Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
THE SECOND VIRGINIA CAVALRY…TREVILLIAN’S AND NANCE’S SHOP.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE EXAMINER:
As there are no official reports published now, and those who give accounts of battles must confine their statements to the [illegible] commands in which they are stationed, only partial accounts can appear in print, and injustice is often done, though unintentionally, to other commands. I propose, therefore, to give you a short statement of the part borne by the Second Virginia cavalry regiment, Colonel Thomas T. Munford, (Wickham’s brigade), in the engagements at Trevillians’s depot and Nance’s shop, on the 11th and 22d [SOPO: sic, the battle, known as Saint Mary’s Church by the Federals, occurred on June 24, not June 22] of June, instant.
The regiment first encountered the enemy at Gooch’s farm and attacked him in his flank; but as he was moving on rapidly and General Fitzhugh Lee did not desire to bring on a general engagement before he had united his force with that of General Hampton, which was near Trevillian’s, our men were withdrawn without inflicting material damage upon the enemy. Discovering that General Custer, who commanded that portion of Sheridan’s force, was moving by a farm road to strike the railroad between Louisa Court House and Trevillian’s depot, the Second regiment was left to watch his movements, while the rest of our brigade, together with Lomax’s brigade, moved around to head him off. In the meantime General Hampton was engaging the rest of Sheridan’s forces at Trevillian’s. The Yankees, however, succeeded in preventing a junction of Lee and Hampton’s divisions. When our regiment rejoined the brigade, about three miles from Louisa Court House, we were ordered to support Brethead’s artillery, then retiring for a position. They had scarcely gotten into position before the Yankees appeared in force on our left. Colonel Munford did not await orders, but ordered the artillery to open fire upon them, and sent General Wickham word that he had commenced the attack, charging gallantly at the head of his regiment, driving the Yankees and scattering them like sheep, capturing three of Custer’s headquarter wagons, containing his trunks, clothes, &c., continued to press down upon them, charging battery “M,” the best battery in the United States army, capturing and bringing off four caissons—two with eight horses and two with six—with all their drivers and cannoniers, forcing the latter to mount and bring with us their own caissons and splendid horses; and capturing also some fifty men and horses belonging to the battery, and cavalry with their horses. We brought off all the baggage of the battery; and, if our regiment had been supported, would have carried off the guns.—The Yankees opened upon us at fifty yards, with grape and canister; but their gunners were so frightened that they fired wildly, and our loss was only two killed and nine wounded, and about as many horses killed and wounded. We have Custer’s uniform complete in our regiment, his commission as brigadier, and all his letters. We also re-captured, in this engagement, two of Major Chew’s caissons and three of his wagons, which the enemy had taken from General Hampton’s division in the morning. Custer had a negress with him as cook, who was placed in one of his best conveyances, driving in state, and had cooking utensils enough to supply a first class hotel. His letters show a depravity in Northern society beyond anything our people could imagine; and if they could be published, they would fully expose the villainy of high officers in Yankee commands, and the condition of affairs at the North.
On Sunday General Lee had united his forces with Hampton; and Butler, in Hampton’s division, being heavily pressed, about four o’clock Wickham’s brigade was ordered to support Butler, and the Second regiment occupied the extreme left; the enemy threatening us and making a demonstration with a whole division, but not engaging us heavily. In the meantime Lomax made a flank movement, under the immediate command of General Fitzhugh Lee, which turned the tide of battle and put the enemy to flight. The result of the victory, having been heretofore officially published, need not be repeated here.
THE BATTLE AT NANCE’S SHOP.
From prisoners we ascertained that the enemy, under Generals Gregg and Custer, having one division of Sheridan’s forces, supposing that but a small portion of our force was near them, determined to capture the whole of that force. The truth was, our whole force was within supporting distance of our pickets, Colonels Gary and Wright commanding brigades, and Generals Chambliss Butler and Wickham in position, with Lomax held in reserve. The pickets of Gary and Butler were attacked near Nance’s shop. Wickham’s brigade being on the extreme right, and on a country road, the Second regiment being in front, we moved up to form line of battle, our regiment having its left on the country road, the Third and Fourth regiments forming on our left. Sending forward our skirmishers, we soon found the enemy in our front and to our right. The First regiment was then ordered into position on our right. Before we had been long in position we heard heavy skirmishing on our left, and soon ascertained that our forces were attacking the enemy, when we had orders to move forward. The regiment on our right (the First) did not get its orders in time to move with us, so we advanced alone. Our cavalry were dismounted, and with Colonel Munford on foot with us, we advanced rapidly across an open field and attacked the enemy, finding him strongly posted in the woods behind two lines of breastworks and heavily supported by artillery. We drove the enemy from his two lines of works, and got to within less than one hundred yards of his artillery, which we charged and would have captured if the support on our right had been in place. In this galling fire of grape and canister from the enemy’s artillery, the gallant Captain W. W. Tibbs, commanding company H, was instantly killed by a grape shot, and Lieutenants Wade and Comer severely wounded. Sergeant Lowry, and privates Menifee, Ward and Wright were killed, and fifteen others wounded. We pursued the enemy about four miles, through the broiling hot sun, killing many in the pursuit.
No regiment in the army has seen harder service, or been oftener in the “imminent deadly breach,” since the commencement of the war, than the Second Virginia cavalry; and let the fortunes of war be what they will—let the winds blow or the sun shine—they will always be found ready and willing to follow their gallant leader to victory or death. T.1
- “The Second Virginia Cavalry…Trevillian’s and Nance’s Shop.” Richmond Examiner. July 1, 1864, p. 1 col. 5 ↩