16th ordered to retire, by General Gillmore, and leave the wounded; formed the infantry, as they retired, in the rifle-pits to cover the left. Succeeded in recovering all the wounded who were expected to live. Called in my pickets, and covered the rear of the army, holding the railroad until all the infantry stragglers were gathered in, and moved into camp in the rear as usual. 17th, ordered to report to General Gillmore, commanding Tenth Army Corps. Received orders of the enemy. Found the enemy in strong force on the picket-line, and was ordered to retire. Returned to camp at daylight on the morning of the 18th. 19th, ordered on reconnaissance found the bridge torn up and cheval-de-frise barricading the way; endeavored to reopen it, when the enemy opened fire from a shelter. Deeming it impossible to force the position, I retired.
I would most respectfully name as worthy of honorable mention, Captain C. S. Masten, Lieuts. James W. Burton and A. Egerton Adams, for gallantry and coolness. Casualties:*
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. F. ONDERDONK,
Colonel, Commanding First Mounted Rifles.
Lieutenant Colonel NICOLAS BOWEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Eighteenth Army Corps.
Numbers 76. Report of Brigadier General August V. Kautz, U. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Division, of operations May 5-17.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,
Near Point of Rocks, Va. June 3, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit my report of the operation of the cavalry under my command during the month of May in cutting the railroad communications south of Richmond, as also the reports of brigade and regimental commanders:
The first expedition started on the morning of the 5th of May in accordance with verbal instructions from the major-general commanding the department, and was directed against the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad. From the failure for two yard past of expeditions directed against this road, I reasoned that the Blackwater River was an impassable barrier, and that the expedition would be most likely to succeed by seeking a crossing near its source. The first day's march was made through Suffolk to Andrews' Corners, about 33 miles. From this point the principal crossings were threatened, and no exposure of the design to head the stream was made by camping there. Soon after midnight the march was resumed, passing through Windsor and by Isle of Wight Court-House to Fearnsville, where a demonstration was made at the crossing, whilst the column rested, and then continued on across Cypress Swamp to Birch Island Bridge. We were here enabled to make a crossing although a small picket force was engaged in taking up the
*Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 enlisted men killed, 8 wounded, 3 captured, 1 missing.