No. 261. Report of Colonel Robert M. West, Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, First Brigade.1
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY,
Near Richmond, Va., April 29, 1865.
SIR: I respectfully submit herewith a brief synopsis of the operations of this regiment during the late campaign.
Left camp near New Market Heights, Va., a dusk on the evening of Mach 28, 1865, crossing the Appomattox and James Rivers; arrived in camp late at night near Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad; strength, 21 officers and 545 enlisted men. At this camp Company G, Twentieth New York Cavalry, reported to me, having come up during the night from New Market Heights; strength of company, fifty-three aggregate. March 29, at 8 o’clock, marched to the left of the Petersburg lines, and encamped within those lines. Evening of same day resumed march and moved to a position in rear of the army, and near Reams’ Station, on the Weldon railroad, where we bivouacked and remained dong picket duty until April 1. Left camp at 4 a. m. and marched to General Sheridan’s command, near Dinwiddie Court-House. Took up position in support of a battery there; remained about one hour; resumed march, struck the enemy on White Oak road in about three hours; dismounted and had some skirmishing, capturing two prisoners. The Fifth Corps coming up, the regiment was mounted had taken into action on the right of our infantry, striking the enemy’s left and rear. The regiment charged mounted (Company G, Twentieth New York Cavalry, participating) through the woods. The enemy gave way, threw down their arms, and fled. We captured many prisoners. Camped for the night on the battle-ground.
April 2, remained in vicinity of yesterday’s fight, guarding Gravelly Ford, and skirmishing heavily with the enemy until noon, when march was resumed. Crossed South Side Railroad at Sutherland’s Station; joined General Merritt’s command; turned to the right; marched toward Petersburg until about 10 p. m., and encamped. April 3, marched at daylight; reached the Appomattox River, at Leonard’s Mills, at about 10 a. m., in search of stragglers from the rebel forces driven from South Side Railroad; picked up eight; turned about and marched in direction of Amelia Court-House; encamped at about 9 p. m. April 4, resumed march at daylight; reached Deep Creek about 8 a. m.; found a force of the enemy’s cavalry on the opposite side. There dismounted
to fight; enemy disappeared. Crossed Deep Creek and continued in direction of Amelia Court-House; found the enemy strongly posted within one mile of that place; skirmished sharply with them; bivouacked for the night. April 5, remained engaging the enemy’s attention at Amelia Court-House, reconnoitering and skirmishing sharply. April 6, marched at daylight to Jetersville, arriving about 9 a. m.; moved out a short distance, following General Sheridan’s cavalry, then turned back and marched to Burkeville Junction, arriving at about 4 p. m.; bivouacked near that point for the night. April 7, marched at 4 a. m. for Prince Edward Court-House, arriving about noon. Guarded the roads there and skirmished slightly with the enemy for about two hours. Resumed march, reaching Buffalo Creek at about 5 p. m.; bivouacked for the night. Company G, Twentieth New york Cavalry, was here detached from my command. April 8, crossed Buffalo Creek at 4 a. m., and marched toward Appomattox Court-House, via Prospect and Pamplin’s Station. April 9, marched at sunrise toward Appomattox Court-House. In one hour came up with Sheridan’s cavalry, heavily engaged with the enemy. Went in on the let; were repulsed and retired, meeting the Twenty-fourth Corps coming up. Went in on our left and rear, under General Davies; continued skirmishing heavily with the enemy until a truce was wounded between the two armies. Remained bivouacked on the battle ground until April 12.
April 10, Lieutenant Fitzpatrick with eight enlisted men were detached. April 11, Lieutenant Fitzpatrick and party returned, reporting that they had been to Lynchburg, and that the civil authorities proposed to surrender the place.
April 12, marched to Lynchburg, which was occupied without opposition. Remained at Lynchburg until April 16. Commenced the return from Lynchburg; bivouacked at Appomattox Station that night. April 17, bivouacked at Prospect Station. April 18, bivouacked near Farmville. April 19, 20, and 21, bivouacked near Burkeville Junction. April 22, bivouacked at crossing of Appomattox River. April 23, bivouacked fifteen miles from Richmond. April 24, entered Richmond, and encamped on Mechanicsville turnpike, near Chickahominy River.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROB. M. WEST,
Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Major AUGUSTUS H. FENN,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Cavalry Brigade, Army of the James.
- 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. 1248-1249 ↩