War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0635 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

tember 30, when we were relieved and rejoined the brigade. As we joined the brigade they were just going into action, and though we were under fire a part of the time, we did not become engaged.

At dark Brigadier-General Davies, jr., commanding the brigade,

ordered me to advance with my regiment along the left of the Fifth Corps to the Armstrong house, and thence a mile to the right, and communicate with General Parke's (Ninth) corps at the Pegram house. As we filed out into the woods the general concluded to accompany us. The night was intensely dark and the road a strange one, the enemy known to be on our left flank and in or front. We advanced cautiously, occasionally stopping to light a candle and get back into the road until we reached the Armstrong house. As we slowly rode up a little hill in front of the house in utter silence, those in advance distinguished talking and then clattering of sabers. "Who goes there?" rang out sharply on the air. "Butler's South Carolina brigade," was the startling reply. "Who are your?" "First New Jersey Cavalry," "charge," was the reply we gave, as with a Jersey yell, we dashed through the thick darkness upon an invisible foe. A sharp volley was given, and the rapid and continued rattle of hoofs on the gravel road in front gave notice that we had driven them from the field. We captured Captain Butler, brother of General Butler, of the rebel army. After the regiment had been collected again a line was formed, and as the enemy was found to be on each flank, as well as in front, the general concluded to return as far as the Davis house, on the Vaughan road to Petersburg, where General Gregg's headquarters were. Here we remained in bivouac the remainder of the night.

At daylight on the 1st of October, in a drizzling rain, our brigade started for the Hawks house, just in front of the Ninth Corps. After leaving the Davis house, it was occupied by Hampton's cavalry, and we had not proceeded far on the road before we were ordered back. At noon we reached a point near the Davis house, and about 1 o'clock we occupied the farm about the house from which the rebels had retired. Disposition was immediately made by General Davies to meet any emergency. The Sixth Ohio Cavalry was thrown out (dismounted), with the First Massachusetts Cavalry on the right, also dismounted. The First New Jersey Cavalry was held in reserve in compliance probably with the Army Regulations, which enjoins upon all commands to hold their best troops in reserve. The wisdom o this soon became apparent. The Sixth Ohio and First Massachusetts Cavalry were vigorously attacked by Donovant's and Mahone's brigades of rebel cavalry (dismounted), and rapidly driven in, notwithstanding a stubborn resistance on the part of the Massachusetts calvary. The line broke and ran, rallying in the rear of the First New Jersey Cavalry. An ominous silence ensued for a moment, when suddenly the dense woods in our front became alive with rebels, who came on at a double-quick, shouting and yelling like so many fiends, firing as they advanced. The Jersey boys stood cool and calm though exposed to fire from the whole rebel line, as well as six guns, which had been run up to within 300 yards of our lines. The spiteful buzz of bullets, the shriek of solid shot and shell, and the fierce tearing whir of canister, were enough to terrify brave hearts and older heads, but with our colors planted in the ground in the center of the line my gallant men stood without firing a shot until, with the enemy twenty-four paces in front, I gave the order to commence firing. Old soldiers and veterans o the bloodiest fights of the war join in saying that our rapidity of firing was wonderful and