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Doc. 61. Sheridan's cavalry expedition.

headquarters cavalry corps, Haxall's Landing, on James river, May 14--3 P. M.
The cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac, under the command of Major-General P. H. Sheridan, have during the past ten days covered themselves with glory, and accomplished the most decisive results of the war. They have fought and defeated Stuart's boasted cavalry for nine successive days, flanked his army, destroyed all his communications with Richmond, captured and destroyed three long trains loaded with commissary stores, together with two first-class engines; recaptured three hundred and seventy-eight Union prisoners, including two colonels, one lieutenant-colonel, and several officers of lower grade; captured three pieces of artillery and about two hundred prisoners, taken the outer line of fortifications on the north side of Richmond, whipped their cavalry and infantry within the sound of the church bells of their capital, and brought the command safely through to the James river, under the protection of our gunboats.

This has only been accomplished by the most determined and stubborn fighting, and with the loss of a large number of brave officers and men.

Our operations have been entirely on the flank and rear of Lee's army; so much so that I have had no opportunity of sending you any despatches hitherto, but will now endeavor to [452] give you as full an account as possible of all our doings since we crossed the Rapidan.

The cavalry corps is composed of three divisions, and numbered at the time we crossed the river several thousand mounted men. General Torbert, commanding the First division, was taken sick, being entirely disabled by an abscess in his back, so that the command of his division had to be given to General Merritt. Brigadier-General D. McM. Gregg commands the Second division, and General J. H. Wilson, recently of the Cavalry Bureau, the Third. Each division had two batteries, numbering in all about thirty guns.

On the morning of Wednesday, May fourth, General Gregg's division crossed the Rapidan at Ely's ford, driving in and capturing a portion of the rebel picket stationed there. This movement was accomplished by Major Hugh H. Janeway, with a battalion of the First New Jersey cavalry, and by sunrise we had taken up our line of march toward the battle-field of Chancellorsville. We bivouacked two miles beyond the famous Chancellorsville House, and awaited the arrival of General Sheridan with the First division.

In the meantime General Wilson, with the Third division, had crossed the river at Germania ford and started upon a reconnoissance in the direction of Spottsylvania Court-house. At noon of the fifth we also marched in the direction of Spottsylvania, and when we arrived at Todd's tavern, which was the left flank of Hancock's corps, we encountered General Wilson in full retreat with his division, having been driven back some five miles by Fitz Hugh Lee, and handled rather roughly. General Gregg, who never allows his division to be driven under any circumstances, at once started for the front with General Davies' brigade, and, putting in the First New Jersey and one squadron of the First Massachusetts, drove the enemy steadily, compelling him to fall back across the Po and behind his fortifications.

Our loss in killed and wounded in this sharp fight was between seventy and eighty. Here Captain Hart and Lieutenant Mitchner, of the First New Jersey, were wounded, and Captain Lawrence Hopkins, of the First Massachusetts, had his horse killed by a shell, and himself wounded in the foot, as he was gallantly leading his squadron into the fight. We held the battlefield that night.

On the morning of the sixth, at daylight, General Hancock opened upon the enemy on our right, and the musketry firing was the most terrific and incessant that I ever heard. The battle raged furiously for five or six hours, at one time approaching seemingly near to us, and then receding, indicating that we not only held our own but were pushing the enemy back.

Late in the day Stuart made a demonstration upon both our right and left flanks, but was handsomely repulsed by Curtis' brigade, of the First division, on the right, and Colonel Gregg's brigade, of the Second division, on the left. General Custer went into the fight with his usual impetuosity, having his band playing patriotic airs in front, himself charging at the head of his brigade, and the artillery playing into the enemy at the same time.

The attack on the left was very stubborn, and looked for a time as though it would be successful; but General Gregg, who is the coolest man under trying circumstances I ever saw on the field, ordered Colonel Gregg to send in the First Maine and drive “those people” away. The General always speaks of the enemy as “those people.” Besides the First Maine, the Second, Fourth and Eighth Pennsylvania regiments were engaged on the left.

I forgot to mention that on the fifth, Brigadier-General Davies, who was in front with his skirmishers, was at one time in the hands of the enemy. They made a sudden dash upon our line, temporarily driving us back and leaving the General a prisoner, but Captain Thomas, of his staff, seeing his critical condition, rallied a squadron and charged, bringing the General safely out.

Through a misapprehension that Longstreet had succeeded in turning the right wing of General Hancock, and thereby exposing his flank, we were ordered at three o'clock of the sixth, to abandon our position and fall back some four miles to Aldrich's corner. The enemy at once occupied the position we left, but did not attempt to annoy us in falling back. In the morning the error was discovered, and we were again ordered forward to occupy our old position.

The enemy had done all in his power to strengthen his position during our absence, and fought us with great stubbornness. The First division had the left, and the Second the right and centre. Both sides fought dismounted, in consequence of the dense timber. It was the hardest fight we had yet had, but our men were determined to win.

The rebel loss of officers was very heavy. Colonel Green, of the Sixth Virginia, was killed, and also Colonel Collins, of Philadelphia, who graduated at West Point four years ago, and took sides with the South. There were many of our regular officers present who had known him intimately. They buried him and marked the place of his interment.

The losses of the First New York dragoons, Sixth Pennsylvania, and First regular cavalry were quite heavy. Here, also, the gallant Captain Joseph P. Ash, of the Fifth United States, was killed. He died in the thickest of the fight, and is deeply lamented by all who knew him. By night we had driven the enemy some four miles, and had taken their first line of breastworks.

The artillery practice of Captain Martin's Sixth New York independent battery, as well as the other batteries of the corps, was of the most brilliant character. The Sixth New York has the reputation of being one of the best light horse batteries in the service. They certainly did great execution during the succession of [453] fights in which we were engaged. The sections are commanded by Lieutenants Brown, Clark Wilson, while First Sergeant J. E. Tilston is a host in himself. On the morning of Sunday, the eighth, the Fifth corps arrived in our front, and marched toward Spottsylvania Court-house, while the Second corps relieved the cavalry.

Many of our distinguished generals were in consultation at Todd's tavern, including Generals Grant, Meade, Sheridan and others. It was now decided to send the cavalry corps to the rear of Lee, cut his line of communication, destroy his supplies, and do him all the damage possible.

For this purpose we were quietly withdrawn on the afternoon of Sunday, the eighth, and marched back to within about eight miles of Fredericksburg, on the plank-road. Here we bivouacked and made all the preparation we could for the coming trying march. We had already been four days without much sleep, and with very little to eat. Our forage for the horses had been reduced to one day's supply; but, notwithstanding all these drawbacks, the utmost enthusiasm prevailed, and all were anxious to participate in the movement.

We moved at daylight, marching in the direction of Fredericksburg until we had arrived within four miles of the city, when we struck off to the left of Spottsylvania Court-house to Hamilton's crossing, and took the telegraph road to Richmond.

We had not advanced many miles before we began to be annoyed on the flank and rear by rebel sharpshooters. The First division had the advance, the Second the rear, and the Third the centre. We paid verylittle attention to the firing, supposing it to be only a party of scouts watching our movements. We had flankers thrown out each side of the road, while the Sixth Ohio regiment, Colonel William Stedman commanding, were the rear guard.

About the middle of the afternoon the First North Carolina cavalry made a furious charge upon our rear guard, breaking clear through the Sixth Ohio, who were somewhat unprepared for such a vigorous movement; used both pistol and sabre to good advantage, and captured quite a number of prisoners.

Quite an amusing incident occurred in connection with this charge. A section of the Sixth New York independent battery was in the rear, supported by a squadron of the Sixth Ohio. A rebel captain cut his way through to the rear piece, and, putting his hand upon it,cried out--“This is my piece.” “Not by a damned sight,” replied a cannonier, and at the same time gave him a blow under the eye, a la Heenan, knocked him from his horse and took him prisoner. Considerable commotion was created in the column for a few minutes, when it was ascertained that Fitz Hugh Lee, with two brigades, was in the rear of us. The First New Jersey, Lieutenant-Colonel Kester commanding, was at once ordered to assist the Sixth Ohio, and from that time till dark both small arms and artillery were in constant use. Captain Walter R. Robbins was at one time completely cut off from the balance of the command; but, placing himself at the head of his squadron, he gallantly cut his way through, bringing in several prisoners.

While these exciting events were transpiring in the rear, our advance, composed of General Ouster's brigade, of the First division, was doing glorious work in the front. They forded the North Anna river, charged into Beaver Dam station, recaptured three hundred and seventy-eight Union prisoners, including colonels, majors, captains and lieutenants, belonging to the Fifth corps, and taken prisoners while charging the rebel breastworks at Todd's tavern. Their joy, when they saw the flashing blades of the Union cavalry approaching, knew no bounds. They set up a deafening cheer, while the rebel guard, composed of a lieutenant and twenty-five men, skedaddled into the woods. They had no inkling of our approach, and the transition from a state of despondency to hope and joy was so sudden that they could hardly realize it.

Reaching the station, General Custer found three long trains, loaded with commissary stores, with two splendid engines, which he at once destroyed, together with a large warehouse filled with an immense quantity of flour, bacon and whiskey. It is said that not less than one million and a half of rations were destroyed at this point, They also thoroughly destroyed the railroad for miles, burning the ties and bridges, bending the rails, and damaging it in every conceivable manner. The road which passes here is the Virginia Central, running from Richmond to Gordonsville.

The First division bivouacked on the south side of the North Anna river, while the Second and Third were on the north side. A strong picket guard was thrown out in the rear, and skirmishing was kept up all night. At daylight in the morning the enemy succeeded in getting one piece of artillery in position commanding our camp, and opened a vigorous fire. The first shell passed directly over an ammunition wagon, under which your correspondent was sleeping. Our regiment was at once ordered into line, and a crossing of the river was effected under heavy fire.

We moved south, in the direction of the South Anna river, the First division in advance. The rebels during the night had succeeded in getting a force in front of us, and were annoying our column. The First Maine charged them, and Lieutenant-Colonel Boothby received a severe wound in the shoulder, shattering the bone. It was first thought that the wound was fatal, but Dr. W. W. L. Phillips, Surgeon-in-Chief of the Second division, performed a skilful operation, cutting out the fragments of the shattered bone, and strong hopes are now entertained of his recovery.

At four P. M. we crossed the South Anna, and, after marching two miles, bivouacked for the night. At three o'clock on the morning of the eleventh, the First brigade, Second division, was sent, under Brigadier-General H. E. Davies, [454] on a special expedition to Ashland, a distance of seven miles, for the purpose of destroying the railroad and supplies. Great caution and haste were essential, as it was known that General Stuart, with his rebel cavalry, was rapidly making for that point. Our forces arrived in sight of the town at daylight, and formed in line of battle. The First Massachusetts cavalry, Major Sergeant commanding, was selected to charge through the town, which the men did in gallant style, driving a regiment of Virginians, under Colonel Mumford, of Fitz Hugh Lee's division, before them. They then dismounted, set fire to the railroad depot, destroying rolling stock, stores and supplies in great quantities; also tearing up miles of the track of the Fredericksburg and Richmond railroad.

As they left the town they saw several of the enemy make their appearance, and it was decided to make another charge into the town to drive them off. The rebels retreated into the houses, and as our men passed through poured a murderous volley into their ranks, wounding Captain Motley, Lieutenant Smith and Lieutenant E. Payson Hopkins, son of Professor Hopkins, of Williams College, Massachusetts, who was left motionless in the road, and all fell into the hands of the enemy. We also lost about twenty-five men in killed and wounded, who likewise fell into the hands of the rebels. It was at first intended by General Davies to shell the town in retaliation, but having accomplished everything for which he had started, and aware of the approach of J. E. B. Stuart, with a large force, retired to our main column.

We were now within sixteen miles of Richmond, and at once took up the line of march directly toward the city, the First division in advance and the Second in the rear. We marched and fought all day and night, the enemy being constantly reinforced, until at daylight, when within three miles of Richmond, the force opposed to us in front were two brigades of infantry and a brigade of cavalry, while in our rear was Stuart, with two brigades of cavalry, together with every man that could be raked up in Richmond. We now turned to the left on the Meadow bridge road, leading to Mechanicsville, pressing the enemy steadily back.

When about four miles on the road we found the enemy strongly intrenched, behind fortifications composing the outer line of the Richmond defences. The position was a strong one, being situated upon a hill, commanding our whole corps, and our preservation depended on our driving them out. General Sheridan was equal to the emergency. The enemy was already pursuing us closely in the rear.

The General ordered General Custer to take his gallant brigade and carry the position. General Custer placed himself at the head of his command, and with drawn sabre and deafening cheers, charged directly in the face of a withering fire, captured two pieces of artillery, upward of a hundred prisoners, together with caissons, ammunition and horses, which he brought off in safety. It was, without exception, the most gallant charge of the raid, and when it became known among the corps, cheer after cheer rent the air. The rebels retreated behind the Chickahominy, destroying in their flight Meadow bridge.

In the rear Colonel Gregg's brigade, of the Second division, and a portion of the Third division, under General Wilson, were hotly engaged with Stuart. General Wilson sent word to General Sheridan that the enemy were driving him slowly back. General Sheridan sent word that “he must hold the position at all hazards; that he could and must whip the enemy.” Colonel Gregg's brigade, being reinforced by a regiment from the First brigade, charged the enemy and drove them nearly a mile. The day was now ours. The enemy had disappeared from our front, and we succeeded in rebuilding the Meadow bridge, and the First and Third divisions crossed, covered by the Second division, which, in turn, withdrew and also crossed without being annoyed by the enemy.

The rebels, previous to crossing the river, planted a large number of torpedoes in the road, two of which exploded, fortunately, however, killing nothing but two horses. The rebel prisoners were at once set at work, and compelled to dig carefully with their fingers for the remaining infernal machines. Twelve of these beauties were unearthed in the space of a couple of hours, and placed in the cellar of a lady with strong rebel proclivities, living on the road. She protested in the strongest terms against the indignity, but was told that if she did not handle them they would not explode.

The rebels still continued to show themselves in our front until we had passed Mechanicsville, where General Merritt, by making a demonstration, as though the column were moving toward White House, caused them to destroy a bridge, when we turned short to the right upon the road to Bottom's bridge.

We now encamped on the old Gaines' Mill battle-field, and moved at seven o'clock on the morning of the thirteenth, marched in a southeasterly direction, crossed the York river road at Despatch Station, and camped early in the day at Bottom's bridge.

It was now necessary to ascertain the whereabouts of General Butler's forces. For the past three days it had rained incessantly; our men were without rations and horses without forage, and the entire command fatigued, hungry and jaded. An officer of General Sheridan's staff, with two men, was sent in the direction of the James river, to ascertain the whereabouts of the gunboats. He returned at daylight, and reported that he could find no sign of them. An escort of sixty men was at once despatched to Yorktown, to have supplies forwarded to Haxall's Landing, where the balance of the corps marched, a distance of ten miles.

Arriving in proximity to the James river, the booming of cannon and whistling of shot over our heads admonished us that our friends were [455] at hand, and had mistaken us for enemies. Captain Wilson, the efficient signal officer of the Second division, was sent to the front and made signals. No attention was paid to him, however, and continued firing was kept up, and one man killed.

Captain Wilson was compelled to advance to the bank of the river, where he hailed the fleet. A boat was sent to the shore, the officers and crew having their pistols in hand and fully cocked, evidently mistrusting us. As soon as it became known who we were, the sailors gave us three hearty cheers, and our column advanced to near the bank of the river, our bands playing “The Lincoln gunboat's come.”

Major-General Sheridan at once sent out to communicate with Major-General Butler, apprising him of our arrival and the scanty state of our forage and rations. Our immediate wants were promptly supplied, and a despatch boat instantly provided to start for Fortress Monroe to communicate with — the War Department. Our men, for three days previous to our arrival at the James river, had literally lived off the country, as many poor families who have lost the whole of their scanty supplies can testify. Our provost-marshals used their utmost endeavors to protect the families of citizens, but upon remonstrating with the men, they would refer you to acts of barbarity committed by the rebels at Fort Pillow and elsewhere.

General Sheridan is eminently the right man in the right place. He is, without exception, the best cavalry commander the Army of the Potomac has ever had. He is quick to perceive and bold to execute, and has already won the entire confidence of his command. Brigadier-General D. McM. Gregg was General Sheridan's right-hand man. He consulted him on all occasions, and placed in him the utmost confidence. He knew that where Gregg was, with his fighting division, everything was moving along smoothly.

All officers and men seemed to vie with each other in deeds of gallantry and daring, and were all actuated by the same feeling of determination to succeed or perish in the attempt.

During the fight on the morning of the twelfth, prisoners captured from the enemy reported General J. E. B. Stuart mortally wounded. Our entire loss, from the time we crossed the Rapidan until we reached Haxall's Landing, on the James river, is, according to the statement of the Medical Director of the corps, about six hundred in killed and wounded, of which two hundred are estimated as killed. The missing will doubtless amount to one hundred and fifty to two hundred more. Most of our dead, and all of our wounded, with the exception of about thirty mortally wounded, were brought off by us. Our means of transportation were very limited. Having no ambulance train with us, we were compelled to carry the wounded in Government trains and wagons captured from the enemy. The suffering of the wounded during the slow and tedious march was necessarily great, but all of them preferred death itself to falling captives to our barbarous foe.

Each and all the staff officers performed herculean labors, working night and day, regardless of personal comfort, and only intent on carrying out the plans of their generals. Many of them were exposed to great danger while carrying despatches, but all providentially escaped unhurt. Captain H. C. Wier, Assistant Adjutant-General of the Second division, had his horse shot under him while leading a charge.

Our wounded received the kindest care and treatment, the surgeons working night and day in the performance of their painful duty. Among those who were most active were Surgeons Phillips, Rezner, Hackley, Hotchkiss, Tutt, and Surgeon McGill, Medical Director of the corps. Nothing was left undone to alleviate the suffering of our wounded officers and soldiers.

The loss of the enemy is at least twice as great as ours, as we had a preponderance of artillery, and as they were, most of the time, the attacking party. The ground over which we drove them, both at Todd's Tavern and within the fortifications around Richmond, was literally covered with their dead and wounded. Their loss in officers was disproportionately large.

The results accomplished by General Sheridan, by his splendid raid, are of the greatest importance and magnitude. It will, doubtless, compel Lee's army to fall back upon Richmond, which is an event wholly unlooked for by the Southern people, and for which they are totally unprepared. Both railroads have been destroyed in such a thorough manner as to render their repair at least the work of two weeks. The very morning we were occupying the road on the twelfth, the Richmond papers stated that the roads were only slightly damaged, and would be in running order on the next day; but no one who saw how completely General Sheridan had performed his work, will be deceived by these lying statements of the rebel press.

The expedition was, upon the whole, the boldest and most successful of the war. Its very boldness made it successful.

A large number of horses gave out on the march, and many were shot in battle. The dismounted men, as well as the recaptured prisoners, were compelled to walk the whole distance. This, toward the close of our trip, became a difficult matter, as the heavy rains had rendered the roads almost impassable.

It is now demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the rebel cavalry are no match for ours. I heard a rebel captain whom we captured say, that at the commencement of the war they could whip us, but that now we whipped them every time, no matter how they fought us. The new recruits, as a general thing, fought nearly as well as the veterans. General Sheridan is very proud of his new command, and expects to achieve great things with them during the summer campaign. If the Government could furnish [456] horses for the large number that are dismounted, he would have the finest command in the army.

Brigadier-General H. E. Davies, one of New York's distinguished sons, commands a brigade in the Second division. Although young in years, he is a veteran in the service, and has won his way to the proud position which he now occupies by hard services in the field. He is brave almost to a fault, and is always in the front when his brigade is in action. His briade, during the recent heavy fights, have done fully their share, and always acquitted themselves with honor.

composition of the Second division.

Brigadier-General D. McM. Gregg commanding.

Staff.--Captain H. C. Wier, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Captain R. R. Corson, Quartermaster.

Major W. W. L. Phillips, Surgeon-in-Chief.

Captain P. Pollard, Commissary of Subsistence.

Major C. Taylor, Assistant Inspector-General-

Captain W. D. Phillips, Commissary of Musters.

Captain Frank B. Alibane, Ordnance Officer.

Captain Charles Treichel, Provost-Marshal.

Lieutenant J. R. West, Chief of Ambulance.

Lieutenant Thos. Arrowsmith, Aid-de-Camp.

Lieutenant T. J. Gregg, Aid-de-Camp.

Captain F. Wilson, Signal Officer.

First Brigade--Brigadier General Henry E. Davies.

Staff.--Captain F. L. Tremain, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Captain H. S. Thomas, Assistant Inspector-General.

Captain W. Harper, Aid.

Lieutenant E. H. Parry, Aid.

Major W. B. Rezner, Brigade Surgeon.

Second Brigade--Acting Brigadier-General J. Irving Gregg.

A Southern account.

headquarters, Gordon's brigade, Brook Church, May 13, 1864.
I will attempt a brief detail of the recent raid that emerged from Grant's lines on the Rapidan. Being one of the pursuing party our means of observation will not ensure a general detail of the pursuit, as, writing from the spur of the moment, we shall confine ourselves more particularly to the minutiae of the operations of our own brigade.

While our cavalry were occupying the respective positions on General Lee's advance lines, where we had for several days been engaged actively with the enemy's advance, mostly infantry, his cavalry seemed rather reserved, and whenever it made its appearance was promptly whipped and driven back upon his infantry supports, which, in most instances, we engaged with spirit and success, fighting them with our carbines in regular infantry style, which state of facts, and the wild, wooded nature of the country, had almost resolved our arm of the service into infantry. General Lee, following his successes, was closely pressing Grant down in the direction of Fredericksburg, giving the cavalry their share in the immediate work.

In the meantime it seemed that a vastly organized force of the enemy's cavalry and artillery had concentrated and moved round far to his left, and made their appearance on Monday, the ninth instant, sweeping far around, and tapping our most extended cavalry pickets on the right, on the telegraph road, leading from Fredericksburg to Richmond. Wickham's cavalry brigade--the nearest at hand — took up the pursuit about two hours behind the rear of their column, which was tilting along at a most sweeping pace, and, from the best information, would entitle them to a more respectable term than mere raiders. From the most reliable sources their force could safely be set down at between fifteen and twenty thousand, and thirty-five pieces of artillery. At least, from one fact, this deduction maybe drawn — it took them four and a half hours, marching by fours, at a sweeping trot, to pass a given point. Lomax's brigade also immediately joined in pursuit, followed a few hours after by Gordon's. Wickham and Lomax overtook their rear at Jerrold's Mills. They were plundering and destroying thoroughly that gentleman's property, breaking up his household furniture, carrying off his bacon, and emptying his grain and flour into the river. A short skirmish here ensued, the enemy retreating precipitately, leaving the telegraph road, turning to the right, and taking the Beaver Dam road. They were closely followed and overtaken, late in the evening, on Mr. Wynne's farm, where they were so closely pressed that they gave battle. A few gallant charges soon sent them adrift down the road, leaving several killed and wounded and several prisoners in our hands. They made another stand about two miles further on, at Mitchell's shop, and were again routed and pursued closely to Swann's farm, where their rear was strongly reinforced, and where a hot fight was joined. The brave Virginians delved into their heavy columns with such vigor and spirit that that field was soon cleared, leaving many dead and wounded. Our loss was comparatively small in these engagements, mostly in wounded. Here night closed on the parties, Fitz Lee still following and harassing their rear till the enemy reached North Anna river, when, about daylight, a sharp fight was kept up, these two brigades holding their own against vastly superior numbers, and steadily driving the enemy before them across the river, where the enemy protected their position at the bridge, with numerous artillery, long enough to burn it. This, then, gave them a good start on us. In the meantime Gordon's brigade came up, making three brigades, all told, not more than four thousand men, already wearied and worn down by continual watching and fighting for five [457] days — to be thrown against the disproportionate hosts already mentioned. Yet these brave troopers, with their noble, but now fallen leader at their head — entirely Virginians and North Carolinians — felt the importance of each man acting well his part. The road to their devoted capital was open. Many a little child had gone to bed supperless, and would rise crying to a helpless mother for bread, whose cries and earnest entreaties had failed to influence the hellish outcast vandals to leave her one dust of flour or meal. Burning fences, mills, and houses lit up their hellish course. A stream lay between them, the bridge across which was burned. This difficulty was to be overreached. Across the river, in front, two narrow cow fords were discovered--one below and the other above the bridge. A party from Gordon's brigade were dismounted and engaged the enemy in front across the river, while Wickham and Lomax led around below and Gordon above. As Gordon reached the point above, the enemy's pickets were seen guarding the ford. Woodland skirted the banks. Colonel Evans, of the Fifth North Carolina cavalry, was ordered forward to charge and take it at all hazards. Sabres were drawn; Captain Galloway, with his company, led in front. The Colonel gave the word, “Forward, my brave boys,” which was responded to with a deafening yell, and onward they dashed to the ford, which was almost impassable. Horses and riders went down in the stream, yet up they grappled, and soon reached the bank, which was readily cleared of the party holding it, and which gave the regiment an exciting chase for several miles. Many of the enemy's horses fell dead in the road, while our horses got near enough occasionally to lay a blue coat in the dust, and take several of the hindmost in. Wickham, by taking a near route, reached Beaver Dam in advance of Gordon, and just in time to pitch into this living column, “which fared but middling.” He killed and captured a large body of them.

Where Beaver Dam stood nothing remained but charred and burning ruins of buildings, and two trains of cars, with their contents, that were not consumed, scattered profusely over the ground. The farmers' fencing, far and wide, lighted up the midday sky with a lurid glare.

“Our evil deeds come home to us,” struck us as most beautifully illustrated by the following incident: Along the road where our vengeful troopers had cleaved down the thieving villains the fencing had been fired by the more advanced fugitives. The main column had charged on after them, through the livid flames, that were almost lapping each other from both sides of the road. Hard by the fence, just in good roasting distance, lay a wounded raider, unable to move himself; the flames from the burning fence were fast approaching him, and the wind from the contrary direction seemed hurrying them up to the poor wretch, who was wincing and cringing at the horrible catastrophe awaiting him from his comrades' own devilish hands. But the benevolent principle, “if the enemy thirst give him drink,” relieved him from his awfully pending self-wrought fate. Our loss at this point was only a few wounded.

Here the enemy had divided his forces, one column going in the direction of Hanover Junction and the other taking the Negrofoot road. Generals Stuart and Fitz Lee, with the brigades of Wickham and Lomax, followed on the former route, and General Gordon, with his brigade, pursued the latter. General Gordon followed on till a late hour in the night, and bivouacked near Beach Ford, on the South Anna river, placing himself within a few miles of the Yankee camp. Early next morning he advanced and by daylight attacked them on Mrs. Grenshaw's farm, and, after a heavy skirmish, drove them steadily before him down upon the mountain road. Here the enemy had massed a heavy body of reinforcements and taken up their position around Mr. Goodall's. The dismounted men of the enemy were posted strongly behind the houses and woods; a heavy body of cavalry was drawn up in an open cornfield to the right of the road, while another body was placed immediately down the road and on the edge of the field. Our dismounted men were thrown out on each side of the road. While the cavalry was advanced, the dismounted men, under a most galling fire, broke with a fearful yell, and, simultaneously, the mounted men responded — the Fifth North Carolina--the colonel gallantly leading at the head; The squadron of Captain Galloway dashed at the body on the left in the corn-field, and Captain Harris dashed upon the body down the road. The fierce onset of both these advance squadrons, seconded by a detachment of the First and Second regiments, broke the Yankee columns simultaneously. The scene beggars description. The entire field was wrapped in smoke and dust — the steady charge of the dismounted men drove everything from the flanks. Yelling like demons, they kept pace almost with the horse — helter-skelter, the flying Yankee horse crowd and jam down the road. The troopers goad them behind, and while the carbineers empty many a saddle from the flanks, the falling dust tells that they are making fast time in the distance.

About four miles from the opening scene the pursuit is called off. The field and roadside are dotted with blue coats, and the wood through which the carbineers passed has its sprinkling too.

Individual instances of daring are numerous; and we hope not to be invidious in mentioning an instance. In the charge, the Yankee colors at one time being almost within reach, Lieutenant Lindsay, of the Fifth North Carolina, dashes at them and grapples with the color-bearer. As he reaches for them an expert shift from one hand to the other by the color-bearer saves them from his grasp; but with a well-plied stroke of the sabre, he almost unhorses the bearer, who, bleeding, reels, but gathers his equilibrium, and, by means of the fleetness of his [458] horse, saves himself with his devoted Yankee bunting.

Another instance is also worthy of publicity. Private Brown, of company H, Fifth North Carolina cavalry, a mere stripling, dashes into the heavy ranks of the First Maine regiment, and encounters an athletic Yankee captain, who, with a stunning blow with his broad sabre, knocks the lad from his horse; at the same instant the Yankee captain's horse was shot from under him. Just as this brave lad was rising from the ground his eye caught the situation of his antagonist, and raising the butt of his gun, commenced clubbing the Yankee, who lustily cried out .for quarter. The brave boy had the satisfaction of seeing him subsequently shipped to the Libby.

At this point the Yankees had settled down to have a good time, for a while at least, from the number of chickens, geese, eggs, &c., they had collected into camp — some with their heads just wrung off, some half picked; while eggs, boiled and unshelled, lay in profusion around. The ladies' pantries had contributed no little to the occasion, as pickle-jars and preserve-cans lay scattered about around their camp-fires. Amid these spoils also lay a number of dead and wounded Yankees.

A remarkable instance of immediate retribution came under our observation on this part of the field. Just at the head of a dead Yankee, who had fallen near the roadside, lay a large fine preserve-can, with its rich contents scattered around the unhappy wretch's head. The peculiar cause and circumstance of his death was some subject of remark, when a little North Carolina lad curtly replied, “Ah, boys! He took his sweetened.”

The Yankee loss was quite severe — nearly all killed outright; about fifty prisoners were taken. Our loss was principally in wounded.

The whole column was again formed, pursued on, and came up with the Yankees near the railroad. A charge was ordered. Colonel Andrews, of the Second North Carolina, gallantly led his regiment forward, closely followed by the other two regiments of the brigade. The first position of the Yankees was carried, but on reaching their second position it was discovered that the enemy had effectually barricaded the road, and had his artillery so posted as to rake it with a most galling fire. The charging column here retired in good order, losing several men and horses by the Yankee grape and canister thrown among them. Dismounted men were now thrown forward, and we succeeded in ousting the enemy from his strong position, driving him steadily down the road till dark, and forcing him to take position behind the railroad. Here our wearied columns were halted, the tired trooper was relieved from his saddle, and reposed till morning.

In the meantime, Generals Stuart and Fitz Lee came up with the enemy at Yellow Tavern, but, being terribly outnumbered, they managed to maintain their ground and inflict heavy loss upon the enemy. Here, in one of those desperate charges, at the-head of a charging column, the gallant and chivalrous Stuart fell, mortally wounded — an irreparable loss to our cause. His many gallant and daring deeds, and glorious exploits, will challenge the admiration of the world. He was best known and loved by his troopers. His frank and agreeable face always cheered them in the camp, the march and the bivouac. His bright, flashing eye, and clear, ringing voice, inspired and nerved them in the hour of battle.

A noble soul to liberty born--
A noble soul for liberty died!

In this engagement our loss was pretty severe. Colonel H. Clay Pate, and Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Randolph, were also killed — both of them brave and accomplished officers.

Colonel Henry Clay Pate was a native of Western Virginia. He gained some distinction for gallantry as a partisan leader in Kansas during the troubles which attended the formation of a government in that Territory, and on the breaking out of the present war raised a battalion of cavalry in this city, which was soon after merged into the Fifth Virginia cavalry, when he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He served through the principal battles in Virginia; and, after the promotion of Colonel Rosser to the rank of Brigadier, he was advanced to the command of the regiment. But a few months have elapsed since this event. Colonel Pate was about thirty-three years of age, and had been married for about two years. He was a gallant and daring officer, and one whose loss will be much regretted.

On Thursday morning the enemy were still on the same road, moving toward Richmond, but closely pressed by General Gordon, who came up with the Yankee rear near Brook Church, about a mile from the last line of fortifications. The Yankees turned down a road leading to Mechanicsville. Here we were reinforced by a regiment, or a portion of a regiment of infantry, which we hoped would assist in arresting the raiders. They were placed by General Gordon on each flank, in the place of dismounted men, with orders to double-quick and charge the enemy's dismounted men simultaneously with the cavalry charge. Our boys raised the yell, and were going in, when the necessary support failed. The command was then forced to dismount and advance as skirmishers, which was done immediately, steadily driving the enemy's skirmishers, when the recreant infantry were again ordered forward by General Gordon; but the only execution they did was by firing into our dismounted men, who were far in the advance, killing two and wounding several. They then fell back upon the road. This bad conduct was retrieved by some true men, four of whom we know personally; and we would have fared better had there been more. They expressed mortification at the course pursued by their comrades, and their action and conduct [459] should receive individual notice. Three out of the four were severely wounded; their names should be furnished.

Another instance is worthy of special notice. The names of the parties we are unable to give. We hope the country may yet have their names. in contradistinction to those who did behave badly. When the first volley was poured into the ranks of our advancing party, the dismounted cavalry were left to bear the brunt. An old gentleman who, it seemed, had accompanied his son, a mere lad, out to the field, brought his son into line, and both fought like veteran soldiers. Would that their noble spirit could pervade the bosom of every man when his home is thus seriously endangered; and may their noble conduct be imitated by all, should Richmond be again seriously menaced.

Our lines held back the enemy and drove him gradually till nightfall. General Gordon was severely wounded while leading his men in the skirmish. He unduly exposed himself, to hold his position against the enemy. The command, we hope, is only temporarily deprived of his services. The country cannot afford to lose the services of a such a gallant and successful officer in an active campaign, and may Heaven soon see fit to heal his wound and restore him to his devoted men, and may the fire and enthusiasm, with which he inspired us in the hour of battle, lose none of its influence till he is on his war-horse again.

After resting our weary frames, it was discovered that the continued thumping we had given the enemy had induced him to causeway the Chickahominy swamp and make his escape.

This, undoubtedly, has been by far one of the most thoroughly equipped, and most powerfully supplied of Yankee commands that ever made a raid into any country. Their main object was the capture and sack of Richmond; yet, what has it accomplished? So far as we see, the Yankees have only made a hasty circuit, leaving poor, helpless women and children to suffer along their track, which seems to be the acme of Yankee chivalry. And to whom Richmond owes its security from such a powerful combination, we leave the country to judge.

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