The Virginia in the Civil War Message Board

Custer Advances to Five Forks

Custer’s advance
Quite some time after sunrise custer advanced and found the confederates had fallen back during the night. Merritt ordered him to take two of his three brigades (Capehart’s and Pennington’s) and move towards five forks with his left resting on Chamberlain’s Bed. Wells’ brigade was left behind with the wagon train. Merritt’s report p. 1117 for the late start see sherman
When custer’s men started forward they encountered cavalry pickets who fired on them. at this point pennington ordered the 1st connecticut cavalry and the 2nd New York cavalry to dismount, deployed them in a skirmish line and sent them forward. Their horses were brought along so that they could mount and dismount when needed. The other two regiments of the brigade – the 2nd Ohio and 3rd New Jersey followed in column on horseback. A short skirmish ensued. Pennington’s testimony p. About two miles north of the court house at the adams farm in obedience with merritt’s orders to follow the course of chamberlain’s bed, custer left the road. Custer’s report p. 1130
At the creek bed beale’s men made a determined stand, occupying the ravine formed by the creek and the other side of the creek. Heavy skirmishing ensued which occupied twenty or thirty minutes. Colonel Pennington's horse was shot. Finally the rebels fell back, but the fighting did not cease.
For the next three miles Pennington fought against beale’s rear guard. The enemy often halted behind fences and in barns and at every place for temporary defense. The 1st connecticut and 2nd New York would charge them, drive them out, then pursue; sometimes the federals would dismount. Several times the federals thought they had met the main confederate line, and would advance as skirmishers. Randol
finally Pennington’s brigade came in to an opening, with woods their right and cleared grounds for quite a distance upon their left; a farm house in their front. This was the gilliam farm. Sherman
South of the house was an open field. Pennington’s brigade’s battle line extended across the entire gilliam field and was south of the gilliam house. Beyond his right and his left flanks were woods. Capehart's brigade was to the left of pennington’s. his brigade mostly resting in the wood which lies west of the open field south of the Gilliam house. houghton