War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 1130 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XVIII.

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staff officer from the major-general commanding the cavalry conveyed me an order to move two of my brigades rapidly forward to Dinwiddie Court-House, leaving one brigade as escort for the trains. The two brigades designated moved forward at the trot. Upon reaching Dinwiddie Court-House the head of the columns was halted, and I reported for orders to the major-general commanding, who directed me to place my command in position to support and relieve the Second Cavalry Division, then engaged and being driven back. Most of my command were dismounted and placed behind a hastily constructed barricade. Lord's battery of horse artillery, which had been ordered to report to me, was also placed in position. The attacking force of the enemy proved to be infantry. Several vigorous efforts were made to displace us from our position. A strong line of the enemy's infantry, formed across the road leading to Five Forks, was charged by portions of the First and Third Brigade, and driven handsomely until their supports were reached and they were enabled to make a stand. No further demonstration was made upon either side. My command bivouacked within short range of the enemy's line of battle. In anticipation of an early attack the next morning my command slept upon their arms, but daylight disclosed to us the retreat during the night of the enemy. The march was resumed early next day in the direction of Five Forks, connection being made with the Fifth Corps at a point about two miles distant from Dinwiddie Court-House. My command then left the road leading direct to Five Forks and moved across the country parallel to the White Oak Creek. No opposition from the enemy was encountered until the advance had nearly reached the road leading from Five Forks across White Oak Creek. A brief skirmish ensued for the possession of this road, which resulted in the enemy being driven back in the direction of Five Forks, we pursuing until communication was restored upon our right with the left of the First Division. The enemy had evidently resolved to oppose our farther advance with the greatest determination. Heavy lines of earth-works were discovered, extending for miles in either direction along our front. In advance of these were strong barricades of rails, logs, and other obstructions. Every point seemed to be strongly manned with infantry and artillery. Repeated charges by portions of my command at various points showed the enemy to be in heavy forces. At one time my entire command was dismounted and fighting as infantry in the woods skirting along the enemy's front. Nothing was accomplished in this manner. About one hour and a half before dark a staff officer informed me that the major-general commanding had placed the Fifth Corps in position to assault the enemy's left. The First Cavalry Division had been dismounted and were to attack in the center, while my command was to engage the enemy on his right, keeping up the connection with the First Cavalry Division. An examination of the ground in front and on the enemy's right seemed to favor a movement by a mounted force against the enemy's right and rear. With this object in view I deployed the First Brigade dismounted, Colonel Pennington commanding, along the entire line held by my division. The Second and Third Brigades, commanded, respectively, by Colonels Wells and Capehart, were mounted and moved opposite the extreme right of the enemy, and waited the opening of the general assault before advancing to turn the enemy's right flank. As soon as the firing on the line held by the Fifth Corps indicated the inauguration of the attack the Second and Third Brigades were moved at a gallop against the right of the enemy's line of battle. To cover the movement and to draw the fire of the enemy's batteries in front