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Mine Run, but when they had proceeded less than a mile their advance was attacked by the enemy and driven rapidly back on the main body. I immediately re-enforced this battalion, and the country being densely timbered on both sides the road, and the enemy dismounted, I soon dismounted the greater part of my brigade, and drove the enemy steadily back a distance of 2 miles, he contesting hard every inch of the ground. Reaching a ravine, I was ordered not to proceed farther, being then several miles in advance of the First Brigade, but to hold the road at the point I had reached with a strong picket force, and get the rest of my command together and mounted in a field, a half mile to the rear of the advance position. These instructions were carried out, the Third Indiana Cavalry being held in line of battle, dismounted, along the ravine. I remained myself with this regiment. Subsequently-an hour, I should judge—it was reported to me from the line of skirmishers thrown forward in the pines that the enemy had strongly re-enforced his line, and was making preparations to advance. This report was soon verified, the enemy coming on in strong force, before which the Third Indiana Cavalry was compelled to fall back. .
I again was obliged to put in my entire force, which was still much inferior to the enemy, and continued to fall back. The confusion occasioned by getting a large number of led horses hastily back on one road was communicated to the men, and caused the men to break badly, of which the enemy was not slow to take advantage. We were driven back behind a line of battle formed by a part of First Brigade, and subsequently retired to Todd's Tavern. In the middle of the night I moved my command to a point on the Brock road, 11 miles north of Todd's Tavern, and sent out pickets on the various roads. At 3 a. m. took the road to Piney Branch Church, where the division took position. Subsequently marched with division to Chancellorsville and bivouacked. On morning of 7th, having supplied the command with rations, in pursuance of orders, I moved to Alrich's, on Fredericksburg plank road, and relieved General Merritt's brigade, of First Cavalry Division, doing picket duty at that point. Later in the day my brigade was relieved by General Davies' brigade, of Second Cavalry Division. Reconnoitered to Alsop's, on Spotsylvania Court-House road, without developing anything, and returned to Alrich's and encamped for the night. Moved with the division on the morning of the 8th of May to Spotsylvania CourtHouse, the First Brigade being in advance. At the Court-House formed line of battle in support of the First Brigade, which was warmly engaged with the enemy. Retired, bringing up rear of division (the enemy not following) to Alsop's. Marched the morning of the 9th, at 5 o'clock, with division in light order, and joining the other divisions of the Cavalry Corps at the plank road, proceeded by the road to Hamilton's Crossing, as far as Fredericksburg and Richmond Telegraph road; thence via Stanard's Mill, Thornburg, and Chilesburg, to the crossing of the North Anna River, near Beaver Dam Station, where the brigade bivouacked on north bank of the river. Nothing of importance occurred during the day's march, save the exchange of a few shots between the flankers and small parties of the enemy, and the capture of a rebel captain. Early on the morning of the 10th the enemy began shelling our camps, but at 8 a. m. the brigade crossed the river without molestation or damage. March to-day was without event. Crossed the South Anna River at Ground Squirrel Bridge, and encamped near the river.
57 R R-VOL XXXVI, PT I
Again, on the morning of the 11th, the enemy shelled our camps, and in getting in column of route one battalion of Eighth New York Cavalry, Maj. C. Moore commanding, became engaged with the enemy and lost several men, but successfully checked a charge made upon the rear of the Second Division. Being relieved by a regiment from the Second Division, the battalion soon after rejoined the brigade. Having crossed the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad, I received orders to go forward and assist General Custer in driving back the enemy from our front. I found General Custer near the Brook turnpike, not actively engaged at the time I joined him. Dismounting the Third Indiana and Eighth New York I formed them in line of battle on the left of the dismounted men of General Custer's brigade, holding the First Vermont in reserve, mounted. Dispositions being completed the order to move forward
. was given, and the line advancing into the thick pine woods soon became warmly engaged. As our men advanced the enemy opened with very accurate artillery fire, and having surveyed the ground, General Custer proposed if I would place a regiment (the First Vermont) at his disposal, he would charge the battery, to which I acceded. The charge was made by the First Vermont and a regiment of General Custer's brigade, myself accompanying the First Vermont. In this charge two pieces of artillery, and a number of prisoners were captured by General Custer, and the enemy were driven back a considerable distance in much confusion. Not being ordered to follow the enemy up, the command was halted, and at dark massed near the Brook turnpike. The loss of my brigade in this engagement, which was considerable, has already been reported.
At 10 p. m. again resumed the march, my brigade in advance, under orders to move to Fair Oaks Station. Crossing to the Meadow Bridge road we succeeded in finding a man-a resident-willing to guide the column to the Mechanicsville pike. Taking a farm road running along through the outer fortifications of Richmond, we reached the Mechanicsville pike shortly before daybreak, at a point about 3} miles distant from the city. A mile before reaching the pike a small mounted picket had discovered our approach and retreated rapidly toward the city. At the pike the brigade was massed in a field bordering the road to await information in regard to roads, when we were suddenly opened upon by artillery and musketry, causing a temporary confusion. I caused the command to be rapidly dismounted, to fight on foot, and the horses to be placed under cover.
Continued to hold this position until daylight, when it was discovered that the enemy held a strong line of earth-works a short distance in our front, and I withdrew my brigade to a better position, along the line of the Virginia Central Railroad, with the First Brigade on the right. About 11 o'clock a force of the enemy's infantry came out of their works and attacked my brigade, but were driven back with ease. At 2 p. m. my brigade crossed the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge, and, after a halt of a couple of hours, marched to Mechanicsville. Here a brief halt was ordered, after which we again resumed the march, and received orders to proceed to Gaines' house. Being misled by a guide, it was near midnight when my command reached the last-named place and bivouacked.
On the 13th marched to Bottom's Bridge, and on the 14th to Malvern Hill, nothing of importance occurring on either day; on the 15th to near Haxall's Landing, on the James River, and went into camp; received supplies. Remained in camp at Haxall's until 9
p. m. on the evening of the 17th of May, when the brigade marched with division. Were on the road all night, and at 8 a. m. crossed the Chickahominy at Jones' Bridge. After a short halt marched to Mount Olive Church and bivouacked. On the 19th moved to near Baltimore Store and went into camp. Made details for picket duty. Marched on the 20th with division, via Tunstall's Station, to near Tyler's, on the Cold Harbor road, and encamped. Remained at this point until the morning of the 22d, when the command moved to the White House. Nothing of importance occurred during these days. The following day (the 23d) the brigade crossed the Pamunkey River on the railroad bridge, bringing up the rear of the corps. My entire command was over by 1 p. m. In
pursuance of orders, I detailed a squadron of the Third Indiana Cavalry, Captain Moffitt commanding, to destroy the bridge by throwing off the covering, which work was effectually accomplished. Marched by way of King William Court-House to Aylett's, and halted for the night. On the 24th the command marched to Reedy Swamp, on Richmond and Bowling Green road. The next day marched via Chesterfield to [Coleman's Mill, on Pole Cat Creek, and encamped.
Received marching orders on the morning of the 26th, and, after receiving a supply of forage, the command marched, crossing the North Anna, and demonstrating on the right of our army to cover its movement. At 11 p. m. recrossed the North Anna River at But. ler's Bridge, and halted for the remainder of the night. While the demonstration was being made along Little River, which was mainly performed by the First Brigade of the division, I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin to take his regiment, the Eighth New York, and destroy as much of the track of the Virginia Central as he could before the command should retire across the North Anna. He accomplished considerable, doing the work very well. This was at Hewlett's Station.
On the 27th of May the brigade moved with the division to Chesterfield, marching slowly, making halts at different points, relieving the infantry at the various crossings on the North Anna, and covering the rear of the army in its movement. The command (marching with the division) continued to cover the rear of the army on the 28th and 29th instant (May], bivouacking on the first night at Mangohick Church and the second night about 24 miles from Hanovertown. No event of importance occurred to mark these days.
In pursuance of orders, on the afternoon of the 30th, I moved my command to Crump's Swamp, on south side of the Pamunkey River, and sent the Third Indiana Cavalry forward a couple of miles on the road to Hanover Court-House. They came upon a force of the enemy's cavalry and skirmished with them until dark. Encamped on Crump's Swamp, with heavy picket detail on the Hanover CourtHouse road. On the 31st sent forward patrols on the road to Hanover Court-House, which were met by the enemy in force. The First Brigade coming up, relieved my command, with the exception of a part of the Third Indiana, which remained on the left of the line until the enemy were driven back to Hanover Court-House. From prisoners taken I learned that we were engaged with Young's brigade of rebel cavalry. Bivouacked near Winston's house on the Hanover Court-House and Richmond road, with a strong picket force in the direction of Richmond.
At daylight on the morning of the 1st of June I moved my command, with the exception of the Eighth New York Cavalry, which was left to picket and hold the Richmond and Hanover Court-House road, to the south bank of Mechump's Creek, opposite Hanover CourtHouse, and went into position to cover the movement of the First Brigade. Subsequently, having received orders to cross the creek, I moved forward the command, and with one regiment, the First Vermont, re-enforced the Second New York Cavalry, which was skirmishing with a force of the enemy's cavalry (Maryland Battalion) on the Virginia Central Railroad. The enemy were steadily driven back, moving off on the road running parallel with the South Anna River. In the mean time the Third Indiana Cavalry and French's battery were ordered forward, moving in column on the road, and the Second New York Cavalry were relieved, the First Vermont remaining in advance and skirmishing with the enemy until he left our front at the Fredericksburg railroad. When the enemy had been driven beyond Wickham's house, I sent a squadron under Captain Cushman, of the First Vermont, to destroy the railroad bridge on the Central road over the South Anna River, and upon reaching the Fredericksburg railroad, the same detail was sent to destroy the bridge on that road over the same stream. Both of these bridges were most effectually destroyed by fire, including trestle-work as well as superstructure, as also the water tanks, and the road was further damaged by the destruction of small bridges and cattle guards at different points. While still upon the Fredericksburg railroad, and before the detail sent to destroy the bridge had returned, I received an order from the general commanding division, by one of his staff officers, to retire with my command hastily to Hanover Court-House. I should have mentioned that upon reaching the Fredericksburg railroad, at the point where the Telegraph road crosses the railroad, which is about a mile from the South Anna bridge, I had sent a battalion of the First Vermont, under Major Wells, down the Telegraph road toward Ashland, and this battalion had become engaged with a force of the enemy which had attacked the rear of the First Brigade near that point. Upon receiving the order above mentioned to retire to Hanover Court-House, and being enjoined to use much haste, I ordered this battalion to retire. Soon after, the general commanding division having arrived upon the ground, and a courier sent by myself to Colonel McIntosh, commanding First Brigade, having returned, with information that he was hard pressed and needed relief, I was ordered to send the Third Indiana Cavalry, with the battery, to Hanover Court-House, and with the First Vermont to push down the Telegraph road as far as Ashland, to the assistance of the First Brigade. Near Ashland we came upon the enemy, and, the road being lined on either side by a dense forest, the command was dismounted and formed in line of battle, the center on the road. Efforts to form a connection on our right with the First Brigade proved fruitless. The line was advanced cautiously and with some difficulty, but had proceeded only a short distance when the enemy attacked us in large force in front and flank.
The line soon gave back, retreating with considerable loss and closely pressed. Colonel McIntosh had succeeded in retiring his force from Ashland, and, coming up soon after, the regiment received the full attention of the enemy. A regiment of his brigade was drawn up on the Telegraph road, and checked the advance of the enemy. The First Vermont was remounted, and retired, by way of Hanover Court-House, to near Winston's house, and bivouacked with re
mainder of brigade. The service of the First Vermont Cavalry this day was arduous and severe, and its loss was heavy. The command is worthy of the highest praise.
Remained in camp on the 2d of June until an hour after dark, when the brigade marched in rear of First Brigade, taking the road to Hanovertown. Marched all night, halting at Linney's, south of the Totopotomoy Creek, at daylight.
At 10 a. m. on the 3d the brigade recrossed the Totopotomoy (advance of division), with the Eighth New York in advance, and took the road to Salem Church, near which we came upon the enemy (cavalry dismounted in the woods, and occupying some breast-works vacated by our troops). Feeling the enemy with the Eighth New York and finding them too strong in numbers and position for that command, I directed the Third Indiana and First Vermont to be dismounted to fight on foot, and formed line of battle with the Eighth New York on the right and the First Vermont on the left. While these dispositions were being made, and previous to the arrival of the First Vermont on the line, the enemy made a spirited attack, but were repulsed with severe loss, leaving a number of their killed upon the ground. So soon as my line was formed I ordered an advance, and moving forward under a heavy fire my men drove the rebels from their position and they fell back to another line of breast-works. While reforming my line and awaiting the arrival of a regiment from the First Brigade, the enemy retired from my front. The force engaged here was that formerly commanded by the rebel General Gordon, and must have lost heavily. The victory was not bought without cost. Lieutenant-Colonel Preston, of the First Vermont, a zealous and faithful commander, and Captain Cushman, of the same regiment, a most valuable and gallant officer, both fell mortally wounded, and expired on the field of battle; and Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin, commanding the Eighth New York, was severely, though not dangerously, wounded. Late in the afternoon in pursuance of orders from General Wilson, I sent a regiment, the Third Indiana Cavalry, Major Patton commanding, in conjunction with the Second New York, across the Totopotomoy, to demonstrate upon the left of the enemy's main line. The command dashed across in good style, driving the enemy's skirmishers hastily back to their lines, and capturing several. Position was held on the south side of the creek until sundown, when, owing to the movements of the enemy, it was deemed prudent to retire across the creek, and join the main body of the division, which was effected without loss. The crossing and recrossing were covered by a section of Ransom's battery. Shortly after dark I moved my command to the Hanovertown road and encamped. Held the approaches to Hanovertown from the south and west.
June 4 and 5 passed without movement or event of importance. On the 5th the Twenty-second New York joined the brigade. On the 6th moved to Bottom's Bridge and relieved the Second Cavalry Division doing picket duty from left of infantry to Jones' Bridge on the Chickahominy, the left of infantry resting at railroad bridge. The brigade continued in the performance of this duty until the 12th of June, without anything occurring on the line except a little firing between the pickets. I caused all the crossings to be made defensi
. ble by constructing breast-works under cover of the night, and having succeeded in doing this the enemy ceased to fire upon my pickets. On the 9th the First New Hampshire Cavalry joined the