Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
BATTLE OF FUSSELL’S MILLS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE EXAMINER:
One is surprised at the amount and accuracy of the information you give the publick in regard to the movements of the army, and of particular portions and transactions of it. As accurate and full as you generally are, some things happen which you do not hear of. The fault is not yours, for you must be dependent upon others for facts to instruct the publick and prepare materials for future history.
The repulse of the enemy on Sunday, [August] 14th, at Fussell’s Mill, has not been alluded to by any of our papers, though the Yankee papers speak of it as a “severe repulse,” in which they lost three hundred men. It deserves, from its important results, to be given to the publick. The Darbytown or Central road passes immediately below the mill and into the rear of the line of hills crowned by our works at Mrs. Fussell’s, Camp Hill, &c.—Early on Sunday (14th) the enemy appeared on the opposite or east side of the mill-pond. General [Martin W.] Gary, with the Seventh South Carolina [Cavalry] and Hampton Legion [Cavalry] (dismounted) had possession of our works on the opposite or west of the mill-pond. At ten o’clock the Twenty-fourth Virginia [Cavalry] arrived and was soon in the works. A very brisk fire from the sharpshooters was begun and kept up on both sides. At five o’clock, hearing that the enemy’s cavalry had appeared on the Charles City road, the Twenty-fourth was ordered out to see after them. In passing from the works to our led horses the enemy saw us and made a vigorous charge for the purpose of getting possession of the Darbytown road. Colonel [William T.] Robins immediately led his regiment back, and for twenty minutes the firing was furious. The enemy was repulsed and driven back, and every man of them who reached the road was either killed or captured. We lost none killed. Colonel Robins was slightly wounded in the arm. One or two others were also slightly wounded. The enemy did not renew the assault that evening, and the road was finally saved.
The great importance of this success was in holding the Darbytown road; for had the enemy got possession of it he would inevitably have gotten in the rear of Fussell’s and Camp hills, and with these in his possession he would have had the command of all three roads, the Charles City, the Darbytown and the New Market. And it is very easy to see how difficult it would have been to prevent his advance upon Richmond.
General Gary led his men gallantly; all fought bravely. The Twenty-fourth distinguished itself, for said some of the Seventh South Carolina, as the Twenty-fourth rushed to the attack, “See the gallant Twenty-fourth: they can fight.” And the brave boys of Company F were not behind the foremost.1
- “Battle of Fussell’s Mills.” Richmond Examiner. September 2, 1864, p. 1 col. 3 ↩