HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 21, 1864.
COLONEL: I beg to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the action at Burgess' Mill on the 27th ultimo:
Early in the morning of that day the pickets on my whole line from the extreme left to Monk's Neck bridge road were driven in, and the enemy advanced rapidly in heavy force of infantry and cavalry, the former crossing Hatcher's Run at Armstrong's Mill and the Voughan road, while the latter crossed at Monk's Neck bridge. Butler was ordered to re-enforce his pickets, and in doing this he soon became heavily engaged with the enemy, who were advancing from the Vaughan road across to the plank and Quaker roads. Finding that the enemy was also advancing up the Quaker road from the Voughan road, I took position at the Quaker Meeting-House and there checked his advance. In the meantime Major General William Lee was ordered to move up the military road, so as to strike the enemy in rear. I had previously ordered Dearing to bring his brigade from the trenches on the north side of Hatcher's Run, and to take position on the plank road near Bevill's house to protect my rear and guard the roads leading from Armstrong's Mill to the plank road. General Hill thought that Dearing could not be withdrawn from the position he held, and notice of this was sent to me by Major Venable, of my staff, who had borne the order to Dearing from me. He was captured on his return, and I was thus left in ignorance that a very important position was open. The enemy advanced in the very direction that was unguarded, and the first intimation I had of this fact was his presence on the plank road in my rear while I was engaged on the Quaker road. This made it necessary for me to change my front so as to meet the enemy on the plank road and the White Oak road, both of which were by this time in his possession. Throwing a few skirmishers on the column advancing up the plank road, and opening on them with one gun, I ordered Butler to withdraw his command promptly from the Quaker Meeting-House and to take position near Wilson's house on the plank road. This movement was successfully executed in the face of the enemy, who were repulsed as they attempted to interfere with it. Lee was directed to move quickly across to the plank road and to attack there. Moving Butler to Wilson's I left a small force there to attract the attention of the enemy, and I passed rapidly over to the White Oak road. The skirmish line of the enemy was advancing up this road when we reached it, but it was quickly driven back. I then formed line of battle across this road, my left resting on Burgess' mill-pond, and repulsed an attack. Being soon after this informed that our infantry would attack the enemy, I prepared to join in this attack, and as soon as musketry told that our troops were engaged Butler was ordered to charge with his whole line, while Lee was directed to attack on the plank road. Butler's men charged gallantly across an open field and drove the enemy rapidly toward the plank road.
In this charge, while leading the men and cheering them by his words and example, Lieutenant Thomas Preston Hampton, aide-de-camp, fell mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Wade Hampton, who was acting on my staff, received a severe wound. Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffords, a most excellent officer, was killed at the head of his regiment, the Fifth South Carolina, and Major T. G. Barker, assistant adjutant-general of the division, who most gallantly took his place, was dangerously wounded. I beg to express my admiration of the conduct of Major Barker, who