FIGHT AT STAUNTON RIVER BRIDGE.1
[For the Sentinel.]
Perhaps it would not be amiss to state in your columns the part taken by my company in the fight at Staunton River bridge, on Saturday, the 25th ult[imo] [June 25, 1864]. I was a convalescent in the hospital in Danville [Virginia], and was ordered by the commandant of that post2 to organize all furloughed soldiers into a corps, and proceed to the bridge, and report to Captain [Benjamin L.] Farinholt [of the 1st Virginia Reserves] commanding, to assist in defending the bridge. I arrived with my company, numbering 84 men, just as the artillery opened on our works, and took position in rear of our batteries, but did not remain there but a few minutes before the enemy dismounted and came in large force towards the bridge. Several companies were ordered across the bridge to reinforce Col. [Eaton] Coleman [of the 12th NC] who commanded on the north side of the river, some of whom positively refused to go.3 In this crisis the gallant Farinholt came to me and ordered me to take my command across, which I did at a double quick, under a furious fire from the enemy’s batteries, which were about 400 yards off, with the loss of two men wounded. I then took my position on the right of the bridge, with Captain Branch’s company of reserves, from Halifax county, Va., on my left, and Capt. Riddick, of Richmond, on my right.4
The enemy, about two thousand strong5, soon passed the depot, and advanced a strong line of skirmishers in my front, until within good, easy range of my rifles, when my regulars poured a very destructive fire into them, which caused them to break and run in disorder. They attempted three several [sic, separate] times to carry our rifle pits, but were as often met by the well aimed fire of Captain Branch’s, Captain Riddick’s and Lieutenant Lindsay’s companies, and driven to the rear in great disorder. The cannonading of the enemy soon slackened, and I have since learned that he moved two pieces of his artillery to the rear, to meet a well-times attack of Gen. W. H. F. Lee’s cavalry. My loss in the affair was one killed, four wounded and two missing, who were skirmishing, and, I fear, have been captured. The whole loss of our forces was eight killed and thirty-nine wounded. The enemy’s, eighty-six killed on the field, and some two or three hundred wounded. Captain Farinholt will endorse this statement.
T[homas]. W. Lindsay,
Lieut[enant]. Com[manding]. Regulars.
Lieutenant Lindsay, of the 49th North Carolina regiment, having reported to me with his command of eighty-four regulars, has rendered valuable and efficient service in the defence of this place, particularly in the fight of the 25th [of June 1864].
B[enjamin]. L. Farinholt [of the 1st Virginia Reserves]
Capt[ain]. Com[mmanding]. Post. [of Staunton River Bridge, Va.]6
SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte.
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- SOPO Editor’s Note: The Battle of Staunton River Bridge, fought on June 25, 1864 was one of many small fights during the Wilson-Kautz Cavalry Raid west and southwest of Petersburg. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: I have been unable to determine who was in command at Danville, Va. in late June 1864. If you know who was in command, please CONTACT US. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Colonel Coleman had been severely wounded at Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864, with a portion of his brains exposed. In spite of this, he had been slowly recovering until the Wilson-Kautz Raid. He was in the vicinity of the Staunton River Bridge when the raiders came that way, and so he volunteered his services despite his ill health. See Greg Eanes’ book Destroy the Junction: The Wilson-Kautz Raid: Battle for the Staunton River Bridge, page 61 for a recounting of this amazing story. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The 8th Virginia Reserves Battalion was stationed at Staunton River Bridge during the Second Offensive per F. Ray Sibley’s book The Confederate Order of Battle Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia. I am unsure if these reserve companies were part of that organization or another. If you know for sure, please CONTACT US. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Wilson’s raiders at this battle included the cavalry brigades of Spear (Kautz), West (Kautz), McIntosh (Wilson) and Chapman (Wilson). ↩
- “Fight at Staunton River Bridge.” The Sentinel (Daily) (Richmond, VA), July 2, 1864, p. 2, c. 2. ↩