OR XLVI P1 #215: Reports of Major Henry B. Scott, 4th MA Cav, April 6, 1865


in Appomattox Campaign Reports (95)

No. 215. Reports of Major Henry B. Scott, Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry (unattached).1

Near Richmond, Va., April 24, 1865.

I have the honor to transmit for the information of Your Excellency a report* of the engagement at High Bridge, Va., on the 6th instant, of a detachment of this regiment with the cavalry of General Lee’s army.

This engagement, although disastrous to the general in the loss of three excellent and very gallant officers killed and five officers wounded, has redounded greatly to the credit of the regiment and the State. Several rebel officers with whom I conversed after their capture spoke of it as the most gallant fight of the war. The numerous saber wounds given and the great mortality among the officers is good evidence of this, and the fact that Colonel Washburn, with less than seventy men, almost held his own against three brigades of cavalry, with the infantry of Lee’s army supporting them, needs no comment. I leave the two regiments of infantry under Colonel Washburn’s command out of the consideration, because it is generally conceded that their behavior was not creditable. I think there is no doubt that if the whole regiment had been under Colonel Washburn’s command we should have a different result to the engagement, and General Lee’s surrender been hastened two days. I am happy to inform Your Excellency that the colors of the regiment were not captured; at the suggestion of Surgeon Garvin they were burned by the color-sergeant, Thomas Hickey.


* See No. 216, p. 1168.


I would respectfully suggest, if the matter has not already received your attention, that a new set of colors be sent the regiment, and three company guidons for Companies I, L, and M, which, unfortunately, were captured when all the officers and men were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners. I shall have the honor to forward nominations for the vacancies caused by the deaths in battle as soon as I am advised by Colonel Washburn, who is now at home.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Major, Commanding Regiment.

His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW,
Governor of Massachusetts.

Near Richmond, Va., May 9, 1865.

COLONEL: I have the honor to forward, for the information of the major-general commanding the department, the inclosed report of the fight at High Bridge, Va., on the 6th ultimo, made by Lieutenant Lathrop, the senior officer of the regiment remaining unhurt.*

I respectfully ask your attention to the fact that of eleven officers engaged but three escaped uninjured, three officers being killed dead on the spot and five severely wounded, one of whom, Colonel Washburn, has since died, and ask that some official notice of their gallantry, as evidenced by their wounds, may be taken. I may add that all of these wounds are saber cuts or shots received at close quarters. The following officers were severely wounded, and merit brevets: Colonel Francis Washburn, since died; Lieutenant Colonel Horatio Jenkins, jr., pistol wound in arm; Captain Caldwell, in thigh; First Lieutenant Belcher, saber cut; Second Lieutenant Thompson, in abdomen. Captain Goddard, Captain Hodges and Lieutenant Davis were killed on the spot while displaying especial gallantry. All of the officers and men of the command behaved admirably and deserve praise. The discrimination has been made in recommending brevets in favor of those who are, and have been, suffering from wounds.

I am, colonel, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Major, Commanding Regiment.

Bvt. Colonel ED. W. SMITH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department.


* See next, post.



  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), pp. 1167-1168

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