Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin. Portions of this article not pertaining to the Siege of Petersburg and related military actions do not appear here.
THE RESULT OF GENERAL SHERIDAN’S RAID— A VICTORY AT TREVILLIAN’S STATION—DESTRUCTION OF A PART OF THE VIRGINIA CENTRAL RAILROAD—LOSSES OF THE REBELS—OUR CAPTURES.
WASHINGTON, June 18, 11 o’clock, P. M.—Major General Dix:—Despatches from General Sheridan have just been received. He reports a victory over the enemy at Trevillian station, on the Virginia Central railroad, a few miles south of Gordonsville, where General Lee, a few days ago, reported a rebel victory.
The official report is as follows:
I have the honour to report to you the arrival of my command at this point, and also to report its operations since leaving New Castle ferry. I crossed the Pamunkey river on the 7th instant, marching via Aylett’s, and encamped on Herring creek.
On the morning of the 8th I resumed the march via Polecat station, and encamped three miles west of the station. On the 9th I marched through Childsburg and New Market, encamping on East North East creek, near Young’s bridge.
On the 10th, marched VIA Andrew’s tavern and Teviman’s store, crossing both branches of the North Anna and encamped at Buck Childs’, about three miles north of Trevillian station.
My intention was to break the railroad at this station, march through Mechanicsville, cut the Gordonsville and Charlottesville railroad near Lindsay’s house, and then to march on Charlottesville.
But on our arrival at Buck Childs’ house, I found the enemy’s cavalry in my immediate front.
On the morning of the 11th, General Torbert, with his division and Colonel Gregg’s brigade, of General Gregg’s division, attacked the enemy, and, after an obstinate contest, drove him from successive lines of breastworks, through an almost impassable forest, back on Trevillian station.
In the meantime General Custer was ordered, with his brigade, to proceed by a county road so as to reach the station in the rear of the enemy’s cavalry. On his arrival at this point the enemy broke into a complete rout, leaving his dead and nearly all of his wounded in our hands; also, twenty officers, five hundred men and three hundred horses.
These operations occupied the whole of to-day. At night I encamped at Trevillian station, and on the morning of the twelfth commenced destroying the railroad from this point to Louisa Court House. This was thoroughly done, the ties being burned, and the rails rendered unserviceable. The destruction of the railroad occupied until three o’clock of this day.
I directed General Torbert to advance with his division and General Davis’ brigade, of General Gregg’s division, in the direction of Gordonsville, and attack the enemy, who had concentrated and been reinforced by infantry during the night, and had also constructed rifle pits at a point about five miles from Gordonsville.
The advance was made, but as the enemy’s position was found too strong to assault, no general attack was made.
On the extreme right of our lines a portion of the reserve brigade carried the enemy’s works twice, and was twice driven therefrom by infantry. Night closed the contest.
I found on the examination of the command that there was not a sufficiency of ammunition left to continue the engagement the next day. Trains of cars also came down to where we were engaged with the enemy.
The reports of prisoners and citizens were that Pickett’s old division, or a portion of it, were coming to prevent the taking of Gordonsville. I therefore, during the night and next morning, withdrew my command over the North Anna, via Carpenter’s ford, near Miner’s bridge.
In addition, the animals were for the two entire days in which we were engaged, without forage.—The surrounding country afforded nothing but grazing of a very inferior quality, and generally at such points as were inaccessible to us.
The cavalry engagement of the 12th was by far the most brilliant one of the present campaign.
The enemy’s loss was very heavy. They lost the following named officers in killed and wounded:—Colonel McAlister, commanding a regiment, killed; Brigadier General Rosser, commanding a brigade, wounded; Colonel Aken, commanding a regiment, wounded; Colonel Cutter, commanding a regiment, wounded.
My loss in killed and wounded will be about five hundred and seventy-five. Of this number four hundred and ninety were wounded. I brought off, in my ambulances three hundred and seventy-seven—all that could be transported.
The remainder were, with a number of rebel wounded that fell into my hands, left behind. Surgeons and attendants were detailed, and remained in charge of them.
I captured and have now with me three hundred and seventy prisoners of war, including twenty commissioned officers. My loss in captured will not exceed one hundred and sixty. They were principally from the Fifth Michigan cavalry.
This regiment gallantly charged down the Gordonsville road, capturing fifteen hundred horses and about eight hundred men, but were finally surrounded and had to give them up.
When the enemy broke, they hurried between General Custer’s command and Colonel Gregg’s brigade, capturing five caissons of Pennington’s battery, three of which were afterwards recaptured, leaving in their hands two caissons.
A more detailed report will be made hereafter.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
WASHINGTON, June 19, 9.45, P. M.—Major-General Dix, New York: This evening a despatch from City Point, dated at nine o’clock this morning, reached the department.
It reports that our forces advanced yesterday to within about a mile in front of Petersburg, where they found the enemy occupying a new line of intrenchments, which, after successive assaults, we failed to carry, but hold and have intrenched our advanced positions.
From the forces of the enemy within the enemy’s new line, it is inferred that Beauregard has been reinforced from Lee’s army.
No report has been received by the department concerning the casualties of our army in its operations since crossing the James river, except the death of Major Morton, mentioned yesterday.
General Sherman reports to-day that the enemy gave way last night, in the midst of darkness and storm. The whole army is now in pursuit as far as Chattahoochee. I start at once for Marietta. No military intelligence from any other quarter has been received to-day. EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
ASTUTENESS OF LEE.
The correspondent of the Washington CHRONICLE with Grant’s army writes:
Lee displays his old astuteness. A general with less foresight would have pursued us here and endeavoured to annoy us while crossing. Though deceived in our manner of getting the Chickahominy behind us, he appears, by his absence, to know just when to expect us; and when we arrive at the “point proposed,” we will find Lee and his fleet-footed Virginians already there. PERHAPS he may march through Richmond. Imagine the consternation of its inhabitants and the wild conjectures of the timid ones! The city is filled to overflowing with every individual whose home is anywhere within a radius of ten miles. Terrour, confusion and famine are there. The end is at hand.1
- “The Result of General Sheridan’s Raid.” Richmond Examiner. June 24, 1864, p. 3 col. 3-5 ↩