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Sheridan's cavalry april 3-9, 1865

April 14, 1865, Page 8 The New York Times Archives
AMELIA COUNTY, Va., Tuesday, April 3, 1865.
The cavalry has been moving down the left bank of Deep Creek to-day. BUSHROD JOHNSON and the remainder of PICKETT division, with two divisions of cavalry falling steadily back, making no decided stand until just before dark, in our front, about six miles east of Amelia Court-house, when the darkness prevented an attack being made. A part of STOGG's Michigan brigade was thrown in to develop the enemy's position, and they opened from pieces of artillery. As the infantry force is near at hand on our left, it is not expected the enemy will make a determined stand here -- at all events not a long one. We have to-night 700 prisoners with this cavalry column, about half of whom came in of their own accord, and all of whom seem determined not to fight again.
This morning Gen. MACKENZIE's cavalry started out in the advance, and had a little skirmish near camp and a few brief skirmishes have taken place during the day, but no real stand has been made.
The fight on Cedar Creek last night was, for a small affair, one of the most brilliant of the present campaign. In the hasty account forwarded last night, some mistakes were made in details. After passing Namozine Church, CAPEHART took the advance an a road leading to the right, and pushed forward until his command was completely exhausted. When three miles out he met the enemy at Wihtecomuk Creek, but promptly flanked and charged them out of this position without loss. The Third Virginia, Maj. WILCHER, which had up to this time been in front, was sent on the left flank, and the First New-York, (Lincoln) advanced. At one point the enemy charged and drove in the First upon the bead of the main column, to within twenty yards. Col. CAPEHART emptied his revolver into the head of the charging column, as did his staff officers and escort, and the enemy were forced back with considerable loss. Our loss here in killed and wounded was eight men. A ball struck Col. CAPEHART's pants, fearing up the cord in one leg, and a ball lodged in the lower jaw of a horse rode by one of his aids. A little beyond this point the Second New-York, Col. RANDALL Third New-Jersey, Lieut.-Col. ROBSON; and First Connecticut, Col. IVES, were sent forward, and the enemy's column was pushed forward to and beyond the Bevel Bridge Road, thus cutting the whole command off for a time. The Third New-Jersey on the left, and the Second New-York on the right, was here sent in dismounted, and for half an hour the little band fought against 7,000 of the enemy, made more fierce by being cut off from their line of retreat. The enemy relied behind a rail and log breastwork, checked the progress of our line, resisting several charges successful, and finally with two lines of infantry succeeded in forcing back the two regiments named, and regaining the road again. For half an hour the firing was continuous, as the troops engaged fell back to their supports -- CAPEHART's brigade and IVES' First Connecticut Regiment. LORD got his guns into position and poured in a raking fire upon the enemy's line, when they fell back toward the Appomattox in some confusion. This ended the fighting for the day.
WELLS' brigade, which took a road to the left at Namozine Church, drove the enemy about nine miles on that road. The advance guard finally charged, captured some prisoners and several wagons loaded with supplies; but upon attempting to return, it was found the enemy had run a line of infantry across the road, and the advance guard was forced to abandon the captured property, and make a wide circuit to escape, which was done successfully, Col. WELLS, finding his way blocked up by infantry behind breastworks, took a cross road to the right, and rejoined the main column.
In the heat or this fight the Second New-York, being forced back by JOHNSON's infantry, split right in two, one wing going to the right and the other to the left, and a heavy force of the enemy moved down a road leading through the gap thus made. Col. RANDAL, of the Second, not being quite well, had become much exhausted, and was caught in front in this gap, and the enemy advanced to within a few yards of him firing rapidly. Falling to the ground, he crawled into the woods, and endeavored to drag himself along by pulling at tufts of grass. As one tuft yielded, a ball struck the sod, knocking it out of his hand. Succeeding finally in reaching his horse, by the assistance of an orderly, he mounted and came in with his regiment. The Colonel escaped with no other injury than a ball-hole through his hat.
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Col. CAPEHART had a horse killed under him during the day, and there were quite a number of hair-breadth escapes. Prisoners taken to-day say that they had 7,000 men in this affair, and we have positive information that ROSSER was wounded in the leg -- not dangerous, however. The house was visited to-day where his wound was dressed. The enemy left seven dead bodies (one a Colonel) on the field that have been seen, and fourteen men seriously wounded in a house near the scene of strife. To-day two slightly wounded men gave themselves up; three more were found in a house at the roadside, making nineteen wounded; and these men say a large number of wounded men were carried away.
The result of the day's operations foots up as follows:
7 caissons captured;
18 wagons captured;
360 privates captured;
8 officers captured;
56 boxes fixed artillery ammunition captured;
100 boxes musket ammunition captured; and;
6 ambulances, and 5 pieces of artillery -- four of which were found stalled in the woods, by Maj. YOUNG.
In the fight at Five Forks, on the 1st inst., Capt. HOUGHTON, of the Second Ohio, in a charge upon the enemy's works, reached out his hand to grasp a rebel flagstaff, and just as he seized hold of it a ball struck his arm, which compelled him to drop his prize and some more fortunate person obtained it.
In the brief fight yesterday the Second New-York lost 22 -- three killed (one an officer) and nineteen wounded.
The credit of capturing Gen. BRANNON belongs to scout M'CABE, of the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.
In the fight on the 1st Lieut. STONEBRAKE, of the Seventeenth Pennsylvania, captured the Eleventh Virginia battle flag; and Lieut. MORGAN, of the First New-York Dragoons, captured another battle-flag.
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Capt. BLUNT, of FITZHUGH's Staff, had his horse killed, and every officer in the charge made had his clothes cut by bullets, viz.: Capt. MAHUKIN, A.A.G., had his horse shot, and a ball grazed his arm; Lieut. OLNEY, of the First New-York, and Lieut. HARKINS had their clothes torn; also, Capt. BELL and Lieut. GOELER, of the Sixth New-York; Capts. BROWN and ROBINSON, of the Ninth New-York, had their clothes punctured, Col. FITZHUGH's horse was wounded five times.
On the 2d, FITZHUGH's brigade, having the advance, drove the enemy from the Southside Railroad, and kept up the pursuit all day, until near night, when the enemy made a stand. After a little skirmishing, the troops went into camp, and before morning the enemy retired. On this day the brigade lost seventeen men, and on the day before eighteen officers.
In the charge made by PENNINGTON's brigade at Five Forks, on the 1st inst., Col. IVES had the breast of his coat pierced by two bullets, one of which broke a gold watch chain attached to a button-hole on his coat.
Maj. WHITE, of the Sixth New-York, was one of FITZHUGH's staff officers who had their clothes torn by bullets.
FITZHUGH's bugler, TRAPPIE, was also mortally wounded. E.A. PAUL.
Ord. Sergt. Isaac Colt. Co. B., 3d N.J. -- thigh.
John Hartman, Co. C., 3d New-Jersey -- nates.
Wm. Yates, Co. F., 3d New-Jersey -- forearm.
Francis Cook, Co. F., 3d New-Jersey -- thigh.
Wm. Dougherty, Co. F., 3d New-York -- ankles.
D.D. Cole, Co. A., 2d New-York -- leg.
Robt. W. Sawyer, Co. K., 2d New-York -- thigh.
John Sanders, Co., L., 2d New-York -- leg.
Archibald Long, Co. B., 2d New-York -- hip.
Lieut. G.B. Colt, Co. E., 2d New-York -- hand.
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Abraham Costler, Co. H., 2d New-York -- leg.
S. Dickerson, Co. F., 2d New-York -- arm.
Wm. Bissell, Co. L., 2d New-York -- wrist.
Ed. Brumstead, Co. L., 2d New-York -- thigh.
S.M. Slitter, Co. M., 2d New-York -- hip.
Henry Pervin, Co. D., 3d New-York -- face and ankle.
Sergt H. Nickles, Co. K., 3d New-Jersey -- chest.
1st Lieut. A. Von Belo -- chest.
Capt. David Fairly -- amputation of left arm and wounded in shoulder, scrotum and thigh.
Sergt. H. Stein, 3d New-Jersey -- mouth.
M.C. Ham. Co. B., 2d Virginia -- leg.
Edward Buck, Co. G., 1st Connecticut -- abdomen.
Richard Horton, Co. B., 2d Virginia -- wrist.
David Lloyd -- leg.
C.C. Boynton -- shoulder.
Lieut. John Joralemon, Co. C., 3d New-Jersey -- leg.
Capt. Cating.
Lieut. Hill.
Lieut. Chilson.
Lieut. Peck.
Lieut Wells.
JETTERSVILLE, Amelia County, Va., Wednesday Evening, April 5.
By referring to the map it will be seen that the headquarters of the army operating against LEE's army is on the Danville Railroad, nine miles northeast of Burkesville Junction.
CROOK's Second Cavalry Division and the Fifth Corps arrived here at evening. CURTIS and DEVIN's divisions reached here daylight this morning, having marched during the night from the left bank of Deep Creek. The Second and Sixth Corps reached here to-day.
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This morning, DAVIES' brigade, of the Second, moved out to Painesville, and two miles from that place, on the Amelia Court-house road, ran into the head of a rebel wagon train, ten miles long. A dash was at once made, and without much difficulty the following captures were made:
Five Whitworth field guns and caissons complete.
320 prisoners, besides three Colonels and ten other officers. Col. HARE, formerly Chief of Artillery on VAN DORN's Staff, and more recently on BRAGG's, was one of the Colonels.
ROBERT E. LEE's headquarter wagon:
LONGSTREET's headquarter wagon and flag.
150 horses.
500 mules.
9 flags of different kinds.
250 wagons destroyed, and several hundred negroes were brought in. The rebel infantry coming up, DAVIES was forced to retire, leaving the balance of the train.
While returning the enemy made an attempt near this station to recapture the guns, but unsuccessfully. In the skirmish that took place I regret to state Col. HUGH JANEWAY, of the First New-Jersey Cavalry, was killed, and Maj. THOMAS, First Pennsylvania Cavalry, was wounded. The fatal wound received by Col. JANEWAY was the eleventh received during this war.
Gen. DAVIES' brigade is composed of the following named regiments: First New-Jersey, Col. JANEWAY; First Pennsylvania, Major FALLS; Tenth New-York, Col. AVERY, and Twenty-fourth New-York.
As Col. AVERY brought the trophies to this station, the display was an exceedingly interesting one. The soldiers looking on gave frequent cheers; the prisoners did not seem to be disturbed -- in fact, they rather liked the display; but the negroes brought in were highly delighted, and frequently in their rejoicing shouted, "De day of Jubilee hab come at last."
The popularity of Gen. CUSTER among fighting men was unexpectedly developed to-day. He was riding at the head of his column past the Fifth Corps, when the men sprang to the roadside and gave three hearty cheers throughout the whole corps, the leaders exclaiming, "That is the fellow who flanked the rebs out at the Five Forks." Such an indication of admiration, and coming from an unexpected quarter, was duly appreciated and recognized.
During the fight at Five Forks, on the 1st inst., Gen. CUSTER, as usual, had CAPEHART's brigade band in operation at the front. When two members of the band had been wounded, the balls continuing to fly about at random, a majority of the men fell to the rear, and eventually all of them left. After the fight was over, the leader, with two or three of his men, passed near Gen. CUSTER's headquarters, when he hailed them and asked the leader where his men were during the fight. The leader, in an earnest way, said: "General, we were playing in Hall Columbia,' when suddenly turning round I saw that all except three of my men had left, and accordingly we followed them." A general laugh was caused by this answer. It was an amusing scene to see the musicians trying to use their instruments while dodging their beads from one side to the other trying to ward the balls flying about very freely.
As I write the troops are preparing to put out the last dying embers of the rebellion, by crushing LEE's army to-morrow, which will be dose if LEE don't run away.
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It was supposed several weeks ago, that LEE, making a virtue of necessity, would surrender his army. But this has not yet taken place, and if he waits a few weeks longer he will have no men to surrender. His men are leaving faster than ever, and those who remain have given up all hope of establishing a "so-called" Confederacy.
ON THE BATTLE-FIELD, Thursday Evening, April 6, 1865.
Seated by a rail fire, exhausted by the duties of the day, and surrounded by the turmell incident to a battle-field, I shall attempt to give a brief account of another grand Union triumph. The battle fought to-day took place on the plantation of THOS. HARPER, near Little Sailor's Creek, and therefore may, [???] propriety, be called
After the evacuation of Petersburgh and Richmond by the enemy, the troops in charge of materials of war, moved in several columns, toward Danville. One of these columns, under BUSHROD JOHNSON, was struck at Five Forks, and pushed across the Appomattox, after capturing some 5,000 men from the column. Another column moved from Richmond under Gen. CUSTIS LEE, and was struck in force yesterday morning, and a battle ensued, resulting in the capture, principally by Gen. CUSTER's cavalry, of 10,000 prisoners, including 7 Generals, 15 pieces of artillery, 29 battle flags, 6 miles of wagon trains, hundreds of horses and mules, and an immense quantity of arms and accoutrements, without a very heavy loss on our side.
Gen. SHERIDAN moved from Jettersville this morning with the Second and Sixth Corps of infantry and the cavalry corps. The Second Division (CROOK's) had the advance, and met the enemy's outpost as soon as the main road had been reached, leading from Petersburgh to Burkesville. After some skirmishing, the First Division (DEVENS') was throws in, and lastly CUSTER's Third Division. Up to this time little else had been attempted than to develop the force of the enemy, but when CUSTER came in the battle commenced in good earnest At the first dash PENNINGTON's brigade charged across Little Sailor Creek, through the enemy's line to the wagon train, followed by CAPEHART's brigade. Detachments at once moved up on either side of the train for five miles, cutting off several hundred wagons and the artillery mentioned. Soon after this, one division of the Sixth Corps moved into action on the extreme right, with STAGG's Michigan Brigade (First Division) on the right of that. DAVIS' brigade of CROOK's division, operated on the left of CUSTERS' division. After the attack upon the train the enemy's infantry, under EWELL, formed a line pointing easterly toward Sailors' Creek to cover the passing of the balance of the train. Considerable skirmishing took place, and charges and counter-charges were made until about four o'clock, when Gen. CUSTER received an order to move to the right, but being thoroughly posted as to the position of affairs, he assumed the responsibility of disobeying the order and charged on the left. This was one of the grandest and most exciting scenes ever witnessed. The column swept along up to the enemy's works, and at one bound repassed over -- the enemy throwing down their arms much faster than they could be reached. The Generals captured are Ewell, Defoe, Barton, Custis, Lee, Corse, Borden and Kershaw.
Capt. STEVENS, of the First New-York Lincoln Cavalry, (CAPEHART's brigade,) captured Gen. EARLY and Staff. At his request he was taken to Gen. CUSTER, to whom he offered his sword, but this CUSTER refused to receive, as he did also the swords of the other Generals. EWELL told CUSTER that further fighting would be a wanton waste of life, and that if a white flag was sent in, the thirty thousand men in the fight would all surrender, At the same time he asked one of hid staff officers to accompany the flag. At this time Gen. CUSTER had more prisoners than men, and he declined sending a flag, fearing the enemy would discover the weakness of his position and renew the attack.
Corp. LANNAN, of the Second Ohio, captured Gen. KERSHAW. He requested to be taken to Gen. CUSTER, which was done, when be said. "Gen. CUSTER, I have met you on several occasions in battle, and I know of no officer in the United States army to whom I would rather surrender my sword." Gen. CUSTER refused to take his sword, and KEHSHAW requested the corporal might be permitted to keep it as a reward for his gallantry.
To Dr. BOWLBY, Surgeon-in-Chief of the Third Division, KERSHAW said that until within a year past he believed their cause was great, and Providence on their side, but now he thought differently, and believed, as all of the other Generate expressed themselves, that the "so-called" had no chance.
After the fight Gen. SHERIDAN and Staff rode upon the field. Gen CUSTER and Staff rode up, when the Commanding-General's party complimented them most cordially. Indeed, CUSTER is the hero of the hour, and cannot pass a body of troops without being cheered. In the last charge made, Gen. CUSTER had his horse killed, as also did Lieut. HARWELL, Capt. BARNHART, Lieuts. NORWELL, MAIN and CUSTER of the staff. Young CUSTER was also severely wounded in the face. He led the Third Virginia in a charge, and alone dashed over the enemy's works, demanded a battle-flag from the astonished inmates of the works, when a man standing near the color-bearer fired, the ball passing through his cheek. CUSTER shot the man who wounded him, seized the battle-flag and escaped without further injury. This is the second flag captured by Lieut. CUSTER during the present week, and in both instances the flags were taken from the enemy's lines.

The following-named persons captured flags to-day:
H. Holtman, Co. M., 2d Ohio.
Corp. A. Jordan, Co. A., 3d Indiana -- escort.
C.M. Sherman, Co. B., 1st Connecticut.
Corp. Baldwin, Co. C., 1st Connecticut.
Wm. Holmes, Co. A., 3d Indiana -- escort.
Lieut. Thomas Custer, Aid.
Wm. Holmes, 3d Indiana -- escort.
Corp. J.F. Benjamin, Co. M., 2d New-York.
W.F. McWharton, Co. E., 3d Virginia.
Lieut. Norton, Co. M., 1st New-York Lincoln.
Capt. Savacool, Co. K., 1st New-York Lincoln.
Capt S. rushed into the enemy's line, seized the flag, and received what is supposed a mortal wound from his own men. After taking the flag he waved it to rally his men, some of whom mistook him for a rebel.
F.M. Cunningham, Co. H., 1st Virginia.
Wm. Shepnard, 3d Indiana -- escort.
D. Evans, 3d Indiana -- escort.
Sergt. A.A. Clapp, Co. G., 2d Ohio.
J.P. Hughey, Co. L., 2d Ohio.
Smith Laramer, Co. G., 2d Ohio.
E. Shahan, Co. A., 1st Virginia.
D.A. Wood, Co. K., 1st Virginia.
S.O. Macilhaney, Co. A., 2d Virginia.
Jo. Kimball, Co. B., 2d Virginia.
Sergt. Wm.M. Holton, Co. F., 1st Virginia.
Sergt. Henry Wilson, Co. B., 1st New-York Lincoln.
George Pitman, Co. C., 1st New-York Lincoln.
Capt. Boon, Co. B., 1st Virginia.
Lieut. Calkin, Co. I., 2d New-York.
Frank Miller, Co. M., New-York.
Lieut. Grlbben, Co. C., New-York.
Corp. E.C. Payne, Co. M., New-York.
I shall not at present attempt to say who captured the artillery, more than that it was done by CUSTER's division.
The prisoners, almost without exception, appear to be entirely satisfied with the result of the fight. One exception, I found. A man expressed his belief that the South would yet establish her independence. This was received with a loud burst of laughter from his companions. As CUSTER's cavalry dashed in among the rebels, they seemed to take it as a matter of course that they must surrender, and the men called out, fall in "Cobb's Legion," &c., and marched to the rear as if going on parade.
Col. IYES was one of the foremost in the fight, and had a horse killed under him, and was some bruised when the animal fell to the ground.
The command is now moving off, and I have no more time to write. It is probable that the balance of the army of Virginia will be captured to-morrow.
Annexed will be found a partial list of casualties.
Sergt. H.S. Parmelee, Co. B., 1st Conn. 1st Lieut. J.F. Tomlin, Co. M., 3d New-Jersey.
Capt. H.W. Chester, Co. K., 20 Ohio. Sergt. John Fritz, Co. I., 3d New-Jersey.
Corp John W. Woods, Co. D., 30th Penn. Augustus Marks, Co. F. _____
Corp Henry E. Frazer, Co. C., 27th Penn.
Wm.L. Johnston, Co. F., 1st Maine.
Augustus Smith, Co. F., 1st Conn.
Corp. O.B. Cooledge, Co. M., 2d New-York.
Wm. Leonard, Co. A., 1st N. Jersey.
Qr.-Master Sergt. Y.R. McCullough, 20th Penn.
Thos. McCartney, Co. I., 2d New-York.
Corp. Jas. A. Donathan, Co. E., 3d New-Jersey.
2d Lieut Wm. Smith, 2d Ohio.
N.T. Pennington, Co. E., 16th Penn.
Peter Mains. Co. D., 1st Conn.
Gustave Voltz, Co. B., 1st Conn. Lyman Hunt, Co. G., 2d New-York.
Corp. Geo. M. Davidson, Co. E., 20th Penn. W.H. Jenks Co. G., 20th Penn.
Corp. Gilbert Hunter, Co. A., 1st New-Jersey.
Sergt. Ed. Howard, Co. L., 20th Penn.
Wm. Gaton. Co. E., 1st Va.
2d Lieut. A.S. Ely, Co. F., 20th Penn. Sergt. L.M. Tuttle, Co. B., 2d O.
2d Lieut. Geo Freeman, Co. C., 21 Va.
Capt. A.A. Yard, Co. F., 3d N. Jersey.
Bugler Geo L. Wiseman, Co. G., 2d Va.
S.B. Poster, Co. G., 2d Ohio.



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Sheridan's cavalry april 3-9, 1865
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