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NP: June 22, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: Gary’s Cavalry Brigade Burns the James River Wharves, June 19, 1864

Destruction of Yankee Wharves—Another Brilliant Cavalry Victory Reported.

RICHMOND, June 21—The wharves at Wilcox’s Landing, Harrison’s Landing and Westover, all on the north side of James River, nearly opposite City Point, were totally destroyed by our cavalry on Sunday night [June 19, 1864]. The torch was applied by Col. Gary’s cavalry [brigade], and not a timber left.1

The [Richmond] Enquirer of this morning [June 21, 1864] reports that Sheridan was again routed yesterday [June 20, 1864]. This time near the White House on the Pamunkey River. Eight hundred prisoners and five or six pieces of artillery were captured. Our cavalry at last accounts were in pursuit.2 No official despatches received from any quarter this morning.3

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  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: I wasn’t sure of the validity of this information, but it is correct.  Thanks to Lisa Fulton, who is transcribing the letters of the Jeffers brothers and blogging about the experience, I was able to read an unpublished letter of Henry Jeffers of the 7th South Carolina Cavalry, written on June 20, 1864 to his father.  In this letter, Henry corroborates this report: “I wrote sister Annie, that I thought we would get to rest a few days, but Sunday morning we were ordered to mount, moving off in the direction of Harrisons Landing. I thought that the enemy had thrown a force back across the river to make a demonstration again on this side. But our business was to burn the extensive wharves built by the enemy at Harrisons and the different points on the River. This was done successfully and we returned to camp last night.” The partially unpublished diary of William G. Hinson, also of the 7th South Carolina Cavalry, notes this incident as well: “Sunday, went near to Chas City. Sent squad to burn bridges; returned unmolested.” I’ve added a line item for this event on my always growing Skirmishes and Actions page. If you have other accounts of this action, Contact us.  Not one of the regimental histories I looked at for Gary’s Brigade even mentioned this event.
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: This was an interesting engagement on June 20, 1864.  The Confederate Cavalry was still pursuing Sheridan’s two Union cavalry divisions after the June 11, 1864 Battle of Trevilian Station.  Sheridan was trying to reach the safety of the south bank of the James River. Luckily for the Federals, there were several Union Navy gunboats in the Pamunkey River who added the weight of their naval guns to the defense of White House.
  3. “Destruction of Yankee Wharves…” The Daily Express (Petersburg, VA). June 22, 1864, p. 1 col. 7
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Lisa Fulton September 15, 2020, 9:59 am


    Very cool to see the article, and your footnote for Henry Jeffers’ letter. And the new post on your skirmish page! Thanks for making the connection, and providing me with all the information.

    Regarding the second paragraph in the article, about the June 20th engagement near the White House on the Pamunkey, we can draw a little more information out of the same letter, written on that day to Henry’s father.

    “Camp 7th Regt.
    June 20th 1864

    Dear Pa,

    ….This morning Gen Gary received a dispatch from Hampton ordering him to send a Squadron to escort a Battery of Artillery from Bottoms Bridge to Tunstalls Station and saying that he would be happy if it was so that Gary’s Brigade could participate in the fight he expected to have. As we are the only troops guarding Richmond between the James and Bottoms Bridge the Brigade could not go. We now hear cannonading in the direction of the White House and suppose Hampton has commenced the fight. If he whips Sheridan again and gets him down between the Chickahominy & James we may have a chance at him…”

    Regards, Lisa

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