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OR XLII P1 #345: Report of Colonel W. Evans, 1st MD Cav, commanding 3/Cav/AotJ, December 10, 1864

No. 345. Report of Colonel W. Evans, First Maryland Cavalry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations December 10.1

In the Field, Va., December 13, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that the part taken by this command in the engagement of Saturday last (10th instant) was entirely of a passive nature. The pickets of this brigade were driven in about sunrise on that morning by the enemy’s infantry-a strong skirmish line supported by a heavy line of battle. The pickets retired fighting to the wood this side of the Johnson house, where they were, as soon as possible, re-enforced by the whole brigade, and that line was maintained during the remainder of the day. Having cleared the Darbytown road, the enemy made no further attack upon my lines, but kept a strong skirmish line across the fields in front of the wood, with reserves in the old breast-works, where they also placed two pieces of artillery. In the meantime heavy columns of their troops were moving both up and down the Darby road, and I should judge there were moving both up and down the Darby road, and I should judge there were in sight at any one time not less than 3,000 men. Their skirmish line in the Johnson house field threw up seventy-five rifle-pits in that part where they had no other shelter. My line maintained throughout the day connection with the brigade on my right. In the afternoon the bulk of the enemy’s force moved to our right and attacked upon New Market Heights. In the night the enemy retired by the Darby road toward their camps, and shortly after midnight had entirely disappeared from our front. The night, however, was so thick and inclement that I did not judge it advisable to advance until notified by the brigade commander on my right that he had re-established his old picket-line upon the Darby road. My line was then moved forward and resumed its original position between 2 and 3 a.m. of the 11th instant, and the remainder of the brigade returned to camp at about 9 o’clock of that morning. I had upon the field 876 men. The enemy left a light picket-line in about its original position. The morning was too foggy to distinguish their camps. All of our troops behaved with proper spirit.

I have to add that nothing else of importance has occurred upon my picket-line since my report of the 7th instant and up to this morning.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel First Maryland Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.


  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), page 844
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