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Union Orders, Reports and Letters -- Virginia

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 42, Part 1 (Richmond-Fort Fisher) Page 355 - 357

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, SECOND CORPS, Near Petersburg, Va., December 16, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Division of the Second Corps in the late movement on and destruction of a portion of the Weldon railroad: ------------

Friday, the 9th, the division marched at daylight to the railroad, past Jarratt's Station. The buildings were nearly all burned, during a cavalry raid, from Suffolk, in May last. ---------------

----Headquarters were established at the house of Reverend Mr. Bailey, a Baptist minister. Some thirty bales of his cotton had been burned, with the building in which it was stored. He estimated his losses, from our brief visit, at $75,000 or $100,000, rebel currency. -------

Sunday, the 11th, the division started from camp soon after daylight, and, passing Sussex Court-House, reached the ground on which we camped the first night of the expedition about 2 p. m. Here the command halted, made coffee, and waited for General Crawford's division, which had marched in the rear, to pass. A number more of our murdered and wounded men were found along the way of march. Until these outrages were discovered but little destruction of private property had occurred, but now the burning of buildings commenced, in retaliation, and nearly every building, including the Sussex court-house, for miles, was given to the flames.

-------. When the adventures of "this cruel war" shall be talked over, after peace shall have again blessed our land, the great raid on the Weldon railroad in the frost and snow of winter and in the very face of the most powerful army of the rebellion will very justly receive a prominent place in the narration. ---- (no place in this report is it mentioned they came up against the Confederate Army!!!)

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Chaplain Second U. S. Sharpshooters.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 1 (Appomattox Campaign) N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII. 496 - 499

Numbers 6. Report of Colonel Charles L. Fitzhugh, Sixth New York Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade.

The brigade left Winchester with the cavalry of the Valley, February 27, 1865, and marched without incident of importance by the Valley pike to Staunton, arriving there March 2, having seen no enemy by the

White House, Va., March 19, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of the Second Brigade, First Cavalry division, during the late cavalry expedition: -------

The expedition was highly successful, destroying a large amount of valuable quartermaster's and commissary stores, viz, the depot and four barns in the vicinity, containing the following amount of stores: 3,000 pairs of boots, a like number of shirts, drawers, pants, jackets, and blankets; 50,000 pounds of ham and bacon, and a small quantity of ordnance stores, consisting of small-arms and ammunition. At Staunton the Fourth New York (120 strong) and 257 men with unserviceable horses, under Lieutenant-Colonel Nichols, of the Ninth New York, were sent to the rear, as part of the escort to prisoners and guns captured by Third Division at Waynesborough. The Sixth New York, Major White commanding, were left at Staunton for the destruction of rebel property there, and reported to me at night, having destroyed 17 stage coaches, 60 wagons, 1 tannery, containing a large quantity of leather, and 1 Government blacksmith shop.

------Leaving Staunton March 3, the brigade marched with the division through Waynesborough and Roskfish Gap, burning a large tannery by the way, and camped seven miles west of Charlottesville; distance made, twenty-nine miles. Arrived at Charlottesville on the 4th of March, and on the 5th the Sixth New York, Ninth New York, and Seventeenth Pennsylvania were detached and sent to assist in the destruction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad south of Charlottesville. This work was done most effectually, the regiments named demolishing the road for a distance of two miles, burning the ties and heating and bending every rail, and burning two bridges, each fifty feet in length. A rebel caisson, concealed near camp, was also destroyed here. At Charlottesville also was destroyed 2,000 pounds of tobacco, 15 wagons loaded with corn, wheat, tobacco, and flour; also a tannery containing 1,000 hides.

-------The detachment on Richmond road, fifteen men and one officer, proceeded to Cartersville, eleven miles down the river, to the site of the old bridge, and returned at night without seeing the enemy, after destroying a canal boat and a large amount of commissary stores. The information obtained by this detachment, as well as that sent to Palmyra, was all to the effect that Fitzhugh Lee's division of cavalry was south of the James River, marching toward Columbia in anticipation of our crossing there. According to orders received from General Merritt there was no destruction of property at Columbia, with the exception of breaching the canal. The brigade remained at Columbia until the arrival of the rest of the cavalry on the 10th of March, and then destroyed two naval camps int he vicinity, containing the following property: 1 valuable steam-engine, a great number of workmen's tools, and a large amount of dressed timber.

-------A strong scouting party sent out on the river road advanced to within eighteen miles of Richmond, without meeting any opposition. The brigade destroyed all the canal locks between Columbia and Goochland, 10 in number; also 15 canal boats, most of them loaded with grain and commissary stores; 2,000 pounds of tobacco, 4 hogsheads of tobacco, 1 large warehouse, 1 dredge, 1 grist-mill, and 1 saw-mill. The jail at Goochland, in which Until soldiers had been imprisoned, was also burned.

-------Report of property destroyed by the Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division, during the late cavalry expedition: 6 1/4 miles railroad, 18 canal locks, 6 flat-boats (loaded with tobacco and flour), 12 canal boats, 5 canal-boat loads of tobacco, flour, and hospital supplies; 2 large buildings containing 300 hogsheads tobacco, 1 jail at Goochland Court-House, 500 cords railroad wood, 1 depot, 4 barns, 3,000 pairs boots, 2,000 pairs pants, jackets, blankets, and drawers; 50,000 pounds meat, a small quantity of ordnance (small-arms and ammunition), 4,000 pounds of tobacco, 15 wagons containing corn, wheat, flour, and tobacco; 1 tannery with 1,000 hides, 2 naval camps with workmen's implements, 1 steam-engine, and a quantity of dressed timber, 4 hogsheads leaf tobacco, quantity of blacksmith's tools, 1 boat-load corn, the machinery of a saw-mill, 1 large warehouse, 1 mill, 3 wagons loaded with quartermaster's and commissary and subsistence stores, 4 bales cotton, 8 boxes tobacco, 42 hogsheads tobacco, 12 barrels potash, 8 bales hay, 1 dredge, 1,000 grain sacks, 1,000 shelter-tents, and 336 sacks of salt.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Brigade

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 1 (Appomattox Campaign) Chapter LVIII. EXPEDITION TO PETERSBURG, VA. Page 499 - 501

Numbers 7. Report of Brigadier General Alfred Gibbs, U. S. Army, commanding Reserve Brigade.

Camp near White House, Va., March 21, 1865.

MAJOR: In compliance with instructions from headquarters First Cavalry Division of this date, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this brigade since leaving Winchester, Va., on the 27th ultimo:

The brigade, consisting of the Sixth U. S. Cavalry, Lieutenant McLellan commanding; Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Major Morrow commanding; First Rhode Island Cavalry, Captain Capron commanding; Second Massachusetts Cavalry, Colonel Crowninshield commanding, left camp at Winchester on the morning of the 27th of February last ---------

Marched on the Waynesborough road eleven miles, and camped on Christian's Creek on the 2nd of March. On march 3 marched to Waynesborough; destroyed iron railroad bridge over North Fork South River; destroyed 1 light steel 3-inch ordnance limber and caisson; also 100 wagons, forgers, battery, and ammunition wagons; threw ammunition into river; also a large quantity of muskets, small ammunition, and other ordnance stores, previously captured same day by the Third Cavalry Division under Brevet Major-General Custer. Moved through Rockfish Gap and camped two miles beyond Brooksville, fifteen miles; weather cold and rainy; roads execrable. On the 4th marched eighth miles, and camped at Ivy Depot, on the Virginia Central Railroad; burned the depot, water-tank, and warehouse containing Confederate tobacco and commissary stores; roads and weather worse. march 5, marched seven miles; camped near University of Virginia, at Charlottesville. Joined the command, drew rations, burned the tents, and lightened the loads. On the 6th marched without transportation to Scottsville, twenty-one miles; worked till midnight destroying James River Canal, locks, boats with subsistence stores, and bridges. 7th, burned woolen factory with a large quantity of cloth, candle factory with a large amount of candles, lard-oil, & c.; large five-story flouring mill, with flour, corn, and wheat; a large manufactory, machine-shops, and tobacco warehouses.

I regret that a few private dwellings, close to the mill, were more or less charred by the intense heat. No accident or loss of life, however, occurred. Same day marched towpath to New Market, thirty-two miles, destroying canal locks, bridges, stables, store-houses, tobacco, & c. Halted and burned large mill at Warren. Stopped at Howardsville; destroyed large wagon and plow factory, wagon shop, forge; also railroad bridge, and tobacco and subsistence warehouses. -----------also that the brigade destroyed the aqueduct at Howardsville and the bridge across the Tye at New Market.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding Cavalry Reserve Brigade

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 3 (Gettysburg Campaign) Page 120 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX. Page 120

June 15, 1863-4. 30 p. m.

Brigadier General R. INGALLS,

Chief Quartermaster, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac:

Not less than 126 railroad cars were in use on the Aquia Creek and Falmouth Railroad. These cannot be all removed by to-night, unless they are taken across the river and dumped in shallow water. I hope the depot can be held by a guard and gunboats until the whole of this material is brought away, and that no burning such as last year's will occur. Should it be impossible to hold the place, the shells of the gunboats can do all necessary burning after the land force embarks. It would be better to dump the cars in shallow water, where they can be recovered, than either to burn them or leave them to the rebels. As the troops and the quartermasters at Aquia are under General Hooker's orders, the instructions which it may be proper to give should come from his headquarters. Last year I endeavored to prevent the burning of property in evacuation of Aquia, but though I understood that orders would be given to prevent it, there was much destruction, which the railroad men and the officers of the gunboats assured me afterward was unnecessary.


OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 36, Part 2 (Wilderness-Cold Harbor) OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII. Page 180

Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 26, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the doings of the First District of Columbia Cavalry while on the last raid of General Kautz's Cavalry Division in Southern Virginia: --------------

At Coalfield Station, which was reached about 11 o'clock in the evening, the telegraph was cut, railroad torn up, depot building, water-tanks, wood-sheds, and also a tannery were burned. Six cars standing upon the track at this station were also burned. Major Baker, by order of General Kautz, remained with the regiment at this station to see that the orders in relation to the destruction of rebel property were executed, and upon the march to fall in the rear of the column. Upon the next day (13th of May), being in the rear, nothing of importance was done by the regiment. On the morning of the next day the regiment was again placed upon the advance, Company C being the advance guard. During the afternoon Wellville Station was reached, where the railroad and telegraph were cut, and a large quantity of grain and bacon and other stores were taken. The advance guard reached Blacks and Whites Station about 8 o'clock on the evening of the same day, where large quantities of grain, bacon, and other stores were taken and destroyed, depot, store-houses, water-tanks, woodshed, and thirteen cars, mostly loaded with forage, were burned. Major Baker, by order of General Kautz, remained with his regiment at the station to see that the orders in relation to the destruction of property were carried out, and upon the march the column to take the rear.


All of which is very respectfully submitted.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major, Commanding Regiment

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign) Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO SOUTH ANNA BRIDGE, VA., ETC. Page 795 - 797

Numbers 2. Report of Colonel Samuel P. Spear, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry;, commanding expedition.

WHITE HOUSE, VA., June 28, 1863.

SIR: In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 1, headquarters Department of Virginia, Seventh Army ; Corps, June 23, 1863, I have the honor to render the following report of a reconnaissance, &c., made under my command -------------

With the above force, I proceeded direct from the White House to Tunstall's Station, where I found a picked of 12 men (cavalry), captured 1, cut the telegraph wires, burned the sutler's store and other Confederate buildings; continued on south side of the Pamunkey to Hanover Court-House, at which point I found a large quartermaster's depot; captured a train of 35 wagons, 6 mules to each captured about 100 good mules belonging to the Confederate States. I burned about 35 wagons, 300 sets of harness, complete; stables, blacksmith's and wheelwright's shops, office, books, and papers, and everything pertaining to the depot at this point. I used every means to open a large (Confederate States) safe, but failed (too strong). This done, I proceeded to the South Anna crossing of the Central Railroad, where I found a force of 125 men, under command of Lieutenant Colonel T. L. Hargrove, of the Forty-fourth North Carolina Infantry. I at once commenced the attack. He held the bridge manfully for over an hour, when, by stratagem, he found me in his rear, and his entire force captured. Nine were killed, and many so badly wounded I paroled them on the spot, by advice of my surgeon. I completely destroyed the bridge, and burned it till it fell into the river ---------


Colonel Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, Commanding