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OR XLII P1 #11: Report of Brigadier General Marsena R. Patrick, Provost-Marshal-General, AotP, July 30-November 1, 1864

Numbers 11. Report of Brigadier General Marsena R. Patrick, U. S. Army, provost-Marshal-General, Army of the Potomac, of operations July 30-November 1.1


November 18, 1864.

GENERAL: In compliance with instructions from your headquarters of this date, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this command, from July 30, 1864, until November 1, 1864.

This report can be subdivided as follows:

First. The operations of the infantry: From July 30, 1864, until August 25, the infantry force of this command, consisting of the Sixth-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers and One hundred and fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, remained in camp, discharging their regular duties, the former guarding prisoners at these headquarters, the latter doing guard duty at general headquarters Army of the Potomac. August 25, sent to occupy the position in our front held by a brigade of the Third Division, Second Corps, from which duty they were relieved on

the morning of the 26th instant and returned to these headquarters. The infantry remained in camp from the last-mentioned date until September 30, when they were ordered to the rear of the army to occupy a position near Prince George Court-House, Va. Until October 6 the command remained in that-vicinity, during which time they completed several unfinished fortifications and picketed the country from Prince George Court-House to Fort Bross, on the Norfolk railroad. October 6, they were relieved by a portion of the Second Corps and returned to their old camps at these headquarters. October 8, were sent to occupy the breast-works in our front, immediately to the left of Fort Howard. On the evening of the same day were relieved and returned to their old position. Remained here until October 26, when they accompanied general headquarters to Poplar Grove Church, where camp was pitched for the night. On the morning of October 27 were ordered to hold the breast-works between Forts Welch and Fisher, in the vicinity of the Pegram house. The command held this position until relieved on the evening of October 28, when it returned to their old camp near these headquarters, where they remained in the discharge of their regular duties until November 1, 1864. During these operations no casualties occured in the infantry.

Second. The operations of the cavalry: From July 30 until September 30 the cavalry force of this command, consisting of the battalion of six companies of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, and Company K, First Indiana Cavalry, the whole under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh, of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, remained in camp near these headquarters, their duties consisting mainly in furnishing escorts for prisoners and also patrols on the main roads within the lines of this army, for the purpose of preventing fast riding. In this connection it might be well to state that the squadron of the First Massachusetts Cavalry, though reported as a portion of this command, are during active operations attached to the staff of the major-general commanding, and are not subject directly to orders form this office. September 30, the cavalry accompanied the infantry to Prince George Court-House, performing picket duty in conjunction with the latter, though during the time they were on this duty forces were daily sent out to scour the country in the rear of our lines, in many instances discovering and giving chase to rebel guerrillas, though no captures of any account were made. October 5, this force was relieved and returned to their old camp near these headquarters. From this date until October 26 the cavalry remained stationary, performing escort duty, &c., as mentioned above. The operations of this force from October 26 until October 29 I give in Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh’s own words:

At 8 a. m. of the 27th of October I received an order from yourself to report with my command to Lieutenant-Colonel Spaulding, Fiftieth New York Engineers. i complied, and was ordered by him to dismount my command and occupy the line of breast-works in front of the Peebles house. Here I remained until about 12 m., when I received further orders form you to move with my command to the front and report for instructions to Major-General Warren, and in case he could not be found, to Major-General Meade. I reported to General Warren, at his headquarters, which were at Armstrong’s Mill, and from him I received orders to report to General Meade, whom I found on the extreme left near the scene of the engagement of the Second Corps. I reported as ordered, and returned with him to the Armstrong house, when, it being just before dark, by his order I was instructed to picket the Vaughan road to the crossing of the Hatcher’s, also the telegraph road to its intersection with the Vaughan. This order I complied with and had the pickets so arranged from both reserves as to connect. On the morning of the 28th I received instructions from Captain Emory, by order of Major-General Humphreys, to report to General Warren.

This I did in person and explained to him the position occupied by my cavalry. He ordered to return to my command and remain until further orders. At 10.45 a. m. I received the following dispatch:


“October 28, 1864-10 a. m.

“Major WALSH:

“Withdraw your cavalry after General Egan gets clear of the road. He is going to move from General Meade’s headquarters over to the Vaughan road, and follow General Mott’s division.




This order I complied with to the best of my ability, but the enemy’s cavalry coming in in large force on the road leading to the saw-mill from General Hancock’s battle-ground drove in the pickets that I had taken the precaution to place there under charge of Captain Majtheny, of the First Indiana Cavalry, causing them to fall back upon the combined reserves of Captains Majtheny and Carter. After checking the advance of the enemy by two well-directed volleys, this reserve fell back across Hatcher’s Creek, when I ordered up another company under command of Captain Hess, in the meantime sending word to General Warren notifying him of the approach of the enemy’s cavalry. I succeeded in holding the enemy in check for some time, when I was forced back upon the infantry, which I found in line of battle, commanded by General Bartlett and superintended by General Warren in person. i now received verbal instructions from General Warren to report to General Parke as soon as the rear of General Bartlett’s brigade had fallen back. This I did as soon as notified by General Bartlett that he had withdrawn his pickets and returned to camp in rear of the Ninth Corps.


Lieutenant-Colonel Third Pennsylvania Cavalry.

From this time until November 1, 1864, the cavalry remained in camp at these headquarters.

The casualties during the above operations in the cavalry were 1 man and 6 horses wounded.

From July 30 until November 1, 1864, forty safe-guards for houses of resident citizens have been sent out from the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry and four companies of the Sixty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and three companies of the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry have been sent to City Point performing provost duty at that place and on the mail boats plying between Washington and the Point.

I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Provost-Marshall-General, Army of the Potomac.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.


  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), pages 203-205
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