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[458]

Report of Lieutenant-Colonel Martin.

camp Tottopotomy, July 20, 1862.
Captain Norman R. Fitzhugh, A. A. General, commanding Brigade:
Captain: I have the honor to report the services rendered by my command, in the recent battles and skirmishes near Richmond, from the twenty-fifth ultimo to the sixth instant:

The force under my command consisted of the Fourth Virginia cavalry, Captain Chamberlain commanding, and the Jeff Davis legion of cavalry. On the twenty-fifth ultimo, I had a line of pickets from Woodring's shop, on the Ashland road, along that road to Ashland, and thence toward Hanover Court-House, to the residence of Colonel Wickham. On the afternoon of that day, after General Jackson's advance guard had reached the neighborhood of Ashland, a company of the Eighth Illinois cavalry drove in my videttes from the point where the Ashcake road crossed the Telegraph road. I ordered Lieutenant Smith, of the Black Horse cavalry, Fourth Virginia, with seventeen men, to drive the enemy back. He charged at once, and the enemy fled, leaving two horses dead on the road, carrying off one man killed and one wounded in the charge. Lieutenant Smith had two men wounded, private Crump, arm broken, and private Robertson, wounded slightly. The telegraph wire, which had been cut, was immediately restored.

Thursday, twenty-sixth ultimo, moved with the cavalry brigade to the neighborhood of Pale Green Church, and bivouacked. Friday, twenty-seventh ultimo, the brigade moved toward Old Church. By command of the General, I sent forward, to clear the road, company F, (Georgia Huzzars, Captain Waring,) of the legion. The pickets of the enemy were discovered at a point two miles from Old Church, and Lieutenant Waldron and private Herwellman succeeded in overtaking two of the lancers, and killed one and wounded the other, who was subsequently captured. A piece of the horse artillery was advanced, under Captain Pelham, and fired in the direction of the church. Subsequently it was ascertained that the firing put to flight one thousand or fifteen hundred of the enemy's cavalry, in that vicinity. My command being in front, the Jeff Davis legion on the right, the brigade advanced toward Cold Harbor. Captain Avery, during the forenoon, was detached to advance on a line with the infantry skirmishers, to the left of our line of battle, which had been pushing forward since an early hour in the morning. About one o'clock, we reached the immediate vicinity of the battle, which was raging near Cold Harbor. My column was advanced and placed in position to charge the infantry of the enemy, if it should make any attempt to flank our infantry, or should break through it. I left, by order of the General, to post a squadron on picket on the Old Church road, to our left, leaving Major Stone in command.

Shortly before I returned, I learned that a brisk cannonade began in front of the column, and that it was rapid and well directed. Private C. Warwick, company C, Fourth Virginia regiment, was killed by a shell; and Captain Williams, of the same regiment, wounded in the head by a piece of a shell. Later in the day, after my return, the column was again exposed to a very heavy fire from a battery of field-pieces in front; and the command was moved out of range, and formed sufficiently near to charge, in the event of its services being needed. About dark all firing ceased. The enemy moved off the field. After dark my command accompanied the General, with the Seventeenth Virginia cavalry and Cobb's legion, (cavalry,) in pursuit toward Despatch Station. Nothing was seen of the enemy, and we returned and bivouacked near the battle-field.

Saturday, twenty-eighth ultimo, at an early hour, my command, in obedience to orders, reconnoitred the country around Old Church, toward the New Market road, and discovered that the enemy's cavalry had, during the previous afternoon, retired toward the White House. I joined the brigade at Despatch Station, and moved with it the same afternoon to the vicinity of Tunstall Station. Here the artillery of the brigade drove back a squadron of the enemy's cavalry. We bivouacked at this point, and next day advanced to the White House. Captain Avery, Second legion, and Lieutenant Murry, Fourth cavalry, with three companies, were dismounted, and with two pieces of the horse artillery, sent forward to engage a large gunboat lying off the White House. The boat was compelled to retire, and the brigade took possession of the place, with the large and valuable stores abandoned by the enemy in his precipitate flight.

The preceding night large fires were seen in the direction of the White House. This place was now a scene of desolation. The house was wantonly burned, with its contents, many of the shade trees were felled, and all of the fencing had disappeared. This once beautiful estate, made more interesting by associations connected with the great leader of the first revolution, George Washington, now utterly despoiled, forcibly reminded us that we were contending against a foe respecting nothing, sparing nothing.

Scattered over the fields were abandoned wagons and ambulances, mules, tents, commissary and quartermasters' stores. Hundreds of bonfires had been made by the enemy of whatever was combustible. Still an immense amount of property was left uninjured. My command was supplied with abundant rations for three days, and the horses with forage from the enemy's supplies.

Monday, thirtieth June, my command, with Pelham's artillery, now moved toward the Forge Bridge, encountering a few of the enemy's skirmishers. It was discovered, as the bridge was approached, that the enemy already held the position with infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Captain Pelham was advanced, with two of his pieces, to a point within four hundred yards of the bridge, and opened with his pieces, (howitzers.) He was replied to by two rifled pieces, but soon silenced


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