War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0321 Chapter XXX. SIEGE OF SUFFOLK. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 22. Report of Major Hiram B. Crosby, Twenty-first Connecticut Infantry.


Suffolk, Va., May 5, 1863.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that in compliance with orders from the general commanding I crossed the Nansemond on Sunday, at 4 o'clock in the morning, May 3, having under my command the Twenty-first Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, a section of the Fourth Wisconsin Battery under Lieutenant Martin McDevitt, and a sergeant with 10 men of the First New York Mounted Rifles. My orders were to march to Chuckatuck and from thence to Reed's Ferry, opening communication with the Fourth Rhode Island on my left.

The troops were under way for Chuckatuck at 4.30 o'clock Sunday morning,t he distance being 2 1/2 miles. My skirmishers came upon the line of rebel pickets about half a mile from the Nansemond, their fires still burning. The rebel pickets fell back to Chuckatuck as we advanced. When within half a mile of the village we saw a company of rebel cavalry drawn up in the main street leading into the village. I ordered Lieutenant McDevitt to open fire upon them with artillery, and the rebels, after a few rounds, retired to the further side of the village, at the junction of the Reed's Ferry and Isle of Wight roads. I advanced the skirmishers to the village and moved up the column. Appearances indicated that the enemy would make a stand at that point, but they again retired, a portion of their force taking the Isle of Wight road, but the greater number retiring by the Reed's Ferry road.

As soon as my command were in the village I sent Sergeant Trowbridge, of the Mounted Rifles, and his detachment of cavalry to reconnoiter the road leading to the Isle of Wight, and also ordered Captain Spittle, acting major of the Twenty-first, with Companies A and K, to skirmish along the Reed's Ferry road. From the accounts given by contrabands at this point the enemy's cavalry were estimated at about 300 strong, and that they had a camp at Isle of Wight and also on the Reed's Ferry road. I ordered Lieutenant McDevitt to put the artillery in position to command both roads until they could be reconnoitered. On discovering that the enemy intended to make no resistance at this point the column was moved ahead on the Reed's Ferry road. Captain Spittle came upon the camp on this road about half a mile beyond Chuckatuck. The enemy had but just left; their camp-fires still burning. About a mile beyond Chuckatuck the roads branch off, one leading to Reed's Ferry the other to Everett's Bridge. The foot-prints indicated that the enemy's cavalry had retired by the latter road, but as the two road ran near together for quite a distance I halted the column at this point, put the guns in position commanding both roads, and ordered Captain Spittle to reconnoiter them. The enemy were then reported nowhere in sight.

The column was at once set in motion along the Reed's Ferry road, with the exception that Lieutenant McDevitt, with one piece of artillery and a sufficient support, was left behind to command the Everett's Bridge road until an advance was secured. The column had moved but an eighth of a mile in advance when I ordered Sergeant Trowbridge to make a reconnaissance on the Everett's Bridge road for about