On the following day, in the morning, a reconnaissance went out under Major Snyder, Tenth New York Cavalry; communicated with the left of the infantry force. In the afternoon of the 30th the brigade moved out on the road leading to Five Forks, and reported to Brevet Major-General Merritt, whose forces were engaged at that point. The brigade did not go into action, but stood until dark ready to act, though not called on. That night I encamped near the house of J. Boisseau, on the left of the road, picketing out on my left flank.
On the morning of the 31st of March a reconnaissance, sent out under Captain Craig, First New Jersey, discerned the presence of Johnson's division of the enemy's infantry and W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry on my left and front. Later in the day I was ordered to move my brigade to the rear and left flank support General Smith's brigade heavily engaged with the enemy on the road crossing Chamberlain's Creek. I at once moved in that direction, and the road being impassable for mounted troops, took my men down, dismounted. I rode on in advance, and on reaching General Smith's learned that he had succeeded in repulsing the enemy and was not at that time in need of assistance. I immediately returned toward my former position, countermarching my command as I met it in the road, and hearing the sounds of heavy firing on my own picket-line directed them to return to their former position at the double-quick. I found that my pickets at a bridge over Chamberlain's Creek were attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy and driven back, and that the enemy had succeeded in crossing a large body of troops, consisting of nearly the whole of Pickett's division of infantry. My brigade coming up at once engaged the enemy, but after a severe struggle were driven back, having, however, saved their led horses, which at one time were almost within the enemy's grasp. I fell back to the road leading from Dinwiddie Court-House to Five Forks, where I reformed my line, connecting my right with the First Division, and endeavoring to open communication on my left with rest of Second Division. My men fought bravely, but the overwhelming superiority in numbers of the enemy enabled him to turn my left flank and cut me off entirely from our cavalry on that flank. I then fell back across the country to the Boydton plank road, skirmishing as we retired, followed for some distance by the infantry and subsequently by the cavalry. On reaching the Boydton plank road I found there one mounted regiment of the First Division (Sixth Michigan), the commanding officer of which made a vigorous demonstration and checked farther pursuit. On the plank road I reformed my brigade, and night coming on, and the road being securely picketed by the First Division Court-House, where my led horses had been sent when the engagement became heavy, and went into camp for the night near that point.
In this action I met with a severe loss in killed and wounded and lost a few prisoners. In view of the large force the enemy brought into the field I fully believe all that was practicable was done, and that my brigade accomplished all that could have been expected from it.
On the 1st and 2nd of April the brigade remained in camp near Dinwiddie Court-House, guarding the trains of the corps. On the night of the 2nd I moved from Dinwiddie Court-House, in rear of the train, to the point where the Claiborne road crosses Hatcher's Run, and there went into camp. On the 3rd of April the brigade moved, via Sutherland's Station, across Namozine Creek, to Wilson's plantation; here the