CAMP FIRST NEW JERSEY CAVALRY, On Jerusalem Plank Road, December 4, 1864.
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 1st instant the First New Jersey Cavalry moved, with the rest of the division, toward Stony Creek Station, on the Weldon railroad, which place the head of the column reached at about 12 m., where lange quantity of stores were destroyed. Two guns and 185 prisoners and 6 wagons were captured. The Second Brigade being in the advance, this regiment was not engaged until the division commenced to retire, when we had the honor of covering the rear. The regiment was heavily pressed by the enemy, but the men and officers behaved with their accustomed gallantry and coolness. They were successfully repulsed in every attack. Our loss was small. Lieutenant Dalziel, commanding the extreme rear guard, was wounded in the thigh, but was not obliged to relinquish his command. First Sergt. John D. Williams, of Company A, and Private G. H. Townley, of Company E, also received flesh wounds. I neglected to state that at Duval’s Station the regiment was ordered to destroy a large quantity of railroad iron and to burn a number of rebel work-shops, which was accordingly done.
HUGH H. JANEWAY,
Governor JOEL PARKER,
Trenton, N. J.
GOVERNOR: I have the honor to report that at 5 o’clock on the morning of the 7th instant the instant the division broke camp and moved on the Jerusalem plank road to the Nottoway River, which we forded. The Second Brigade having the advance, the regiment was not engaged. The division camped for the night at Sussex Court-House. The next morning, at 4 o’clock, the column moved toward Jarratt’s Station, on the Weldon railroad, the regiment having the advance. Captain Hughes, of Company C, commanded the extreme advance guard, composed of the first squadron, under Lieutenant Dalziel, and the third (his own) squadron. Captain Hughes met with some resistance, but no loss, and drove the enemy steadily until ordered to halt for the night at Jarrat’s Station, after a march of about twenty miles. During the night the railroad was torn up and burned in our rear by the infantry of General Warren’s command. The following morning, the 9th instant, we moved at daylight, our brigade still having the advance. The regiment, however, was not engaged until we crossed a small stream called Three Creeks, when we were again assigned to the post of honor, as, indeed, we usually are when there is work to be done. Captain Brooks, with the fifth squadron N(Companies K and H, the latter under Lieutenant Craig, now captain Company A),l was directed to charge a superior force of the the enemy, which he did in the most gallant style, although he was obliged to move on a narrow road through a thick wood. After charging nearly a mile, Captain Brooks came upon an abatis perfectly impassable for horses. Here he halted, and under a heavy fire from the enemy’s rifle-pits held his position until the rest of the regiment arrived. I then obtained permission to dismount the regiment and formed a heavy skirmish line in the edge of the woods. At the command “charge,” every officer and man sprang forward with a wild cheer, each seeming to vie with the other in the effort to be the first to reach the rifle-pits, from which the enemy were pouring a destructive fire. Almost in less time than it taken to write it, the rifle-pits were ours, the rebels retreating in rapid disorder across the railroad bridge. The charge was made under the heaviest fire of artillery to which it has ever been my fortune to be exposed, from strong forts not 500 yards distant from the line we took. As our superiors thought it best not to advance farther, the regiment was obliged to remain in the rifle-pits for the three hours of daylight still left us exposed to the fire of guns served with the most murderous accuracy, unable to move about to keep the blood in circulation, although entirely unprotected from a heavy rain which froze as it fell.
During the whole period of my service with the regiment I have never seen officers so men display greater gallantry or more soldierly endurance of hardships. Major W. R. Robbins, of this regiment, acting assistant inspector-general on the staff of the brigade commander, who was continually with the advance, received a bullet through his hat, and Captain Craig had his horse shot in the charge with Captain Books. I am happy to inform Your Excellency that no officers were hurt save Lieutenant Reed, who received a severe shell wounded in his shoulder, from the effects of which he died before we returned to our present camp. Lieutenant Reed had not received his commission, but I shall forward it to his smother. He was one of the most promising officers in the regiment, and his loss is universally regretted. On the
10th the division returned to Coman’s Well, and next marched back to our old camp at this place, which we reached at about 1 a. m. on the 12th instant.
I inclose the list of killed and wounded among the enlisted men. This was beyond question the most severe and trying rail in which the regiment has ever participated.
I have the honor to be, governor, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HUGH H. JANEWAY,
His Excellency JOEL PARKER,
Governor of New Jersey.
- 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 632-634 ↩