War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 1148 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 210. Report of Major Walter R. Robbins, First New Jersey Cavalry.


Bladensburg, Md., May 25, 1865.

GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the operations of this regiment form the 28th of March, to date:

On the morning of March 29 the regiment broke camp near Petersburg, and, in connection with the brigade, moved out on the Reams' Station and Dinwiddie Court-House road, crossing Rowanty Creek at Malone's Bridge. The cavalry arrived at and occupied Dinwiddie Court-House that night. Colonel Janeway was ordered to move out on the Flat Foot road and hold it for the night, which he did. On the 30th the brigade moved up on the Five Forks road to the support of General Merritt, but did not become engaged.

On the morning of the 31st Captain Craig, Company A, commanding first squadron, who was picketing on the mill road leading to Chamberlain's Creek, took a portion of his reserve and cleverly passed through the rebel cavalry vedette line, surprised and captured an infantry picket reserve of the enemy and brought them into our lines, without any loss to his command. For this bold and skillful act Captain Craig is deserving of great praise. From these prisoners it was learned that the divisions of the rebel Generals Pickett and Bushrod Johnson were in our front. After receiving this information Colonel Janeway directed Major Hart to strengthen and extend the picket-line. Colonel Janeway then ordered me to move out with my battalion and make a reconnaissance on the left and ascertain if the enemy was moving around in that direction. In doing this I found the old Scott road, leading across Chamberlain's Creek, to be entirely open, thus giving the enemy a splendid opportunity to move his troops between the brigades of Generals Davies and Smith. Feeling the importance of this road, I left Captain Hick with Companies K, L. and M to cover it, while I Pushed farther to the left with Company H, Lieutenant Killey commanding, communicated with General Smith, and ascertained from him that the enemy were quiet in his front. I then returned to the old Scott road and moved by battalion down to the ford on Chamberlain's Creek, dismounted, sent my horses to the rear, caused a breast-work of rails to be made, and communicated the importance of the road and what I was doing to Colonel Janeway. The colonel came down and approved of the course I had taken, and ordered me to remain and hold the ford. About this time the enemy made a spirited attack on the lines of Generals Gregg and Smith, and vainly endeavored to drive them from their position. Meanwhile they pushed two brigades of infantry down to the ford and engaged my command, which was holding it. The firing soon became sharp and vigorous. We had great advantage in position, being behind works and on much lower ground than the enemy fell before our withering fire; among the number was General Ransom. Seeing that we were not to be forced from our position in this manner, they passed one brigade to our right (which met Major Hart's battalion) and one to our left, enveloped our flanks, and charged the Third Brigade in our front. The battalion, I am proud to say, remained at their post in our front. The battalion, I am proud to say, remained at their post and kept up the firing until the enemy were within fifteen yards of them. Hopes of longer holding the ford could not be entertained. The order was then given to fall back, which was done, first in a broken and con-