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Engagement at Sappony church-report of General Wade Hampton.

headquarters Hampton's division, cavalry corps, A. N. V., July 10th, 1864.
To Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Colonel — On the morning of 27th June the General-Commanding ordered me to move my command from Drewry's farm to Stony creek, in order to intercept Wilson, who was returning from Staunton river bridge to rejoin Grant's army. In obedience to these orders, I moved rapidly in the direction indicated with my division — Chambliss' brigade having been sent forward the evening previous. At 12 M. the next day I reached Stony Creek depot, where I found Chambliss. From this point scouts were sent out to find the position of the enemy and to ascertain what route he was pursuing. At 12.30 P. M. I wrote the General-Commanding, suggesting that a force of infantry and artillery be placed at Reams' station, as the enemy would have to cross the railroad there — Jarratt's or Hicksford. The scouts having reported what road the enemy were marching on, I notified General Lee of their position, and informed him that I should attack them at Sappony church, asking him at the same time to place the infantry at Reams' station and to order Major-General Fitz. Lee to take position near there. These dispositions were made by the General-Commanding, and in the meantime my command was put in motion. Chambliss, who was ahead, was ordered to push on to the church and to charge the enemy as soon as he met him. Soon after crossing Sappony creek the enemy was encountered, and he was gallantly charged by the Ninth Virginia and driven back beyond the church. Here he occupied a strong position with dismounted [169] men, and he succeeded in checking the charge. General Chambliss dismounted his men and took up aline near the church, when in a few moments he was heavily attacked. I brought up a part of the Seventh Virginia to reinforce him, and the attack was repulsed along the whole line. Young's brigade, under Colonel Wright, was then dismounted and put into position — the enemy in the meantime using his artillery and small arms rapidly. Soon after my line was established, Lieutenant-Colonel Crawley, commanding the Holcombe legion (infantry), brought 200 men of his command to join me, and he was placed in the centre of the line. With these troops the line, which was not a strong one, was held steadily all night, the enemy constantly making demonstrations and attacks upon it, but without the least impression. The fire of their artillery becoming very hot, I directed Major Chew to place two guns — all I had — under Captain Graham, where they could respond. These guns were well served and rendered me great assistance. The position of the enemy — who had two lines of works — was so strong that I could not attack it in front, so at day-light I threw portions of Butler's and Rosser's brigades on the left flank of the enemy. At the same moment Chaimbliss advanced the whole of the front line, and in a few moments we were in possession of both lines of works, and the enemy were in full retreat, leaving their dead and wounded on the ground. They were followed closely for two miles, when, finding they had taken the route to Reams' station, I moved by Stony Creek depot, in order to get on the Halifax road to intercept them, should they attempt to cross below Reams'. Butler's brigade was sent to Malone's crossing, two miles south of Reams' station, and the other brigades were ordered to occupy the roads leading into the Halifax road. I moved up with Chambliss' brigade, following Butler, and soon after crossing Rowanty creek we met an advance of the enemy who had struck the Halifax road between Butler and Chambliss. These were charged and scattered, when another party were reported coming into the same road at Perkins' house. I took a portion of the Thirteenth Virginia, and meeting them, drove them back, and Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips pushed on, getting possession of the bridge over the Rowanty. Finding that a portion of the force which had crossed the creek had taken a road leading east, I sent Colonel Beale with two or three squadrons in pursuit. He followed them for four miles, capturing a large number and scattering the rest. The force of the enemy was entirely broken and the fragments [170] were seeking safety in flight in all directions. They scattered through the woods, and night coming on the pursuit had to cease. Knowing that a portion of the enemy were retreating towards the Nottoway river on the Stage road, I brought my command to Stony Creek depot, which was the most central point, to let the men who had been fighting all the night previous obtain some rest, and that I might be where I could best intercept the party which was retreating west and south of me. My command was ordered to be ready to move at daylight, and I anxiously waited for some information which would indicate the point at which the enemy would attempt to cross the Nottoway river. I had not heard one word of the result of the fight at Reams' station, nor did I know the position of Major-General Lee or of the enemy. At 9 o'clock on the morning of the 30th of June I received a note directed to the “Commanding officer Stony creek depot,” from General Fitz. Lee, saying that he was “still pursuing the enemy, capturing prisoners,” &c., and that he was five miles from Nottoway river on the Hicksford road. The note went on say that General Lee thought “the enemy after crossing the river will try to cross the railroad at Jarratt's depot,” and he wished “all the available force sent to that point to intercept their march until he gets up.” I immediately moved my command in the direction of Jarratt's depot, but when I got within five miles of that place some of my scouts, who had been sent on, reported that the enemy had passed there at daylight. I then advanced to intercept them on the road leading to Peter's bridge, but though I made a rapid march, I found on striking the road that the rear of their column had passed two hours previously. Had there been proper concert of action between the forces at Reams' and my own, there would have been no difficulty in cutting off the party which escaped by Jarratt's. In the fight at Sappony church and during the following days, the enemy lost quite heavily in killed and wounded. We captured 806 prisoners, together with 127 negroes-slaves. My own loss was two killed, eighteen wounded and two missing. The reports from General Chambliss and Colonel Crawley have not been sent to me. I regret to announce that the latter was severely wounded, and I beg to express my sense of the valuable services rendered to me by this officer and his command. General Chambliss, by his gallantry, his zeal and his knowledge of the country, contributed largely to the success we gained. The officers and men of my own division behaved to my entire satisfaction, and the [171] members of my staff gave me every assistance possible. Captain Graham, who had a section of his battery with me, did good service, and he was well supported by his command. The pursuit of the enemy, which ended near Peters' bridge, closed the active operations which commenced on the 8th June, when the movement against Sheridan began. During that time, a period of twenty three days, the command had no rest, was badly supplied with rations and forage, marched upwards of 400 miles, fought the greater portion of six days and one entire night, captured upwards of 2,000 prisoners, many guns, small arms, wagons, horses and other material of war, and was completely successful in defeating two of the most formidable and well organized expeditions of the enemy. This was accomplished at a cost in my division of 719 killed, wounded and missing, including twenty-one casualties in Chew's battalion not mentioned in my previous report. The men have borne their privations with perfect cheerfulness; they have fought admirably,. and I wish to express, before closing my reports, not only my thanks to them for their good conduct, but my pride at having had the honor to command them.

I am, very respectfully, yours,

Wade Hampton, Major-General.

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