War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0179 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

Numbers 79. Reports of Major J. Stannard Baker, First District of Columbia Cavalry, of operations May 5-17.


In the Field, May 29, 1864.

COLONEL: Herewith I have the honor to report briefly the part taken by this regiment in the first raid May 5 to May 10, inclusive:

May 5.-In compliance with the order of Colonel Mix, commanding First Brigade of Cavalry, in the division of General A. V. Kautz, the First District of Columbia Cavalry, under command of Major J. S. Baker, marched from Deep Creek, Dismal Swamp, Va., and joined General Kautz's column near Bowers' Hill and reached Suffolk a little after noon, where we halted a short timer, then marched toward Blackwater River, and about 9 o'clock in the evening the column halted in the woods for the night and slept a few hours.

Friday, 6th.-Started about 3 o'clock in the morning and crossed the Blackwater in the afternoon, and in the evening halted in the woods near the railroad at Wakefield.

Saturday, 7th.-Before daylight commenced the march and reached the Nottoway River and crossed it near Stony Creek about 3 p. m., where we found the Third New York Cavalry had just met the enemy in a smart engagement and whipped them. After aiding to destroy the railroad station with other buildings and a bridge the column recrossed the Nottoway and halted for the night.

Sunday, 8th.-About 8 a. m., marched for Nottoway railroad bridge above Jarratt's Station, which was reached before noon, where we found the enemy entrenched behind earth-works at the opposite end of the bridge. They came across in considerable force and formed a line of skirmishers and battle along the railroad, from which they were speedily driven into their fortifications across the bridge. After a spirited contest by Companies A, B, C, F, and E, of the First District of Columbia Cavalry, who were dismounted and deployed as skirmishers, under command of Major D. Curtis, and with vigor and bravery drove the enemy in superior numbers double-quick through the woods more than half a mile and down the track toward the bridge, when we came up with a portion of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, under Colonel Spear, who had drawn up his men along the railroad on our left. Colonel Spear then ordered our skirmishers to be halted and massed with the Eleventh Pennsylvania to charge upon the bridge, which was quickly done, and our men rushing down the track, the bridge was quickly reached, under the sharp fire of the enemy from shelter of the covered bridge and their breast-works. The bridge was soon fired by the First District of Columbia Cavalry and burnt, when they returned to the road from which we had started and occupied an old building for hospital purposes to care for our wounded. The First District of Columbia Cavalry lost 2 killed and 8 wounded. Among the latter was Lieutenant Jackson, a brave and noble young officer. Several of the enemy were taken prisoners and a number killed. About 5 p. m. we started and marched to Sussex Court-House, where we halted for the night.

Monday, 9th.-Started before daylight and marched to Hawkinsville, from which place the rebel pickets had been driven by our advance guard. By about noon halted a short time, started again, and at 3 o'clock halted for dinner; then marched to an old church within about 8 miles of City Point and halted for the night.