Number 206. Appomattox Report of Colonel John J. Coppinger, Fifteenth New York Cavalry

   

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in Appomattox Campaign Reports (95)

No. 206. Report of Colonel John J. Coppinger, Fifteenth New York Cavalry.1

HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH NEW YORK CAVALRY,
Near Nottoway Station Court-House, Va., April 16, 1865.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from headquarters Second Brigade, I have the honor to report the operations of this regiment since March 27, 1865, as follows:

The command reached camp near Petersburg, Va., on the 27th day of March, 1865; remained there for two days. Proceeded on the morning of the 30th of March, 1865, to Stony Creek Cross-Roads, and performed

picket duty until the night of the 31st of March, 1865, when part of the regiment was detailed to lay corduroy and assist in lifting out wagons that were stuck in the mud.

April 1, at about 11 a.m. reached Dinwiddie Court-House, Va.; rested in vicinity of Court-House until 1 p.m.; proceeded then to the front (Five Crossings), on the left of our line, under command of colonel Second Brigade. Our regiment being in advanced, was ordered to take down the fences in front of the enemy’s works (consisting of log and rail fortifications, with batteries behind them) and to throw out skirmishers, after which the regiment was ordered to charge the works. We were twice repulsed with some loss; rallied and charged the third time, under a heavy cross fire of the enemy’s musketry and artillery, in a different direction, more to the left, being more successful; we drove the enemy in disorder, thereby capturing a number of prisoners; proceeded about two miles to the front, and after dispersing the enemy returned and encamped upon the battle ground.

Our casualties were as follows: 5 killed, 27 wounded, 5 missing.

April 2, marched in the direction toward Appomattox River, distance about twelve miles; went into camp about 7 p.m.; heavy firing during the evening and night. The next morning the enemy disputed our advance at Namozine Church; we charged and captured a number of prisoners and horses. First Sergt. John McGough, Company A, was killed here.

April 3, at night went on picket at Five Cross-Road, distance about twenty miles from Namozine Church, and by aid of Major Young, chief of scouts, captured and brought into our lines General Barringer and part of his staff, the regiment being detached from the brigade at the time. April 4, marched thirty-one miles; encamped near Amelia Court-House; broke camp about 11 p.m. and reached Jetersville next day, making fifteen miles.

The following day the regiment went with the brigade on a reconnaissance to Amelia Court-House, and joined the division near Harper’s farm same night.

April 7, reached neighborhood of Prospect Station and went on picket until morning of April 8; marched by Prospect Station and Prince Edward Court-House in direction toward Appomattox Court-House; struck railroad about 6 p.m.; heard heavy skirmishing and artillery firing, and were ordered to charge the enemy through the woods, the first and part of the second battalions being deployed as skirmishers in an open field to our right. The enemy continued to throw shell and canister. We then were ordered to advance, driving the enemy and capturing a number of prisoners, guns, caissons, wagons, and ambulances. A portion of the regiment charged up as far as Appomattox Court-House, where the enemy was found in force, thus rendering necessary for our troops to return to camp near railroad.

Casualties on the night of the 8th: 2 killed, 5 wounded, and 1 missing. Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel Augustus I. Root, who was shot about fifteen rods from [the] Appomattox court-house while gallantly performing his duty in the extreme advance.

April 9, at about 8 a.m. struck camp near railroad and moved with the Third Cavalry Division upon a line almost parallel with the enemy’s line for a distance of about one mile and a half, part of this time under fire of the enemy’s artillery, to a point opposite and near Appomattox Court-House, when a flag of truce of the enemy made its appearance in front of our column, which soon returned to the enemy’s lines after

having a conference with Major-General Custer. A skirmish with Hampton’s cavalry on the right now took place; we drove the enemy. Our loss on the morning of the 9th was 1 killed and 3 wounded.

Total loss of Fifteenth New York Cavalry since March 27, 1865: Killed, 9; wounded, 35; missing, 6.*

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN J. COPPINGER,
Colonel Fifteenth New York Cavalry, Commanding Regiment.

Captain J. J. McCVEAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade, Third Division.

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*But see revised table, p. 591.

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Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), pp. 1138-1140

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