War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0946 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

miles in rear of my line of battle. Major Venable, of my staff, was ordered to superintend this movement of the cattle, and, with Major Ryals, provost-marshal, who had been very efficient in conducting it up to this time, to place quickly across the Nottoway River at Freeman's Ford. These officers discharged this duty admirably, and the successful manner in which the cattle were brought off is due very much to their zeal and enterprise. The enemy had in the meantime attacked Rosser, who held his ground steadily. I sent Miller to him, and soon afterward Dearing. This force held the position so easily that I determined to pass to the rear of the enemy with General Lee's division, in order to attack him there. Before proper dispositions to do this could be made, however, it became too dark to make the movement advantageously, and I directed General Lee to re-enforce Rosser and to protect our right. These orders were promptly carried out in the midst of an attack from the enemy, who were repulsed along the whole line. Several assaults were made on me, but always with a like result. Major Chew placed his artillery in position, and after a heavy fire of an hour completely silenced the guns of the enemy. Hearing that the cattle were all safely across the Nottoway, and fearing that the enemy might throw a force round my left so as to interpose between the cattle and my command, I determined not to follow the enemy, who were falling back, but to move to Wilkinson's Bridge, where I could check any flank movement. Leaving four squadrons on picket at the church, I moved the command to their former bivouac, on the Rowanty, halting for the night. I intended to attack the enemy in the morning if he could be found, but he had retreated during the night.

The next day the command returned to their old quarters after an absence of three days, during which they had marched upward of 100 miles, defeating the enemy in two fights, and bringing from his lines in safety a large amount of captured property, together with 304 prisoners.

Of the 2,486 cattle captured 2,468 have been brought in, and I hope [to] get the few remaining ones. Three guidons were taken and eleven wagons brought in safely, several others having been destroyed. Three camps of the enemy were burned, after securing from them some very valuable stores, including quite a number of blankets. My loss was 10 killed, 47 wounded, and 4 missing.

I beg to express my entire satisfaction at the conduct of officers and men. Major-General Lee and Brigadier-General Dearing carried out my orders and wishes most skillfully, protecting the flanks and covering the main attack, thus contributing greatly to the successful issue of the expedition. General Rosser, in the center, displayed his usual skill and gallantry, carrying out my plans there with entire success. In the fight on the plank road the conduct of these officers was equally satisfactory, and I beg to acknowledge my obligations to them. Besides the officers of my staff mentioned above I am indebted to Major Barker for valuable assistance on the field, and also to Captain Lowndes and Lieutenant Hampton. Captain Edelin, who volunteered for the occasion, aided me by acting on my staff, and Captain Henry, assistant quartermaster, was most efficient in assisting in bringing off the captured property. Captain Belcher, who lives on the plank road, volunteered as a guide, and was of great service to me.

I cannot close my report without notice of the conduct of the scouts who were with me. Sergeant Shadburne, of the Jeff. Davis Legion, who gave me the information about the cattle, acted as guide to General Rosser, accompanied the leading regiment in its charge, kept his party always in the front, and acted with conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant