Number 170. Siege of Petersburg Report of Colonel Michael Kervin, Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Commanding Second Brigade, of operations February 5-7

   

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in Siege of Petersburg Reports (95)

No. 170. Report of Colonel Michael Kervin, Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Commanding Second Brigade, of operations February 5-7.1

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION,
February 15, 1865.

I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of this brigade during the late movement of the 5th, 6th, and 7th instant:

The brigade moved out on the morning of the 5th on the advance of the Second Cavalry Division; proceeded to Reams’ Station, Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry in advance, where, finding no enemy, we took up the line of march down the Halifax road as far as the Malone road, on which we moved in the direction of Dinwiddie Court-House. Struck the enemy’s pickets one mile from the Rowanty; forced them in rapidly on their reserve, which occupied a line of earth-works on the opposite side of the creek. The Thirteenth Pennsylvania was then dismounted and deployed on both sides of the road, with orders to advance and drive the enemy from its position, which it did. The Second Pennsylvania was then ordered up, and the bridge being repaired (the enemy having taken up the planks) charged across directly upon the enemy, who were now making for their horses, scattering

them in every direction and capturing 1 officer and 15 men. The Brigade then moved on to Dinwiddie Court-House, which place it reached early in the day, finding but few of the enemy there. A train of army wagons numbering 25, with 100 mules, together with 1 rebel colonel and 3 other officers (one of them having in his possession a rebel mail), were captured. After a short rest the brigade retraced its steps and arrived at the Rowanty in the evening, where it went into camp.

At 2 a.m. on the morning of the 6th marched in the direction of the Vaughan road, which we reached about daylight at a point four miles west of Hatcher’s Run. Reached the stream, massed the brigade, and the men fed their horses and breakfasted. About this time the enemy attacked our infantry line west of the Vaughan road, when the brigade was dismounted and formed in line of battle on the left of the infantry. Remained in this position for some hours, when, the enemy not attacking at this point, the brigade was mounted and moved out on the Vaughan road to near Gravelly Run, where a position was taken up south of the road, again on the left of the infantry. Soon an attack was made by the enemy in force along the whole line. The Sixteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry was then dismounted and ordered to charge the enemy’s right, assisted by the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, which they did in a most gallant manner, driving the enemy out of his works, capturing 66 men and 1 stand of colors, the latter by Sergeant Caldwell, Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry. The Fourth and Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, on the right, were ordered to charge at the same time, mounted, which they did very handsomely, driving the enemy into his works. In this charge Bvt. Brigadier General J. I. Gregg, who up to this time commanded the brigade, was wounded slightly in the leg, which compelled him to leave the field, when the command devolved upon me. The enemy were being forced back on the right, and the brigade remained in the position gained until late in the afternoon, when a force of the enemy advanced across Gravelly Run. The Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry was ordered to attack and force them back, which was done in a very spirited manner, the enemy using two guns which were in position on the opposite side of the run. The brigade soon after massed and remained on the field during the night.

At daylight on the morning of the 7th the enemy again attacked, when the brigade took up its position of the day previous across the Vaughan road. The enemy made no advance on this part of the line, and the brigade occupied the position during the day without being generally engaged; slight skirmishing, at intervals, only being kept up.

The following is a list of casualties: Killed, 1 officer and 8 men; wounded, 4 officers and 42 men; missing, 5 men; total, 5 officers, 55 men; aggregate, 60.*

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. KERWIN,
Colonel Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.

Bvt. Major H. C. WEIR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Cavalry Division.

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* But see revised table, p.68.

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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. 367-368

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