No. 238. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin T. Hutchins, First New Hampshire Cavalry, of operations June 22 – July 2.1
HEADQUARTERS FIRST NEW HAMPSHIRE CAVALRY, Near Jordan’s Point, Va., July 3, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to instructions from brigade headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of the First New Hampshire Cavalry since June 22, 1864:
On the morning of June 22 my regiment commenced the line of march, following Lieutenant Maynadier’s battery. About 9 a.m. we crossed the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. We continued the march until about 10 p.m., when the column halted near Ford’s Station. One battalion of the regiment was detailed on picket duty in the rear.
June 23, this morning at 2 o’clock the regiment again moved, following the Third Indiana Cavalry. Passed Ford’s Station, which was then burning. During the forenoon my regiment was actively engaged in destroying the track of the Petersburg and Lynchburg railroad. About noon we halted at Blacks and Whites for about two hours and then moved on in the same order of march. About 3 o’clock we met the enemy on the railroad. They attacked us on our right flank. Together with the Third Indiana, we dismounted, horses led to the rear, and took our position on the skirmish line, the whole line upon the track. In this position we remained until 3 o’clock on the morning of the 24th when we were relieved by the Fifth New York Cavalry. During this engagement I had 1 commissioned officer and 7 enlisted men wounded and 2 missing.
June 24, at 6 a.m. my regiment relieved the Fifth New York Cavalry on the same line as we held yesterday. We did not remain here but about half an hour, when we carefully withdrew and joined the command. The regiment occupied the position of rear guard to the brigade during the day. About 3 p.m. we struck the Danville railroad
road and the regiment was actively engaged until dark in destroying this road. How effectually it was done you well know. About dark we went into camp near Keysville.
June 25, about 7 a.m. we resumed the march men and horses well rested, having unsaddled last night. We marched about ten miles today following the Eighth New York Cavalry. The destruction of the railroad was our work again to-day. About 5.30 p.m. I was ordered to dismount my regiment, the enemy having made his appearance in our rear. The right of my regiment rested at the church and the left on the river. The names of the church and stream I do not know. But few shots were exchanged here and the casualties in my regiment were none.
June 26, we withdrew from the skirmish line this morning at 3 o’clock and made a hasty march toward Staunton River, which place we reached about 5 a.m. As we passed Roanoke Station the enemy threw a few shells toward us, but did no damage. At 7 a.m. we halted and fed our horses. At 9 continued the march, and at 2 reached Christiansville. Here my whole command was well rationed with forage for the horses.
June 27, had the advance to-day, and moved on the Lawrenceville road until dark, when the column halted, and my regiment was on picket in the advance during the night.
June 28, at 4 a.m. we were relieved from picket duty and followed the Eighth New York Cavalry in the column. During the night the enemy attacked us, and the regiment was ordered to the front near Stony Creek. We remained here but a short time when the regiment was ordered to go with the battery. About sunrise we joined the command near Reams’ Station.
June 29, the first order which was received to-day was to support Maynadier’s battery. This, however, in a few moments was counter-manded and ordered to form line of battle ready for a charge. An order also came to lighten the saddles and dispose of surplus property. This order, I must say, did not tend to inspire my men, but rather led them to believe that they were the weaker party. Soon another order came to retire, and we led the advance during the day.
June 30, after marching all night we came near Jarratt’s Station. A strong advance guard (dismounted) was sent out. At daylight the advance moved to the station, and as near as could be ascertained, the advance saw sixteen mounted pickets of the enemy, who fired a volley and then hastily retired. About 3 p.m. we went into camp and remained until 7 p.m., when we took up the line of march again and moved rapidly until 1 a.m. of July 1, when we reached the Blackwater. A halt here of perhaps two hours was made and then we crossed and moved on toward Cabin Point. We here went into camp and remained until July 2, when we moved to this point.
In closing this report, allow me to say that, considering that three of my companies were entirely inexperienced and that the march during the eleven days was arduous and fatiguing, these men deserve great credit for their conduct.
During the march my entire list of casualties in wounded and missing is 38. Many of these I have every reason to believe will yet come in.
I have the honor, sir, to be your obedient servant,
B. T. HUTCHINS,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Brigadier, Third Div., Cav. Corps.
- 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 648-649 ↩