War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0798 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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Numbers 4. Report of Colonel D. J. Godwin, commanding cavalry, &c.


GENERAL: I received at 10 o'clock on Friday morning, 26th instant, your dispatch, informing me of the advance of the enemy upon this point, and, with the small force then in hand, prepared to meet him. I immediately ordered Captain [L. W.] Allen's company (cavalry) to the Central Railroad bridge over the Central Railroad bridge over the South Anna River, to the support of the infantry at that point under Lieutenant-Colonel Hargrove, his strength being only about 80 men. At the same time, I ordered Captain [R. R.] Hord, with a detachment of his own company and Captain [John K.] Littleton's company (cavalry), to cross the South Anna at Aylett's Bridge, and watch the approach and movements of the enemy. I also advised Colonel Singeltary to divide his forces in hand as equally as possible, and to press on to the support of the two South Anna railroad bridges, and to draw from other points not then threatened all the force he could, which he did promptly. His force in hand was not more than two companies, as he was compelled, when General Corse left, to do the duty the general had been doing with his brigade. At 11 o'clock the enemy, with three cavalry regiments, one battalion, and two pieces of artillery, commenced the attack at the Central Railroad bridge over the South Anna River. Our little force at that point resisted his attack for over an hour, under a severe fire from the enemy's artillery and sharpshooters, and would have held the position and saved the bridge but for a flank movement of the enemy in large force. This movement was effected by throwing across the river, at a ford above, between 300 and 400 cavalry. After overcoming our force at this bridge (Central), being on this side of the river, and within a mile of the Fredericksburg Railroad bridge, over the same river, he made a desperate effort to get in the rear of our forces at that bridge. That move was met by Captain Allen's cavalry company, and successfully resisted by finally driving him over the same ford he had crossed. In the meantime, he succeeded in burning the Central Railroad bridge, and had thrown his whole force on the other side, to the front of our position at the Fredericksburg Railroad bridge. Seeing this move, I immediately crossed Aylett's Bridge above with all the cavalry force I had, and charged the enemy on his flank. This move saved that bridge, for, after a few minutes' fighting, he retired in the direction of Hanover Court-House, with my cavalry in pursuit. Colonel Singeltary, with three infantry companies, was posted at the Fredericksburg Railroad bridge, and never did officers or men behave better. Colonel Singeltary's command was so scattered, guarding the various bridges around the Junction, at distances from 5 to 15 miles, that it was impossible to get them together in time to be available. I cannot praise too highly the conduct of officers and men of Colonel Singeltary's regiment. With not a single exception, they fought desperately and gallantly. His loss was 5 killed, 19 wounded, and about 50 captured. The officers and men of my command proper (cavalry) behaved