War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0827 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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mining where to strike us. Our picket reserve on the Central road divided and came in by the left and right; Captain Dern, Third New York Cavalry, commanding on the right; Captain Richardson, same regiment, commanding on the left. Captain Dern came in by the Gerhardt house and made a stand at the works near there, fighting every step as he came. Now, the enemy having felt us all along our front moved rapidly to our right with nearly his whole force, coming out of the woods near the house I have named in masses, driving Captain Dern with his small party from the works and occupying them. Our men opened and kept up a well directed fire from their position near the road. The enemy halted and reformed at the works, which were a continuation of the line we were holding, and from which they had driven Captain Dern. They edged down toward us so long as they could find cover in the sinuosities of the line; then swinging around their left they formed in three lines and advanced directly upon our flanks. Observing this, I ordered a change of front, which was effected in remarkably good order, considering the circumstances, the new line being the embankment of the ditch along the road. The Third New York now came up from where they had been supporting the artillery and got into position on the right of the Fifth Pennsylvania. The Fifth up to this time had done nearly all the fighting. The two regiments held their ground gallantly for a time, but their line was too long. The enemy pierced it exactly in the center. The Third New York rallied on its right at the unfinished redoubt of the Fourth Wisconsin Battery and did some further execution there. The Fifth Pennsylvania, being out of ammunition by this time, retired from the field under a withering fire from the enemy.

The reports show the losses in this brigade to have been 13 killed, 34 wounded, and 111 missing.* These must be inaccurate, since 16 dead bodies of our men were found by us afterward where they had fallen at the works. They had been partially buried by the enemy, and were so disfigured by their wounds and dirt that some of them could not be recognized. Ten of the missing are known by their comrades to have been wounded before they were left upon the field. The reports embracing lists of casualties of regimental commanders are inclosed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jacobs refers to the incident of a portion of the enemy's line throwing down their arms and shouting "deserters." This is substantiated by other officers of the Third New York, who saw and heard it. They chose a most unfortunate season for throwing themselves upon our protection, since we had more than we could do to protect ourselves just then. First Lieutenant Herman, E. Smith, Third New York Cavalry, acting as my aide, was very seriously wounded in this fight, and, as I have since learned, died in Richmond after his arrival there. Lieutenant Smith was in the prime of his life and usefulness when he fell. He was an earnest, brave and faithful officer. First Lieutenant George C. Gibbs, Third New York Cavalry, acting assistant inspector-general of the brigade, and serving on my staff at the time, was severely wounded in the leg. These two casualties are not included in the regimental reports.

I estimate the attacking force of the enemy at 2,000 men. This is smaller by 500 than the lowest estimate I have heard. Of course, I refer only to the force opposed to this brigade. They had more men in reserve with the artillery, which came into position on the Central road toward the close of the fight, and shell us vigorously.


*But see revised statement, p. 145.