HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, SECOND DIV., CAVALRY CORPS, November 21, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of my brigade during the movement across the James River in the month of July last and for the month of August. During the whole of the month of August I was absent sick from the brigade, and can only give a brief and incomplete report of the occurrences of that period:
On the 26th day of July my command was in camp near Light-House Point, Va., on the James. In the afternoon of that day I moved from my camp, and after marching during the entire night, crossing the Appomattox River at Point of Rocks, reached the James River, and crossed that near Dutch Gap the following morning.
During the 27th the command lay on the north side of the James, not engaged.
On the 28th the brigade, in advance of the division, moved out toward the Quaker road, passing the First Division, Cavalry Corps. On getting beyond the right flank of the First Division, the column was attacked on the left flank, and before the brigade could be properly brought into position it was hotly engaged with Kershaw’s division of the enemy’s infantry. The position in which I was obliged to fight was exceedingly disadvantageous for the movements of cavalry, and the roads narrow and wooded on each side. I was obliged to dismount my command to fight, and for some time succeeded in holding the enemy in check. The First Pennsylvania Cavalry, on my right and the First New Jersey, in the center of my line, behaved with great spirit and bravery, and the other regiments all did their duty admirably and behaved
as well as men could do. A charge made by the enemy was repelled and they were driven back to the woods in confusion, but the second charge, made in grater force and with great determination, was successful in driving my men from the field. In falling back I regret to report that one gun belonging to Lieutenant Dennison’s battery was lost, all the horses belonging to the piece were killed, and the support driven off by an overpowering force of the enemy. The gun had been left nearly in rear as my men were retiring for the purpose of protecting the retreat of a number of led horses and of men who were nearly cut off by the enemy’s advance, and it answered that purpose well, and without it my loss would have been much greater that it was. No possible blame can attach to Lieutenant Dennison, who behaved with great courage and gallantry, and I can only consider the loss as one of the inevitable casualties of war.
On the 29th the brigade remained under arms all day dismounted, the horse having been sent across the river anticipating an attack.
During the night of the 29th and the morning of the 30th the brigade recrossed the James River, and then marched, crossing the Appomattox, to Lee’s Mill. During this march I was relieved in command of the brigade by Colonel Stedman, Sixth Ohio Cavalry, and went to hospital. On reaching Lee’s Mill in the afternoon of the 30th the brigade engaged and drove from that point a force of the enemy’s cavalry.*
H. E. DAVIES, Jr.,
Captain A. H. BIBBER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Cavalry Corps.
*For continuation of report, see Vol. XLII, Part I.
- The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 618-619 ↩