HDQRS. SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE, KAUTZ'S DIVISION,
In the Field, Va., August 30, 1864.
SIR: In accordance to your communication of this date I have the honor to forward a report (together with a list of casualties) of my operations from the 23rd [22nd] to the 26th of August, 1864:
On the morning of the 23rd [22nd] I was on picket at the outpost; some little firing and skirmishing took place, but nothing of importance occurred. On the 24th [23rd] I was ordered to make a reconnaissance with all my available force down to Petersburg and Weldon Railroad, in the direction of Stony Creek and westward, crossing the Vaughan road, to ascertain the strength and location of the enemy's picket-line, their reserves, &c. This I did, and reported on my return to General Gregg. In this reconnaissance I had several skirmishes, always driving in the enemy's pickets and routing their reserves, having 2 men killed and 4 wounded. On the 25th [24th] I was ordered on the extreme left, and the day was spent in closely watching the enemy's movements and reporting the same when anything worthy of note occurred; some skirmishing during the day. On the 26th [25th], being still on the extreme left and at a point four miles below Reams' Station, some little skirmishing with the enemy took place about 8 a.m. I immediately mounted my horse, and on visiting the line found the enemy advancing in force from three directions. I immediately sent my aide, Lieutenant Ford, to report the same to headquarters. Re-enforcements were promptly furnished me, and I received orders to hold my position as long as possible, and if I was forced back, to retreat fighting every inch. At this hour, 9.40 a.m., the enemy advanced in superior numbers. My orders to fall back slowly were obeyed and every foot of ground strongly contested. On reaching the main body I reported to General Gregg. He ordered my horses to the rear, and my dismounted men placed in position to prepare to fight on foot. Here I remained, acting under orders of General Hancock and Gregg, till night, remaining in position and doing good execution till the close of the engagement, when I was ordered to fall back and bivouac on the plank road for the night. Next morning, the 27th [26th], I received orders from General Gregg to report with my brigade to General Kautz, which order was at once obeyed.
It becomes my painful duty to report that at the engagement on the 26th [25th] First Lieutenant Henry B. Neilson was killed. He was an energetic and exemplary officer and a high-toned gentleman. His loss is deeply deplored by all. My report of casualties will show the heavy loss to my brigade. All my officers and men behaved most excellently, and their actions have met my warmest commendations.
I cannot close my report without recommending to the commanding general my acting assistant adjutant-general, First Lieutenant A. H. D. Williams, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. Throughout the day on the 26th [25th] he was exposed at all times to the heavy fire of the enemy, carrying orders, placing men in position, &c. All his acts clearly prove this gallant young officer competent and worthy of a higher position.
I am, sir, with high respect, your obedient servant,
S. P. SPEAR,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Captain W. P. WILSON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Corps.