previous next

[523] force to get across. Less than a mile from the crossing the enemy were found in heavier force, and McIntosh's brigade, which was in the advance, having formed in line of battle, soon became fiercely engaged.

Under the fire of the enemy our men continued to form a slight breastwork of rails, logs, stones, and whatever came to hand, and lying down behind it, held their ground with great determination against several desperate charges of the enemy. It was about an hour before sunset when the fight commenced. About eleven P. M. the impossibility of forcing a passage at this point having been clearly demonstrated, General Wilson despatched General Kautz up a left-hand road toward Reams' station.

General Kautz's division was followed by the wagon and ambulance trains of the whole force, and General Wilson, having constructed a line of rifle-pits in the rear of the front line of battle during the night, left in them the First Vermont and the Eighth and Twenty-second New York, withdrawing the rest of his force a short time before daylight, and following Kautz to Reams' station.

The men left with the led horses of the regiment, which remained to cover the rear, came in afterward, and reported that the enemy turning the right flank of the men in the breast-works, had captured the whole party.

General Kautz, on reaching Reams' station, soon found that the enemy were strongly posted at that point also, and was sharply engaged before daylight. Wilson, with the troops he had brought up from Stony creek, passed by Kautz's rear, and was about to take position on his left, but had hardly formed in line of battle when he was attacked by a heavy force of infantry, a column of cavalry in the meantime, accounts say, passing round to the rear.

The accounts of this affair are rather confused, but it appears that General Wilson, perceiving that his command was in danger of being surrounded, determined to try to save a portion of it, by moving out by the right flank, in a direction nearly due south, General Kautz in the meantime retaining his position, as also the Second Ohio, and parts of the Fifth New York, Second New Jersey, and several other regiments belonging to McIntosh's and Chapman's brigades.

It is reported that Fitz Hugh Lee was killed in one of the engagements. The first information brought to headquarters of Wilson's position was by Captain Whittaker, of the First Connecticut, and Aid-de-camp to General Wilson. He left Ream's station at eight A. M., of the twenty-ninth, with forty men of the Third New York cavalry, and by cutting his way through a portion of a column on the move, he reached headquarters exactly at 10:20 A. M.

Dashing at full speed through woods and swamps, over ditches and fences, and, in some cases, cutting their way with the sabre through the rebel troops, the greater part of General Kautz's division, consisting of the Fifth and Eleventh Pennsylvania, First District of Columbia, and Third New York, with the numbers already stated of the Second and Fifth Ohio, and a few other regiments, made their way with great difficulty into our lines, the enemy pursuing and firing upon them until they got within our picket-lines on the Jerusalem plank-road.

It is said by some other men coming in that the rebels shot and bayoneted many after they had surrendered. One reports that while lying in a swamp he heard another, near him, cry out, “I surrender.” “Surrender, you----Yankee,” was the reply; “take that,” accompanying the exclamation with a volley. The Richmond Enquirer, of the twenty-seventh, urged that no quarter should be given to any of the raiders, alleging that the death of every one of them would not be an equivalent to the rebel Government for the damage done.

This, if true, is the most conclusive testimony that could be asked as to the complete effectiveness of the raid. Prisoners captured near Reams' station states that General Lee had sworn that not a single raider should get back. He has evidently made stupendous efforts to make his oath good, for not a single crossing on the Weldon road was left unguarded.

The enemy had scouts out for miles to the westward on every road by which our troops could possibly approach, and carried information of the direction in time to meet us with a superior force at any point. It is difficult to ascertain exactly which troops were encountered at Stony creek and Reams' station, but it is certain that there was infantry at both points, besides probably the greater portion of their cavalry.

The Sixth corps was immediately ordered out to the assistance of the cavalry, but by the time they arrived, which was near evening, the affair was over. They took a position and remained there until the afternoon of the thirtieth, employing themselves meanwhile in destroying the railroad, which was done most thoroughly for three or four miles.

headquarters Army of the Potomac, Saturday, July 2, 10 A. M.
General Wilson has come into our lines with the Third cavalry division. There is considerable rejoicing over his return. The old Third division still lives, and will yet trouble the rebels.

General Lee, in his violent rage, swore that not one should escape. The guns and wagons we can well afford to lose, in consideration of the irreparable damage done their roads.

The cavalry of the Third division, with whom I have conversed, present a sorry picture. They are dusty and almost worn out by twelve days incessant marching and vigils, during which they have marched over three hundred and fifty miles. Finding it impossible to cut through the rebel lines at Reams' station, and

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Stony Creek (Virginia, United States) (2)
Weldon, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Joseph K. Wilson (7)
A. V. Kautz (7)
Fitz Hugh Lee (3)
J. B. McIntosh (2)
Richard Whittaker (1)
G. H. Chapman (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.
July 2nd (1)
30th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: