previous next

[467] down the road to Powhatan, where the same process was repeated.

Again he pursued his course along the track, until he came to the Appomattox river. Here it was found the enemy had become apprised of our movements, and had strongly reinforced the detachment guarding the bridge, and as the column advanced, opened upon it from the opposite bank with several pieces of artillery. The enemy's force and position made it from this side impregnable. General Kautz then moved his division down the river, by a circuitous route, a few miles, until he came to a long and high county bridge, which was found partially destroyed.

This he repaired and crossed, and at daylight on the morning of the fourteenth, again struck the railroad at Chula, in rear of the enemy. At this place was found and captured and destroyed a powerful locomotive and a train of cars, which, during the evening before, had brought up additional reinforcements for the defence of the bridge. Here, too, the destruction of the railroad and appendages was thoroughly accomplished.

While this was being done, the Eleventh Pennsylvania, which at this time had the advance, was ordered to make a detour on the left or west side of the railroad, for the purpose of destroying a bridge over Swift creek, which lay between our forces and the Appomattox river, about one and a half miles distant from Chula Station. As the Third New York came up, the carbineers of that regiment were ordered to dismount and proceed directly by the track to the same point.

The Eleventh met the enemy first near the bridge, and were driven back by a hot fire from the rebel sharpshooters, who were lying in rifle-pits and among fallen timber. The Third then came down on a double-quick, and as they came within range, commenced a vigorous fire, at the same time deploying right and left as skirmishers, taking advantage of trees and brushwood to cover their advance. In a few minutes they recovered all which had been lost, and more, for they reached the bridge, though at the sacrifice of many of their best men.

This position was held for upward of an hour under a deadly fire; but all attempts to destroy the bridge were fruitless, as it was wet with a recent rain, and could not be burned. The order was finally given to withdraw, as the work at the depot had been accomplished, and a further demonstration could only have resulted in a useless waste of life, the enemy, from his reinforcements, undoubtedly numbering two, if not three, to our one. Besides, too, if rumor could be credited, a strong force of cavalry was endeavoring to find and intercept us.

Leaving, then, the Danville road, the column was turned in the direction of the Southside railroad, striking it the same day just before sunset at Wellville and Black's and White's Stations. This road, with station-houses, cars, &c., was also effectually destroyed for several miles. Marching again nearly all night and the day following, Brunswick Court-house, but a few miles from the North Carolina state line, was reached at dusk of the fifteenth, Sunday.

Here, for the first, horses and men were allowed to rest, except to tear up track, fight or feed. At sunrise the march was resumed toward the bridge on the Weldon and Petersburg railroad, over the Meherren. From prisoners captured and information derived from reliable sources, it was ascertained that the enemy was apprised of our coming, and had collected a force of six to eight thousand (?) and a battery of artillery to resist us, and not only to resist at that point, but to prevent our further advance, while other forces in our rear should cut off our retreat by the route over which we had passed.

General Kautz, however, with consummate skill, completely baffled their expectations. He pressed his column forward until he drove in the outer line of the enemy, and then, while they probably imagined he was preparing for battle, turned short to the left and crossed the railroad at Jarrett's station, eight or ten miles above them. This place was destroyed by this same division of General Kautz the week before, and was now partially repaired, only to be again destroyed. Near here was also a pontoon train, consisting of a dozen or more boats, which the rebels had used in repairing the bridge over the Nottoway. These were burned.

The march was then continued toward City Point by way of Prince George Court-house. As we came to a long bridge on our course, which crossed the Nottoway, and over which we must pass, a party of rebels were found cutting it down, and throwing the planks into the stream. The First District of Columbia, then in advance, at once charged them, and held the place until it was again ready for crossing.

The last attempt made to interfere with our progress was made near Prince George Courthouse by a detachment of rebel cavalry, aided by a considerable force of guerrillas, who endeavored to cut off the Fifth Pennsylvania, then in rear. Quite a skirmish ensued, but the Fifth proved too much for the bushwhackers and their associates. At four o'clock this afternoon the division entered City Point, having made a complete circle in the most vital section of the Confederacy, and effectually destroying or interrupting for some time all railroad and telegraphic communication between the South and its rebel capital.



Another account.

It was noon of May the twelfth that General Kautz, with his noble division of cavalry, commenced a movement which had for its object the destruction of the four main railroads leading to Richmond. The men who were to perform this arduous duty had just returned from a raid of a similar character, and were thoroughly


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. V. Kautz (4)
Jarrett (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 19th (1)
May 12th (1)
14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: