War of the Rebellion: Serial 067 Page 0793 Chapter XLVIII. RAPIDAN TO THE JAMES.

Search Civil War Official Records

Anna as far as Little River; the other two divisions remained encamped from the 24th until the 26th, in the vicinity of Pole Cat Station. On the 26th a movement of the army commenced in order to make the crossing of the Pamunkey River at or near Hanovertown. Torbert's and Gregg's divisions, with Russell's divisions, of the Sixth Corps, took the advance to secure the crossings, with directions to demonstrate so as to deceive the enemy as much as possible in the movement. To accomplish this end, Torber was ordered to move to Taylor's Ford, on the Pamunkey, and demonstrate until after dark as if the crossing was to be made at that point, then to leave a small guard, quietly withdraw, and march to Hanovertown ford, where the real crossing was to be made. General Gregg was ordered to Littlepage's crossing of the Pamunkey, to demonstrate in the same manner, to retire quietly after dark, leaving a guard to keep up the demonstration, and march quickly to Hanovertown crossing, taking with him the pontoon bridge. Russell took up the march and followed the cavalry.

On the morning of the 27th Custer's brigade, of Torbert's division, made the crossing, driving from it about 100 of the enemy's cavalry and capturing 30 or 40; the balance of the division followed this brigade, and advanced to Hanovertown, where General Gordon's brigade of rebel cavalry was encountered, routed, and driven in great confusion in the direction of Hanover Court-House, the pursuit being continued to a little stream called Crump's Creek. Gregg was moved up to this line, and Russell encamped near the crossing of the river.

We had been successful in our mission, and, upon the arrival of the army, on the 28th, it crossed the Pamunkey behind our line, unimpeded. I was immediately after ordered to demonstrate in the direction of Mechanicsville, in order to find out the enemy's where-about, and therefore directed Gregg's division to move out, via Haw's Shop, on the Mechanicsville road, but when about three-fourth of a mile in advance of Haw's Shop it encountered the enemy's cavalry, which was dismounted and behind a temporary breast-work of rails, &c. Gregg vigorously attacked this force, which appeared to be the rebel cavalry corps, and a brigade of South Carolina troops, reported 4,000 strong, armed with long-range rifles, and commanded by a Colonel Butler; these Carolinians fought very gallantly in this their first fight, judging from the number of their dead and wounded, and prisoners captured. The most determined efforts were made on both sides in this unequal contest, and neither would give way until late in the evening, when Custer's (Michigan) brigade was dismounted, formed in close column of attack, and charged, with Gregg's division, when the enemy was driven back, leaving all his dead and his line of temporary works in our possession. This was a hard contested engagement, with heavy los, for the number of troops engaged, to both sides, and was fought almost immediately in front of the infantry line of our army, which was busily occupied throwing up breast-works. After dark, our own and the enemy's dead being buried, we moved to the rear of the infantry, and went into camp on the morning of the next day (the 29th) in the vicinity of Old Church.

In the battle at Haw's Shop but one brigade (Custer's) of Torbert's division was engaged; the other two, being posted on the Crump Creek line, could not be gotten up until relieved by the Sixth Corps. They arrived in the afternoon, however, but did not become