attack the rebels in my front, reach the Weldon railroad if practicable, and drive the enemy into their fortifications at the lead-works. I had carefully examined the grounds and made all necessary arrangements to advance, when my movements was countermanded.*
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
Brevet Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.
Lieutenant Colonel J. W. FORSYTH, Chief of Staff, Middle Mil. Div.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY EXPEDITION, Light-House Point, Va., July 3, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of the troops under my command during the recent expedition against the South Side and Danville railroads.
On the 21st of June I received instructions from Major-General Meade, through his chief of staff, to move with my division and four regiments of General Kautz's, against the above-mentioned railroads for the purpose of destroying them, and to continue my operations till driven from them by a force of the enemy so strong that I could no longer contend with it successfully. Having accomplished the object of the expedition I was directed to return to the Army of the Potomac. In pursuance of these instructions the forces under my command marched from their camp in the vicinity of Prince George Court-House at 2 a.m. on the 22nd of June, General Kautz's division in advance. They pursued an intricate route to Reams' Station on the Weldon railroad, and thence through Dinwiddie Court-House to a point on the South road about fourteen miles from Petersburg. The enemy's cavalry pickets were met at first on the Jerusalem plank road, but no resistance was made to the march. Just as the rear of the column was passing Reams' Station it was attacked by a considerable force of cavalry, afterward ascertained to be the division of W. H. F. Lee. Kautz's advance reached Ford's Station about 4 p.m., capturing 2 locomotive engines and 16 cars, all in good order, burning the depot buildings, water-tanks, ties, wood, and destroying the railroad completely for several miles. The Third Division, moving more slowly, took ample time to destroy the track all the way from the Sixteen-Mile Turnout to Ford's, and burnt a large saw-mill used in preparing lumber for the road. The men of the whole command were kept diligently at work in the vicinity of that place till midnight. About 6 p.m. Chapman's brigade, constituting the rear guard, was attacked again by rebel cavalry, but after a sharp fight drove the enemy off.
At 2 a.m. the 23rd General Kautz's division proceeded rapidly to the Burkeville Junction, where it arrived in the afternoon, meeting but slight resistance. The men were at once put to work burning the depots, tanks, track, trestle-work, and wood in all directions. The Third Division, Colonel McIntosh commanding, was ordered to march more slowly, and destroy the railroad completely. The men worked cheerfully, and by piling fence rails over the railroad iron lengthwise with the road and burning them the rails warped by expansion and ties so destroyed as to compel the entire reconstruction of that part of the road between the Sixteen-Mile Turnout and Blacks and Whites Station. At the latter place the advance of Kautz's division was misled and thereby caused the Third Division to leave the direct road and lose
*For continuation of report, see Vol. XLIII, Part I.
40 R R-VOL XL, PT I