soon as he met him. Soon after crossing Sappony Creek the enemy was encountered, and he was gallantly charged by the Ninth Virginia and driven back behind the church. Here he occupied a strong position, with dismounted men, and he succeeded in checking the charge. General Chambliss dismounted his men and took up a line near the church, when in a few moments he was heavily attacked. I brought up a portion of the Seventh Virginia to re-enforce him, and the attack was repulsed along the whole line. Young’s brigade, under Colonel Wright, was then dismounted and put into position, the enemy in the meantime using his artillery and small-arms rapidly. Soon after my line was established, Lieutenant-Colonel Crawley, commanding the Holcombe Legion (infantry), brought 200 men of his command to join me, and he was placed in the center of the line. With these troops the line, which was not a strong one, was held steadily all night, the enemy constantly making demonstrations and attacks upon it, but without the least impression. The fire of their artillery becoming very hot I directed Major Chew to place two guns (all I had) under Captain Graham, where they could respond. These guns were well served and rendered me great assistance. The position of the enemy, who had two line of works, was so strong that I could not attack it in front, so at daylight I threw portions of Butler’s and Rosser’s brigades, under the immediate direction of Brigadier-General Butler, on the left flank of the enemy. At the same moment Chambliss advanced the whole of the front line, and in a few moments we were in possession of both lines of works, the enemy retreating in confusion and leaving their dead and wounded on the ground. They were followed closely for two miles, when, finding that they had taken the road to Reams’ Station, I moved by Stony Creek, Depot, in order to get on the Halifax road to intercept them, should they attempt to cross below Reams’. Butler’s brigade was sent to Malone’s Crossing, and the other brigades were ordered to occupy the roads leading into the Halifax road. I moved up with Chambliss’ brigade, following Butler, and soon after crossing Rowanty Creek we met an advance of the enemy, who had struck the Halifax road between Butler and Chambliss. These were charged and scattered, when another party were reported crossing into the same road at Perkins’ house. I took a portion of the Thirteenth Virginia, and meeting them drove them back, and Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips pushed on, getting possession of the bridge over the Rowanty. Finding that a portion of the force which had crossed the creek had

taken a road leading east I sent Colonel Beale, of the Ninth Virginia, with two or three squadrons in pursuit. He followed them four miles, capturing a large number and scattering the rest. The force of the enemy was entirely broken and the fragments were seeking safety in flight in all directions. They scattered through the woods, and night coming on the pursuit had to cease. Knowing that a portion of the enemy were retreating toward the Nottoway River on the stage road I brought my command to Stony Creek Depot, which was the most central point, to let the men who had been fighting all the night previous obtain some rest, and that I might be where I could best intercept the party which was retreating west and south of me. My command was ordered to be ready to move at daylight, and I anxiously waited for some information which would indicate the point at which the enemy would attempt to cross the Nottoway River. I had not heard one word of the result of the fight at Reams’ Station, nor did I know the position of Major General Fitz Lee or of the enemy.

At 9 o’clock on the morning of the 30th of June I received a note directed to the “commanding officer Stony Creek Depot,” from General Fitz. Lee, saying that he was “still pursuing the enemy, capturing prisoners,” &c., and that he was five miles from Nottoway River, on the Hicksford road. The note went on to say that General Lee thought “the enemy after crossing the river will try to cross the railroad at Jarratt’s Depot,” and he wished all the available force sent to that point to intercept their march until he got up. I immediately moved my command in the direction of Jarratt’s Depot, but when I arrived within five miles of that place some of my scouts who had been sent on reported that the enemy had passed there at daylight. I then endeavored to intercept them on the road leading to Peters’ Bridge, but, though I made a rapid march, I found on striking the road that the rear of his column had passed two hours previously. Had there been proper concert of action between the forces at Reams’ and my own there would have been no difficulty in cutting off the party which escaped by Jarratt’s.

In the fight at Sappony Church and during the following day the enemy lost quite heavily in killed and wounded. We captured 806 prisoners, together with 127 negroes–slaves. My loss was 2 killed, 18 wounded, and 2 missing.

The reports from General Chambliss and Colonel Crawley have not been sent in. I regret to announce that the latter was severely wounded, and I beg to express my sense of the valuable services rendered to me by this officer and his command. General Chambliss, by his gallantry, his great zeal, and his knowledge of the country, contributed largely to the success we gained.

The officers and men of my own division behaved to my entire satisfaction, and the members of my staff gave me every assistance possible. Captain Graham, who had a section of his battery with me, did good service, and he was well supported by his command.

The pursuit of the enemy, which ended near Peters’ Bridge, closed the active operations which began on the 8th of June, when the movement against Sheridan commenced. During that time, a period of twenty-two days, the command had no rest, was badly supplied with rations and forage, marched upward of 400 miles, fought the greater portion of six days and one entire night, captured upward of 2,000 prisoners, many guns, small-arms, wagons, horses, and other materials of war, and was completely successful in defeating two of the most formidable and well organized expeditions of the enemy. This was accomplished at a

cost in my division of 719 killed, wounded, and missing, including 21 casualties in Chew’s battery (horse artillery), not mentioned in my previous report.

The men have borne their privations with perfect cheerfulness; they have fought admirably, and I wish to express before closing my report not only my thanks to them for their good conduct but my pride at having had the honor to command them.

I am, very respectfully, yours,

WADE HAMPTON,

Major-General.

Lieutenant-Colonel TAYLOR,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 807-810

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