Through a Private’s Eye A Detailed Account and 1864 Diary entries* of Mich. 7th Volunteer Calvary, Company D Union Civil War Veteran
Adelbert Kent Special Thanks to the Slaybaugh Family For keeping such a precious memory! Transcribed by Mark William Kent in 2016 Earl Otto Slaybaugh (1884-1970), Lyle Slaybaugh (1904-1973), Henry “Hank” Brockman and Loreen “Lou” Slaybaugh Brockman (1930-2012), Janette Brockman Armstrong, Kathleen Brockman Fraizer, Nancy Brockman Watson, Sally Brockman Swarthout
* Italicized text was added in transcription
February 3, 1864 (Wednesday) Worked on sidewalk. Weather was some cold. Bought some oysters & had some good supper. Sons come over & made a visit. Sent a letter to Mother. (Myra Allen Kent) (Myra Allen Kent 1797-1891)
Hillside Cemetery - Kalamo, Mich. February 4, 1864 (Thursday) In Camp. Nothing going on worth of note. Got my horse shod. (Shoed his horse) The weather is cool & dry. Freezes pretty hard nights. Head aches some tonight & now I am going to bed. February 5, 1864 (Friday) Went on picket. (Picket is a soldier, or small unit of soldiers, placed on a line forward of a position to warn against an enemy advance.) Weather warm & very pleasant. Nothing happened worth of note.
A “FORD” is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading, or on a horse getting its feet wet. A ford is mostly a natural phenomenon, in contrast to a low water crossing, which is an artificial bridge that allows crossing a river or stream when water is low.
Battle of Morton’s Ford The Battle of Morton's Ford was a battle of the American Civil War, fought February 6–7, 1864. To distract attention from a planned cavalry-infantry raid up the Virginia Peninsula on Richmond, the Union Army of the Potomac forced several crossings of the Rapidan River on February 6, 1864. Units of the II Corps crossed at Morton's Ford, the I Corps at Raccoon Ford, and Union cavalry at Robertson's Ford. Confederate Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia resisted the crossings, with sporadic fighting and the most severe fighting at Morton's Ford. By February 7, 1864, the attacks had stalled, and the Union army withdrew during the night, with the results of the battle inconclusive.
February 6, 1864 (Saturday) In the morning awoke after 8 hours sleep & was astonished in seeing a column of infantry marching by towards the pond which they crossed & had a shown fight capturing 28 prisoners. Our loss was between 100 & 200 in killed & wounded. February 7, 1864 (Sunday) The infantry recrossed & laid by the river (Rapidan) all day. No firing on either side. Did not learn the loss of the enemy but for sure it was as heavy or heavier than ours. The infantry at night went back to Camp.
Recorded causalities and losses for Union were 262 and 60 for the Confederacy. February 8, 1864 (Monday) Was relived from picket. Received a letter from Emma. Wrote one to Harriet (Harriet was his sister Harriet E. Kent Nelson 1834-1870). It is now bed time & I must retire for the boys are ripe & turning to go to bed. February 9, 1864 (Tuesday) In Camp. Was detailed for woods & carried poles for crossway. New stations. Weather is cold. The sun shines in the day time but very cold nights
February 10, 1864 (Wednesday) Drilled in the forenoon. (Forenoon is the early part of day ending with noon.) Sam & George (George A. Powers from Kalamo 24 yrs old; Samuel, Lafever from Kalamo 24 yrs old; all Company D) was here & took dinner. Was horse guard at night. Weather cool as a cucumber & at night a good fire is necessary to ones comfort. February 11, 1864 (Thursday) Stay in camp. Done nothing only write a little to Emma (wife – Emmert Parr Kent) & read a novel or two. Weather cool & another uncomfortable way from a fire. Had a good fire in our house. Emmert “Emma” Parr Kent (1841-1903)
February 12, 1864 (Friday) The company drilled. I went over & seen Sam & George Powers. Was detailed to the train. Sent a letter to Emma. The weather warm & pleasant. Pretty cool nights. February 13, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp, drew rations. Got a shoe set on my horse. Drilled in the forenoon. Am now stewing applesauce. Wrote a letter to mother. (Myra Allen Kent) Went to bed at 8 o’clock. Slept bully. February 14, 1864 (Sunday) Went on picket. Was on fifth relief. Weather was pleasant but somewhat cool. The Johnny’s (Johnny Reb – Confederate) got scored a shot. An alarm along the line stood two hours at day time & one at night. February 15, 1864 (Monday) On picket – The weather was cold & it snowed pretty smart in the afternoon & in the forefront of the night. Received a letter from Emma.
February 16, 1864 (Tuesday) On picket â€“ Weather cold. The wind blows very hard & cold. The night was the coldest night I have seen in Virginia. February 16, 1864 - Union cavalry brigadier general H. Judson Kilpatrick draws up plans for a raid on the Confederate capital at Richmond. His goal is to destroy Confederate infrastructure and free Union prisoners of war held at Belle Isle and in Libby Prisons in Richmond.. February 17, 1864 (Wednesday) Was relieved from picket & came into camp. The weather is spot cold with high winds. Did not do anything. Only started a letter to Emma. February 23, 1864 - Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren joins a planned raid on Richmond by H. Judson Kilpatrick. Dahlgren's death would precipitate one of the most controversial episodes of the war. February 28, 1864 (Sunday) We started on a raid. We started just at dark. Crossed the rapids about 10 oâ€™clock. Captured 15 prisoners. Marched all night. We mustered (assemble troops for inspection or in preparation for battle) for part the day. We left camp.
February 28, 1864, 6 p.m. - Union colonel Ulric Dahlgren, along with 460 cavalrymen, embarks on a raid against Richmond, splashing across Ely's Ford on the Rapidan River by 11 p.m. Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick leaves with his detachment of 3,500 men at 7 p.m. February 29, 1864 (Monday) Was on the march about sundown. We arrived at Beaver Dam Station which was burnt & the Rail road destroyed. Cut the telegraph. Passed through Spotsylvania Court house. Marched all night. February 29, 1864, 8 a.m. - Union brigadier general H. Judson Kilpatrick reaches Spotsylvania in his cavalry raid against Richmond. February 29, 1864, 5 p.m. - Union brigadier general H. Judson Kilpatrick and his men reach Beaver Dam Station, in Hanover County, on their way to Richmond. They burn the station but are spotted by Confederates, who raise the alarm in the capital. February 29, 1864, 10:30 p.m. - Confederate cavalry general Wade Hampton sets out in pursuit of Union cavalry raiders led by H. Judson Kilpatrick and Ulric Dahlgren.
Kilpatrick and his 3rd Division staff, March 1864
General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick Achieving the rank of brevet Major General. Known as “Kilcavalry” or “Kill-Cavalry” for using tactics in battle that were considered as a reckless disregard for lives of soldiers under his command. Despised by southerners whose homes and towns he devastated.
Map Adelbertâ€™s movements February through July 1864
4/18/1864 Brandy Station
Rapidan River 4/13 Mortonâ€™s Ford 2/6
Chancellorsville 5/5/1864 2/29/1864
Mouth of Potomac 3/12/1864
Beaver Dam 2/29/1864
6/6/1864 Old Church 3/1/1864 5 miles N. of
City Point 6/29/1864
3/2 Piping Tree Steamer USS Columbia
3/2 Pamunkey 3/3/1864
March 1, 1864 (Tuesday) On the march arrived before Richmond little before noon. Throwed a few shell at them. Camped 6 miles from the City. Was attacked in the night March 1, 1864 - Union colonel Ulric Dahlgren splits his cavalry detachment, sending a hundred men to destroy Confederate infrastructure, while Dahlgren proceeds with the remainder of the men toward Richmond.
Colonel Ulric Dahigren
March 1, 1864, 10 a.m. - Union cavalry general H. Judson Kilpatrick reaches the outer defenses of Richmond, and waits in vain for Ulric Dahlgren's men to enter the city. March 1, 1864, 1 p.m. - Union cavalry general H. Judson Kilpatrick's cavalry raiders advance as far as the inner line of Richmond's defenses within 5 miles of the city. March 1, 1864, 3 p.m. - After waiting in vain for the arrival of Union colonel Ulric Dahlgren's detachment of raiders, Union general H. Judson Kilpatrick decides to withdraw his cavalrymen from the outskirts of Richmond. Defenses around the city were too strong however and numerous squads of Confederate militia and cavalry nipped at their heels the whole way, including some of General Wade Hamptonâ€™s troopers dispatched from the Army of Northern Virginia. Unable to get at Richmond or return to the Army of the Potomac, Kilpatrick decided to bolt down the Virginia Peninsula where Ben Butlerâ€™s Army of the James was stationed. March 2, 1864 (Wednesday) On the march passed through Piping Tree (Town in Virginia, Northeast of Richmond). Went to the Pamunkey (River in Virginia named after Indian Tribe, Southeast of Piping Tree) but could not get across. Counter marched (march back along the same route) about 3 miles & camped. In the morning, the Rebs charged on our pickets. March 2, 1864, 4 p.m. - Confederate forces near the capital at Richmond close in on cavalry raiders commanded by Colonel Ulric Dahlgren.
March 2–3, 1864, 10 p.m.–1 a.m. - Union general H. Judson Kilpatrick retreats from the outskirts of Richmond after being surprised by Confederate cavalry commanded by Major General Wade Hampton. March 2, 1864, 11:30 p.m. - A band of cavalrymen and bushwhackers under command of Lieutenant James Pollard of the 9th Virginia Cavalry ambush Union colonel Ulric Dahlgren and kill him.
March 3, 1864 (Thursday) On the march. Passed through New Kent court house (Continuing southeast and almost directly east of Richmond). Came on to the negro troop Benjamin Franklin Butler sent out. Went into camp 12 miles from Williamsburg (a lot further southeast). March 3, 1864 - Union brigadier general H. Judson Kilpatrick sets out toward Union general Benjamin F. Butler's lines on the Peninsula following his failed raid on Richmond. Large numbers of slaves follow in the wake of the Union column.
Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler was also known as “Beast Butler” or “Spoons Butler” for confiscating 38 piece set of silverware as contraband in New Orleans. He was considered a “profiteer” of the war for selling his material and uniforms to the Union. He continues to be disliked and a controversial figure in New Orleans which he took command of after the Battle of New Orleans. He was commander of Fort Monroe, Virginia. He declined to return slaves to owners because were considered contraband of war. Used slaves as laborers for building fortifications and other military activities
March 3, 1864 - When inspecting the personal effects of killed Union colonel Ulric Dahlgren, William Littlepage, a thirteen-year-old member of Richmond’s Home Guard, discovers orders calling for the burning of Richmond and the assassination of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. He passes them on to his teacher, Edward W. Halbach.
March 4, 1864 (Friday) On the march passed through Williamsburg arrived at Yorktown (further southeast and on York Rriver). Went into Camp. Pitched tent.
March 4, 1864, 4 p.m. - Union general H. Judson Kilpatrick returns to Union lines, marking the end of his and Ulric Dahlgren's failed raid on Richmond. March 5, 1864 - Richmond newspapers run reports of the "Dahlgren Papers," found on the body of Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren after he was killed in a failed raid on the Confederate capital. After reaching Benjamin Butler's base at Fort Monroe. Kilpatrick's men took a steamship back to Washington. March 11, 1864 (Friday) Got aboard of the steamer Columbia & started for Alexandria. Sailed most all night. The 5th, 6th & 7th (Michigan) were aboard & part of the 17th Pennsylvania.
The USS Columbia was a steamer captured by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries. March 12, 1864 (Saturday) On board the steamer. Laid at anchor in the morning at the mouth of the Potomac. On the account of the fog arrived at Alexandria at 9 o’clock in the evening. Stayed on the boat all night. March 13, 1864 (Sunday) Landed in the morning at Alexandria. Went out west of the city & camped. The rest of the regiment came during the day & we all got together once more. Got our meals at the soldiers mess. Went on inspections. Sergeant Drinnet Stantis for home recruiting. The weather is pleasant & nice like May. Deserters came into camp. This morning had a good supper of beef stew in camp & we worked on the horses. They gotten pretty lazy & did not hurt myself at work. The weather worsen and sun shone bright. Mother’s mud underfoot. We were reviewed by General Killpatrick (note spelling; using “Kill”) in the forenoon & went on picket in the afternoon. Was on the second relief. First trial was at 6 o’clock in morning.
More trouble followed when they were granted a few days' rest in Alexandria, Virginia before rejoining the Army of the Potomac. The city was garrisoned with AfricanAmerican troops, and one stopped to inform a cavalryman that only persons on active duty were allowed to ride horses through the streets. This trooper found it insulting to take orders from a black man and promptly struck him down with his sword. Kilpatrick's division was punished by being forced to immediately embark for the Rapidan River without resting or drawing new uniforms.
March 25, 1864 (Friday) On picket. It rained in the afternoon & all night. A cold wind & rain from the north. On picket for days without being relieved. It has been the worst tour of picketing of the winter March 26, 1864 (Saturday) Was relieved from picket. Came in to camp. Drew rations had in sections??? Wrote a letter home to Emma. March 27, 1864 (Sunday) In Camp. Weather pleasant. Preaching by the Chaplain. Felt lazy laid abed most all day. March 28, 1864 (Monday) In Camp. Was on camp guard. The weather was warm pleasant but at night it got cold & clouded up. Bought a pair of suspenders of George Ferris 75 cents. (George Ferris; from Eaton Rapids; Co. D.; enlisted at 22 years old) March 29, 1864 (Tuesday) In Camp. Got ready for grand review but it rained so that we were dismissed after drilling an hour. It rained hard all afternoon & night. March 30, 1864 (Wednesday) In Camp. Signed the pay roll. The pay master arrived. March 31, 1864 (Thursday) In Camp. Was paid off. The weather was cloudy & unpleasant. April 1, 1864 (Friday) Went on picket. It rained all day & most all night. Darned tough weather to be out in night & day. April 2, 1864 (Saturday) On picket. It snowed in the morning for on 5 hours like the devil & wound up with rain & it rained till night. April 3, 1864 (Sunday) On picket. The storm has abated it’s fury. The Rapidan is up full banks. (The Rapidan River is south of the Potomac) April 4, 1864 (Monday) Was relieved from picket. Came into camp. Found two letters for me from home. Found Hodges (Russell Hodges; Walker MI, Enlisted at 18 years of age, latter became deserter) walking a beat with a placard on his breast with “THIEF” in big letters.
April 4, 1864 - In light of the fiasco that was the Kilpatrickâ€“Dahlgren Raid, Union generalin-chief Ulysses S. Grant relieves Army of the Potomac cavalry commander Alfred Pleasonton from duty and replaces him with Philip H. Sheridan. Judson Kilpatrick loses his division and takes command of a brigade. April 5, 1864 (Tuesday) In Camp. Laid a bed ole day. Received a letter from home. The weather was rainy & cold. April 6, 1864 (Wednesday) In Camp. Was detailed for Camp guard. Was in first relief. Wrote a letter to Harriet (his sister Harriet Kent Nelson 1834-1870) April 7, 1864 (Thursday) In camp. Had a brigade drill. The weather pleasant. Colonel Prescott in command of the brigade. April 8, 1864 (Friday) Went over where Sam & George. (George A. Powers from Kalamo; enlisted 24 years old; Co. D) was & stayed all day. The Brigade was reviewed by General Killpatrick. The weather pleasant. April 9, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp. It rained all day like the devil. Mud ass deep all over.
Wind blows hard.
April 10, 1864 (Sunday) On camp guard. The weather looked like rain. It did rain in the afternoon. April 11, 1864 (Monday) Brigade inspection & drill. Pleasant & warm. April 12, 1864 (Tuesday) On camp guard. Cool & cloudy. Wrote a letter to Emma. Got pinned for not being out at roll call & had to go on guard. April 13, 1864 (Wednesday) In Camp. Turned over old horses. Went on drill in the afternoon. Wrote a letter to mother April 14, 1864 (Thursday) In Camp. Drilled in the afternoon. Weather pleasant. April 15, 1864 (Friday) In Camp. Sick laid abed most all day. Went to sick call in the morning.
April 16, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp. Sick. Took medicine. Received a letter from Emma. It rained all day & most all night. Killpatrick bid his good bye. (note Adelbert’s spelling; using “Kill” not “Kil”)
April 16, 1864 - In response to a query from Confederate general Robert E. Lee, Union general George G. Meade questions Union general H. Judson Kilpatrick as to the authenticity of the so-called Dahlgren Papers. Kilpatrick tells Meade that he had no knowledge of the incendiary orders. The "Kilpatrick" expedition was such a fiasco that Kilpatrick found he was no longer welcome in the Eastern Theater. He transferred west to command the 3rd Division of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. April 17, 1864 (Sunday) In Camp. Inspection. Lieut. Caraes took command of the Company. Weather pleasant & warm. April 18, 1864 (Monday) Went to Brandy Station with old horses. Got back about sun down. Weather warm & pleasant
Brandy Station, VA. was the site of the 1863 Battle of Brandy Station, the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the American Civil War.
General Rufus Inqalls and other officers in Brandy Station, Virginia, April 1864.
April 19, 1864 (Tuesday) Moved over to the First Division. Went into camp about 8 miles from our old quarters. Moved from Cavalry Corps (Alfred Pleasonton) Third Division (Judson Kilpatrick) to Cavalry Corps st 1 Division (formerly John Budford’s Division)
April 20, 1864 (Wednesday) Was busy building tent. Was on camp guard. Weather cool n cloudy.
April 21, 1864 (Thursday) Our division was reviewed by the Corps Commander (26,000 soldiers) Gen Sheridan & Division General (8,000+ soliders) Torbert (Brigadere General Alfred. T. A. Torbert)
Major General Phillip H Sheridan General Alfred Thomas Torbert (Cavalry Corps) during the 1860s First Division
April 22, 1864 (Friday) In Camp. Mont Canches came back to the company. Weather was in & pleasant The following is from â€œAn Historical Sketch of the Seventh regiment Michigan volunteer cavalry from its organization, in 1862 to its muster out, in 1865â€? by Asa Isham. Toward the latter part of April, a spark of discord was kindled by the action of the Brigade Provost-Marshal Lieutenant Bayliss. One Sunday, by order from brigade headquarters, the regiment was assembled, dismounted, upon the parade ground, a little distance from camp, for dress parade and inspection. While this was in progress, the provost-guard stole into camp, overawed the camp guard, and seized and made away with a number of horses from each company. Upon their return the men were justly exasperated at this high-handed proceeding, and loaded their carbines with the intent of moving at once upon brigade headquarter to rescue their horses, even if they had to lay out the provost-guard to do it. After much persuasion on the part of the officers, the men were induced to permit the commanding officer and adjutant to go as envoys in their stead, who succeeded in effecting a prompt return of the horses and thereby was averted a movement that, from the spirit manifested, might have had a serious ending.
April 23, 1864 (Saturday) On Camp guard. Had dress parade. Dismounted horse. Had orders to turn over their horse equipment. Got a letter from Emma. April 24, 1864 (Sunday) Went out on inspections. The Brigade was all out turned over horse equipment. April 25, 1864 (Monday) In Camp. Drilled in the forenoon. Weather pleasant. Read a letter from Emma. April 26, 1864 (Tuesday) On Camp guard. The Regt. was inspected by Major Drew Murphy. Was tied up with & saber in his mouth.
May 3, 1864 (Tuesday) In Diam â€Ś camp . . . stewed applesauce Wrote a letter home to Emma.
Battle of the Wilderness Grant attempted to move quickly through the dense underbrush of the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, but Lee launched two of his corps on parallel roads to intercept him. May 4, 1864 (Wednesday) Broke Camp. Marched about 20 miles camped in woods. Were walking hand to . . . feet . . . hardly walk. (They camped at Stony Mountain and turned in Burnside carbines and received Spencer repeating carbines.) May 5, 1864 (Thursday) On the march. Crossed the Rapidan at Elyâ€™s Ford. (The Rapidan River is south of the Potomac) Marched to Chancellorsville & camped. Drew rations. At night battle commenced.
May 6, 1864 (Friday) Lay at Chancellorsville till 4 o’clock & then fell back to the Ely’s Ford. Heavy battle at Mine Run. (Mine Run 10 miles west Chancellorsville) Our brigade was charged on by the Rebels. At dawn on May 6, Hancock attacked along the Plank Road, driving Hill's Corps back in confusion, but the First Corps arrived in time to prevent the collapse of the Confederate right flank.
May 7, 1864 (Saturday) Went back to Chancellorsville. Went from there on the Fredericksburg road about 4 miles & camped. Heavy fighting all day. On May 7, Grant disengaged and moved to the southeast, intending to leave the Wilderness to interpose his army between Lee and Richmond, leading to the bloody Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.
May 8, 1864 (Sunday) The train moved. Moved out 1 or 2 miles & had to turn & go back. Fighting still going on field. Commencing all day. th
On May 8 George Armstrong Custer was promoted to Captain On May 8th, as the battle between Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee raged at Spotsylvania Court House, Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan went over Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's head and told Grant that if his Cavalry Corps were let loose to operate as an independent unit, he could defeat Stuart, long a nemesis to the Union army. Grant was intrigued and convinced Meade of the value of Sheridan's request. Grant, appreciating Sheridan's bravery and fighting spirit, said "Let him start right out and do it”
Major General Sedgwick killed May 9, 1864.
Major General John Sedgwick VI Corps
Major General Sedgwick fell (pictured on previous page) at the beginning of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House on May 9, 1864. His corps was probing skirmish lines ahead of the left flank of Confederate defenses and he was directing artillery placements. Confederate sharpshooters were about 1,000 yards away and their shots caused members of his staff and artillerymen to duck for cover. Sedgwick strode around in the open and was quoted as saying, "What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line?" Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he said, "Why are you dodging like this? They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance. Reports that he never finished the sentence are apocryphal, although the line was among his last words. He was shot moments later under the left eye and fell down dead. Sedgwick was the highest ranking Union death in the Civil War.
May 9, 1864 (Monday) With the train. Lay between Chancellorsville & Fredericksburg on the flank road. General Sedgwick was killed. Weather hot, dry & dusty.
On May 9 , Sheridan set out with the most powerful cavalry force the Army of the Potomac had ever mounted in the Eastern Theater -- more than 10,000 troopers with 32 guns. They rode to the southeast to move behind Lee's army. They moved at a walk, 4 abreast in a column that stretched for 13 miles. Sheridan was so confident of success that he made no effort to hid his movements. The column reached Lee's forward supply base at Beaver Dam Station by nightfall. The Confederate depot guards had set fire to their supplies before the Union troops arrived, but the Union force found other material to destroy: 100 railroad cars and 6 locomotives -- 1/4 of Virginia Central Railroad's rolling stock. The Union cavalry column reached the Confederate forward supply base at Beaver Dam Station that evening. Sheridan's men destroyed numerous railroad cars and 6 locomotives of the Virginia Central Railroad, ripped up 10 miles of track, pulled down telegraph wires, and freed 378 of their men who had been taken prisoner during the Battle of the Wilderness.
May 10, 1864 (Tuesday) With the train. Lay where we did yesterday. Heavy fighting all day. Have not heard the results. May 11, 1864 (Wednesday) With the train. Same as yesterday. It rained. May 11, 1864 George Armstrong brevetted Lieutenant Colonel for gallant and meritorious service at Yellow Tavern
On May 11, Stuart, told of Sheridan's force and direction, moved with 4,500 troopers to get between the Union column and Richmond. After disrupting Lee's road and rail communications, Sheridan's cavalry expedition climaxed with the battle of Yellow Tavern, an abandoned inn 6 miles north of Richmond. BATTLE OF YELLOW TAVERN
For 3 hours, the opposing cavalry forces fought, with the outnumbered Confederate troops stubbornly defending their position. Not only did the Union outnumber the Confederates by 3 divisions to 2 brigades, it had superior firepower, being armed with rapid-firing Spencer carbines. Sheridan had hurled his well rested cavalrymen against Stuart's tired men, who held defensive positions along ridges bordering the road to Richmond. The outnumbered Confederate cavalry was defeated. An unhorsed Union private fired a single shot at a large, red-bearded Confederate officer on a horse 30 feet away. Stuart was mortally wounded and would die the next day. Lee had lost his greatest cavalry officer. The fighting kept up for an hour after Stuart was wounded, with Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee taking temporary command. Sheridan continued his attacks on the Confederate position for an hour. The Confederates were slowly forced to give way. Then Sheridan called his men back from "this obstinate contest " and headed south toward Richmond, only 6 miles away. Sheridan continued south to threaten the Richmond defenses before joining Butler's command at Bermuda Hundred. They reached the outer defenses of the South's capital before night, and Sheridan was tempted to bust right through. After refitting, Sheridan rejoined the Army of the Potomac on May 25 for the march to the southeast and the crossing of the Pamunkey. Besides, Sheridan's real goal had been Stuart all along, not Richmond. Fitzhugh Lee's troopers, bolstered by infantry from Richmond, slashed at the Union cavalry rear and flanks as they retreated east and then south across the Chickahominy River to Gen. Benjamin Butler's Union force on the James River. Sheridan's raid had been an unqualified success. Their most significant victory, however, was killing Stuart. This deprived Lee of his most experienced cavalry commander.
Battle of Old Church The Battle of Old Church was fought on May 30, 1864, as part of Ulysses S Grantâ€™s Overland Campaign against Robert E. Lee. As the opposing armies faced each other across Totopotomoy Creek, a Union Cavalry division under Brig. General ALFRED T. A. TORBERT (Adelbert Division) collided with a confederate cavalry at Matadequin Creek near the Old Church crossroads. After sharp dismounted fighting, the outnumbered Confederates were driven back to Old Cold Harbor, which preceded the Union capture of that important crossroads the following day.
The Battle was decided by the arrival of the Union brigade under Brig. Gen.George A. Custer. He deployed his 5th Michigan on the right of Bottoms Bridge Road, the 1st and 7th Michigan on the left, and the 6th Michigan in reserve. Their attack flanked the Confederates on both ends of the line. As Butler's men fled to the rear, his reserve regiment, the 7th South Carolina, counterattacked in an attempt to maintain the line. The superior Union numbers and firepowerâ€”the Michiganders were armed with Spencer repeating rifles Tolbert had deployed horse artillery (small cannons pulled by team of horses), a weapon that Butler did not have availableâ€”carried the day. Although almost all the fighting in the battle was dismounted, Col. Frank A. Haskell and Maj. Edward M. Boykin led the 7th on horseback, and both were severely wounded during the charge. The 20th Georgia Battalion arrived at the end of the battle and was almost swamped by their colleagues racing away on horseback. The Union troopers pursued the retreating Confederates with enthusiasm. Butler eventually rallied his men at Old Cold Harbor and Torbert's men bivouacked about 1.5 miles northeast of the intersection.
Spencer Repeating Rifle
Pictured above is Union cavalry horses photographed outside the Old Church Hotel on June 4, 1864.
June 5, 1864 (Sunday) In Camp. Went walking & got some beef. Received two letters from Emma & wrote one home. Hearing at the front, muskets to artillery June 6, 1864 (Monday) Left camp and marched to Old Church. The weather very warm. Same surrounding. Drew fire from the Rebs another came by to stay. June 7, 1864 (Tuesday) Wrote a letter to Emma. On guard over a prisoner. Weather very warm. Men detailed & went off. June 8, 1864 (Wednesday) In Camp at Old Church. Was guard over prisoners. Bought ????? â€Ś.was â€Ś.many guard at ????? June 9, 1864 (Thursday) Marched to white house ground. ??? Arrived after dark. Laid in the grass.
The White House plantation was an 18th-century plantation on the Pamunkey River near White House in New Kent County, Virginia. Troops of the Army of the Potomac under the command of George B. McClellan burned the house to the ground on June 28, 1862, as they retreated during the Seven Days Battles. Following the war, General "Rooney" Lee rebuilt the house, but it burned to the ground in 1875 and was not rebuilt.
June 10, 1864 (Friday) Read a letter from home & sent one. Went in camp & wrote Emma letter home. Went down to the wharf. June 11, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp at White House. Went down to the landing. Weather warm. It rained some. June 12, 1864 (Sunday) In camp yet at White House. Expected to get horses but none came. Seen Clias Ogden.
June 13, 1864 (Monday) In camp yet. Was down to the wharf most all day. Seen Ogden. The weather is pretty cool for this time of year. June 14, 1864 (Tuesday) Moved Camp about a mile down to the river by the Cavalry Corps hospital. Struck tents cleaned up the ground. June 15, 1864 (Wednesday) In Camp doing nothing. Only sleep & eat. Weather hot in the daytime & cool nights. June 16, 1864 (Thursday) In Camp at the same place & doing the same kind of guard. Rebs was tired today. Man drowned in the river. June 17, 1864 (Friday) In Camp. Wrote letter to Emma. Weather very warm. Drew rations of beef, beans coffee, sugar. June 18, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp. Heavy cannons a firing in the forenoon. Weather very warm. Took a old ??? out of the river. June 19, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp. Part of the Brigade was detailed to go & guard the train though to where the cavalry was. June 26, 1864 (Sunday) In Camp. . . . point …. mounting ….hat …. The weather …. dismounted …. Came in June 27, 1864 (Monday) Moved over with the ???
Then drew horse equipment. Went out on picket
June 28, 1864 (Tuesday) Went out on a reconnaissance. Some 7 or 8 miles & came back to camp & staid all night.
June 29, 1864 (Wednesday) Came back to our old camp at City Point. Struck tent. City Point, located in central Virginia at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers, was the site of Union Ulyssis S. Grantâ€™s field headquarters during the of the Civil War. The Union Army fought its way south to Petersburg late in the spring of 1864. City Point became a crucial Union port and supply hub. At least 100,000 Union troops and 65,00 animals were supplied out of the town.
City Point, Wharves, Virginia, 1864
June 29, 1864 (Thursday) Started for the regiment. Marched all day. Came up to the regiment at night July 1, 1864 (Friday) Joined the regiment. Marched 5 or 6 miles & went on picket. Mustered for day.
Map of Adelbertâ€™s movements August through September 1864
Battle of Shepherdstown Forced Rebels back to Winchester 9/18/1864
9/20 Front Royal 9/21&23
9/25 McGaheysville 9/27/1864
9/26 Port Republic
August 19, 1864 (Friday) Marched to Berryville passed through Charles Town ???? arrived Berryville . . . it rain . . August 20, 1864 (Saturday) On picket at Berryville. Reading letter from Emma. Weather light mist. August 21, 1864 (Sunday) Marched back to Charlestown. The Rebs attacked. We retreated to Charlestown. Camped for the night. August 22, 1864 (Monday) Marched to Shepherdstown. The Rebs charged our rear at Charlestown. It rained. Same in the afternoon. August 23, 1864 (Tuesday) Went out on the Winchester. Hike from Shepherdstown & down in the Rebel pickets. Had a little skirmish & came back & went into camp. August 24, 1864 (Wednesday) In camp at Shepherdstown. Went down to the Potomac. Received a letter from Emma. Wrote a letter home to Emma. August 25, 1864 (Thursday) Went out for the Winchester . . . had a heavy skirmish with the Rebels. Came back to . . . & had a . . . went . . .staiber. August 26, 1864 (Friday) Marched to Sharpsburg Formed at . . . rough & . . . went in camp near Shepherdstown August 27, 1864 (Saturday) The regiment went in picket . . . at the ford & ferry at Shepherdstown. Read a letter from Emma.
Botelerâ€™s Ford was a mile and half downstream from Shepherdstown and was a point of battles and of crossing the Potomac River by ferry.
August 28, 1864 (Sunday) Marched from opposite Shepherdstown at 12 oâ€™clock at night & went to Harpers Ferry. Stayed there & got breakfast & started out after the Johnny came up to Shepherdstown. Had a skirmish with them.
August 29, 1864 (Monday) Had a heavy fight at Smithfield. Henry Thompson (Co D. from Eaton; enlisted at 20 years old) was killed. The Regiment lost 15 in killed and wounded. August 30, 1864 (Tuesday) Lay in Camp until 2 oâ€™clock p.m. When the brigade marched up the valley 10 or 12 miles & camped for the night. Read a letter from Sophrania . (Sister is Sophrania Augusta Kent Lee 1832-1874)
Gilliam Cemetery, Graton, Sonoma, California
September 12, 1864 (Monday) Lay in camp. Wrote two letters. Weather rained some during the day. September 13, 1864 (Tuesday) The regiment went out on a reconnaissance 8 am all day. Found the Johnnies pretty thick. Had a skirmish with them. Made it back to camp at sundown. September 14, 1864 (Wednesday) In camp. It rained most all day. The train come in with rations. Read 2 letters from Emma. Wrote one to her. September 15, 1864 (Thursday) In camp until noon when we moved camp & the regiment went on picket & did not go out. September 16, 1864 (Friday) Went out to where the regiment was on picket. Our squadron was on the first relief. Was very relieved as I came in. September 17, 1864 (Saturday) On Picket until noon when the 25th New York relieved us & we went in to Camp
Third Battle of Winchester
The Third Battle of Winchester (or Battle of Opequon), was fought in Winchester, Virginia, on September 19, 1864, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War. As Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early raided the B&O Railroad at Martinsburg, WV, Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan advanced toward Winchester along the Berryville Pike with the VI Corps and XIX Corps, crossing Opequon Creek. The Union advance was delayed long enough for Early to concentrate his forces to meet the main assault, which continued for several hours. Casualties were very heavy. The Confederate line was gradually driven back toward the town. Mid-afternoon, the VIII Corps and the cavalry turned the Confederate left flank. Early ordered a general retreat. Because of its size, intensity, serious casualties among the general officers on both sides, and its result, many historians consider this the most important conflict of the Shenandoah Valley.
Sept 19, 1864 George Armstrong brevetted Colonel for gallant and meritorious service at Winchestor
The following are comments are from Albert Shotwell a Seargant in Adelbert’s Company D of the 7th Regiment during the Battle of Winchester
Albert Shotwell Q.M. Sergeant Co. “D”
One day's experience during my army life which impressed me more than any other was the 19th day of September, 1864, known as the Battle of Opequon Creek or Winchester. We broke camp about 2:30 o'clock that morning and started to cross the creek. Our Regiment was to support the 25th New York Cavalry, which we did in fine style, the 25th going down to the Ford and taking a road to the right, the 7th following, which brought us back to nearly where we started from; the two Regiments making a grand appearance. Afterward the 7th took the lead and crossed the Ford, where we found the Johnnies in full force. Shortly after we made a charge on their earthworks and met with a warm reception and stubborn resistance, but we carried the works and won the day by routing the Rebels in great style. In this charge one of our boys had his horse disabled by his fore legs being shot off. Peter B. Palmanteer took leg bail for some bushes, the boys cheering him with "go it, Pete." However, Pete got there all right. We followed the Rebels toward Winchester, skirmishing all the way until we found them in force. Our Regiment was ordered to charge them, which we did and drove them some distance, when all at once we came along by the side of a stone wall, running parallel with the way we were going, behind which the Rebels were. They rose up and gave us a volley in our left flank, which was a surprise and stirred us up in great shape.
The first I knew there were only three of us left, Colonel Brewer, Comrade Christian Bush of Co. "D" and myself. I was carrying the Regimental colors for Colonel Brewer, who said, "Sergeant, we better get out of here or we will lose the colors." Just about this time my horse was shot in the flank and Christian Bush was shot and killed. His foot caught in the stirrup and he was dragged back until the boys caught his horse. The grandest sight I saw during my army life was on this day. Sometime in the afternoon we were drawn up for another charge, our position being on the right of our line next to the Infantry. We were on high ground and could see the Infantry charging toward Winchester. Next comes the order to us; we hear the bugle sound, which is the signal for us to charge, away we go over a little knoll, and we are in the midst of the Rebel Infantry who are waiting for us, formed in a hollow square; we do not stop nor slacken our charge, but ride right through and over them, taking most of them prisoners. During this charge the Rebels had a battery planted so it threw shells into our ranks from the right front. One shell hit my horse in the head, and in falling he threw 7 me, colors and all, quite a number of feet over his head; I immediately caught another horse, mounted and had just overtaken the Colonel near a large building on the left when occurred one of the saddest calamities of the war to me â€” our brave Colonel Brewer was shot and mortally wounded.
Melvin Philip Brewer th Lt. Col. 7 Cavalry
The day was won, we had routed the enemy and cleaned them out completely. We now felt the need of rest and went into camp. Thus ended one of the most eventful days of my army life.
September 18, 1864 (Sunday) In camp. Had inspections & review. Had marching orders in the afternoon. Packed up & saddled. We got ready but did not go. September 19, 1864 (Monday) Boots & saddled divided at 12 o’clock midnight. Broke camp & marched. The squadron charged accompanied & drove the Rebs to Winchester. Had a heavy battle there ????. The Rebs had took good men. James Nest Bush was wounded. Colonel Melvin Brewer was killed. September 20, 1864 (Tuesday) Marched from Winchester to Strasburg. Found the rebels there in force. Marched over towards the mountains & camped for the night. September 21, 1864 (Wednesday) Marched to Front Royal & crossed the Shenandoah. Went into camp at Front Royal for the night. The 3rd division drove mostly from Front Royal & they had a fight with Johnny past at dark. September 22, 1864 (Thursday) Marched up the valley 8 miles. Found the Rebs in strong positions. The 3rd division was skirmishing with them. Crossed the Shenandoah twice. September 23, 1864 (Friday) Marched back to Front Royal. One of the regular regiments had a fight with Mosby. They killed 20 of them. Men marched to Middletown & back to where we started. She’s mannin??? over 40 miles.
John Singleton Mosby “The Grey Ghost” Heroic Confederate cavalry officer
Mosby’s Rangers. Mosby is seated in the center
In 1864, General Phil Sheridan’s troops in a desperate campaign to stop Mosby, committed acts of retribution, including the execution of prisoners. Eventually this began to take place on both sides. Mosby finally wrote General Sheridan in November requesting a mutual end to the brutality and Sheridan agreed.
Mosby’s Rangers on a raid in the Shenandoah Valley (James E. Taylor)
September 24, 1864 (Saturday) Marched on to the gap. (Gap between mountains?) Had a fight with the Rebs & took prisoners & a good many horses. My time stayed out. Camped near the gap. September 25, 1864 (Sunday) (Heading Southwest) Went through the gap. Came to New Market. Drew rations & then marched on to Harrisonburg. Went into camp for the night. Read a letter from Emma. September 26, 1864, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer was promoted to the command of Averell’s 3rd Cavalry Division (2 Brigades and batteries of Horse Artillery) and Colonel James H. Kidd assumed command of the Michigan 1st Brigade consisting of the 1,5,6,7th Cavalry Companies.
Morning of September 26, 1864. Colonel James Kidd proceeded with the division to Port Republic, having the advance until connection was made with General Devin's (Second) Brigade. Arriving at Port Republic Col. Kidd was ordered by the general commanding division to send two regiments across the Shenandoah to capture small parties of the enemy who were in sight. The Sixth and Seventh Michigan Cavalry, commanded by Major Deane and Major Darling, respectively, were sent, and charged the enemy until they encountered a largely superior force of cavalry arid infantry, which was massed at a convenient distance and under cover, disclosing only enough to invite an attack. Having made such dispositions of the regiments as to prevent a flank movement, which was attempted, I held the line the entire day and picketed it during the night.
September 26, 1864 (Monday) Marched on to Port Republic on the Shenandoah River. Found the Rebs there pretty thick. Skirmished with them all day. September 27, 1864 (Tuesday) Lay by the river at Port Republic most all day. Moved back long in the afternoon. We on picket a little while had an encounter with Rebs. Moved back a ways & went in Camp for the night. September 28th, Per Colonel Kidd – He drew in the picket-line and moved to Port Republic; remained there (with Seventh Michigan Cavalry on picket)
September 28, 1864 (Wednesday) 7 of our Companies went after Reb First Regiment with a staff officer. Found them come back & our squadron went to McGaheysville. Sergeant D. Dunnett & men come up missing. We come back after dark & formed the Regiment. Sergeant Daniel W Dunnett enlisted as a private Company “D” and promoted to Sergeant. He eventually transferred to Company “C” where he became a First Lieutenant
September 29, 1864 (Thursday) Lay by the ford all day. A squad of our squadron went to look for Dunnett. Went on picket at dark but was relieved after a few hours. September 29th, Per Colonel Kidd - we marched in rear of the division, the Sixth Michigan deployed as skirmishers, with orders to burn all barns, & crop; the Fifth Michigan Cavalry (Major Hastings), marched on the left, via Piedmont, to Mount Crawford, where the entire brigade went into camp, having destroyed a large amount of property and driven in a large number of cattle and other stock. Seventh Michigan Cavalry left on duty at Port Republic.
December 29, 1864 (Thursday) In Camp. Wrote a letter to Emma. Received 2 letters from home. It snowed some. It was a cold blistery day. December 30, 1864 (Friday) In Camp and requested . . . of our Brigade marched . . . past of our regiment on picket. ? to disband got freezing . . . It snowed in the night. December 31, 1864 (Saturday) In Camp. Wrote a letter home. Received a letter from Emma The weather is very cold. This ends the year of 1864. No. of Pistol is 78.878. C.N. of Pistol
Adelbertâ€™s Discharge Papers
Photocopy of parts of Adelbertâ€™s Diary
Adelbertâ€™s Civil War Medals
Joseph Adelbert Kent (1839-1923)
Emmert “Emma” Parr Kent (1841-1903)
What History Says . . . And a few stories from his comrades
The 7th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Cavalry was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was a part of the famed Michigan Brigade, commanded for a time by Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer.
Major Engagements: Battle of Gettysburg Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond Battle of the Wilderness Battle of Yellow Tavern Battle of Cedar Creek Battle of Five Forks Appomattox
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1â€“3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's attempt to invade the North. After his success at Chancellorsville in Virginia in May 1863, Lee led his army through the Shenandoah Valley to begin his second invasion of the Northâ€”the Gettysburg Campaign. With his army in high spirits, Lee intended to shift the focus of the summer campaign from war-ravaged northern Virginia and hoped to influence Northern politicians to give up their prosecution of the war by penetrating as far as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or even Philadelphia. Prodded by President Abraham Lincoln, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker moved his army in pursuit, but was relieved of command just three days before the battle and replaced by Meade.
Elements of the two armies initially collided at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it. Low ridges to the northwest of town were defended initially by a Union cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Buford, and soon reinforced with two corps of Union infantry. However, two large Confederate corps assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed Union lines, sending the defenders retreating through the streets of town to the hills just to the south. On the second day of battle, most of both armies had assembled. The Union line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a fishhook. In the late afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den, and the Peach Orchard. On the Union right, on federate demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines. On the third day of battle, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, known as Pickett's Charge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great loss to the Confederate army. Lee led his army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle, the most costly in US history. July 3, 1863 George Armstrong Custer brevetted Major for gallant and meritorious service at Gettysburg
The following are comments from George A. Armstrong, a Capt in Adelbert’s Company D of the 7th Regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg.
George A. Armstrong Captain Co. “D”
On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Thursday July 2nd, 1863, the 7th Michigan Cavalry had been for some time supporting a Battery that was playing vigorously upon the enemy, who were returning a lively fire, and we listening to the zip, zip of their bullets as they passed, as well as the boom of some hundreds of cannon and the screeching of shells. A good looking young officer rode out toward us, waving his hand, and in a pleasant tone of voice called out, "Bring on your 7th now," and the Regiment in column of companies moved out in order to strike the column that was trying to turn our flank, first at a slow trot, then at a double quick, then the charge. We went over the hill at a break-neck charge, down into the pit hole of death into a corner of a stone wall with a fence on top of it. Colonel Mann was in command, General Custer riding near him at the head of the command. We crashed against the stone wall, which withstood us, breaking our columns into jelly and mixing us up like a mass of pulp. "Throw down the fence !" was ordered, and the rails flew in all directions, clearing an opening for us to pass, while the Rebels with their guns poked through the fence as they lay securely behind the wall were raking our helpless column with their deadly fire. Through the gap in the fence our brave boys went pell-mell, their horses jumping the wall and at them we went every man for himself. Young Wm. H. Adams of my Company fell almost into my arms shot dead as his horse leaped the wall. The enemy recoiled and withdrew only as we cut or shot them down or rode over them. We withdrew and reformed our broken ranks and shattered companies, charging them again, going over the wall the second time, cutting, slashing and shooting them down, but they were too heavy and sullen for us and stood their ground so desperately that as
before we were compelled to withdraw over the wall a second time, badly broken and cut up, and as we were trying to reform a Rebel Regiment of Cavalry swung into view, charging down upon us. I rode up to General Custer and called his attention to their advance, he answered, "Yes, I know it, and we must get back under the guns," but at that moment the 1st Vermont Cavalry charged over the hill to our rescue. On they came, both Regiments, the Rebels and the Vermonters coming together like two furious thunder clouds, and then occurred a wonder of the battle field, every soldier held his breath and his heart stood still for the moment; when within easy pistol shot both Regiments halted for a moment, faced each other, looked each other in the eyes, then a yell rang out from the 1st Vermont and they spurred their horses forward in a desperate charge, the Rebels wheeled, were driven off the field and out of sight. Henry Thomas, Private of my Company, later Lieutenant, had two horses shot under him and came off the field all O. K. on the third horse that he picked up. Such was much of the desperate fighting in the three days fight at Gettysburg.
The following are comments are from James G. Birney, a Lieut. in Adelbert’s Company D of the 7th Regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg.
James G. Birney Captain Co. “D”
On the day of the great Battle of Gettysburg (Friday July 3rd, 1863), we had a very sharp fight with General Stuart on the right. The 7th Michigan Cavalry charged gallantly and drove them back; when Hampton's entire Brigade charged us, and we were obliged to fall back. My horse was shot twice and finally killed, a bullet went through the pommel of my saddle, two through my overcoat and one through my saber strap, and I was struck on the heel with a spent one. The Regiment began to fall back and just then the Color Sergeant (Church, of Bay City) was killed by a pistol shot. I secured the colors and was charged on by a large number of Rebels, and I can assure you the bullets whistled merrily for a while, but miraculously
none touched me. I shot two of the enemy, using all the charges left in my revolver and then charged a man with the pike of the colors, but before I reached him I got a sabre cut on the head that laid me out. I lay upon the field for an hour when the Rebels came and carried me off, a prisoner. I was a prisoner for two days, one of which was the Fourth of July. I escaped from them above Cashtown and found Uncle Fitzhugh of the Ambulance Corps, who took me in his ambulance to Micldletown, where I found General Pleasanton's headquarters and reported for duty with a request to be forwarded to my Regiment. The General was very complimentary and appointed me as Aide-de-Camp on his Staff.
The following are comments are from Frank Milbourn a Private in Adelbert’s Company D of the 7th Regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Frank Milbourn Private Co. “D”
When General Custer took command of our Brigade I was detailed as his Orderly; was with him when he led our old Regiment in the charge on the last clay of the three days' fight at Gettysburg. I was taken prisoner about four p. m. on the 3rd of July. The Rebs took me about six miles with about 50 of our boys, including George Mason of my Company, who afterwards died in Andersonville. The Rebs gave me my supper, it was flour, but looked more like mill sweepings. I asked them how I should fix it so I could eat it They told me to mix it up with water and eat it, that was good enough for a damed Yankee, but I did not. They formed a guard around us at dark; along in the evening they passed through our guard line with heavy artillery, and as one piece passed near me I got on a cannon and rode out. It being dark they did not notice me and I escaped and returned to my Regiment. I thanked God they did not see me. George Mason could have gotten away with me if he had had a mind to, but he feared he would be killed.
Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond
The Battle of Walkerton was an engagement of the American Civil War. It occurred March 2, 1864, in Walkerton, King and Queen County, Virginia during the campaign known as the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid or the Dahlgren Affair. The campaign started with Brig. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick leaving Stevensburg on February 28 with 4,000 men, intending to raid Richmond. The force rode along the Virginia Central Railroad tearing up track, while an advance force was sent south along the James River. The plan was that the advance force, led by Col. Ulric Dahlgren, son of Rear Admiral John Dahlgren, should penetrate Richmond's defenses from the rear, and release prisoners at Belle Isle. Yet, when Kilpatrick reached Richmond on March 1, Dahlgren had not yet arrived. Kilpatrick had to withdraw because he was under pursuit by Confederate cavalry, led by Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton. Hampton caught up with Kilpatrick near Old Church on March 2, but the Federals were able to take refuge with elements of Butler's command at New Kent Court House. Meanwhile, Dahlgren had found himself unable to penetrate Richmond's defenses, and tried to escape northwards. The group became separated, and on March 2, Dahlgren, along with about 100 men, was ambushed by a detachment of the 9th Virginia Cavalry and Home Guards in King and Queen County near Walkerton. Dahlgren was killed and most of the men were captured. The gravest implications of the raid came as a result of papers found on Dahlgrenâ€™s body. The papers allegedly contained an official Union order to burn Richmond and assassinate Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. Meade, Kilpatrick, and Lincoln all disavowed any knowledge of the Dahlgren Papers, and their authenticity has been disputed. At the time, however, the affair caused a great public outcry among Southerners, who accused the North of initiating "a war of extermination."
Battle of the Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5â€“7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by Grant against Lee's army and, eventually, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia. The battle was tactically inconclusive, as Grant disengaged and continued his offensive. Grant attempted to move quickly through the dense underbrush of the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, but Lee launched two of his corps on parallel roads to intercept him. On the morning of May 5, the Union V Corps under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warrenattacked the Confederate Second Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, on the Orange Turnpike. That afternoon theThird Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill, encountered Brig. Gen. George W. Getty's division (VI Corps) and Maj. Gen.Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps on the Orange Plank Road. Fighting until dark was fierce but inconclusive as both sides attempted to maneuver in the dense woods. At dawn on May 6, Hancock attacked along the Plank Road, driving Hill's Corps back in confusion, but the First Corps of Lt. Gen.James Longstreet arrived in time to prevent the collapse of the Confederate right flank. Longstreet followed up with a surprise flanking attack from an unfinished railroad bed that drove Hancock's men back to the Brock Road, but the momentum was lost when Longstreet was wounded by his own men. An evening attack by Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon against the Union right flank caused consternation at Union headquarters, but the lines stabilized and fighting ceased. On May 7, Grant disengaged and moved to the southeast, intending to leave the Wilderness to interpose his army between Lee and Richmond, leading to the bloody Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.
Battle of Yellow Tavern
The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864 and was a clash between the Union and Confederate cavalry forces. It was best known for the mortal wounding of legendary Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. The Overland Campaign was Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 offensive against Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The two had fought an inconclusive battle at the Wilderness and were engaged in heavy fighting at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Up to this point, Union cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan was dissatisfied with his role in the campaign. His Cavalry Corps was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, under Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, who reported to Grant. Meade had employed Sheridan's forces primarily in the traditional role of screening and reconnaissance, whereas Sheridan saw the value of wielding the Cavalry Corps as an independently operating offensive weapon for wide ranging raids into the rear areas of the Confederates.
Battle of Cedar Creek
The Battle of Cedar Creek, or Battle of Belle Grove, fought October 19, 1864, was the culminating battle of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal Early launched a surprise attack against the encamped army of Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, across Cedar Creek, northeast of Strasburg, Virginia. During the morning fighting, seven Union infantry divisions were forced to fall back and lost numerous prisoners and cannons. Early failed to continue his attack north of Middletown, and Sheridan, dramatically riding to the battlefield from Winchester, was able to rally his troops to hold a new defensive line. A Union counterattack that afternoon routed Early's army. At the conclusion of this battle, the final Confederate invasion of the North was effectively ended. The Confederacy was never again able to threaten Washington, D.C. through the Shenandoah Valley, nor protect one of its key economic bases in Virginia. The stunning Union victory aided the reelection of Abraham Lincoln and won Sheridan lasting fame. The following are comments from Mayor J.L. Carpenter others who served in Company F of the 7th Regiment concerning the Battle of Cedar Creek.
Battle of Five Forks
The Battle of Five Forks was fought on April 1, 1865, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, around the road junction of Five Forks, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, during the end of the Richmondâ€“Petersburg Campaign (sometimes called the Siege of Petersburg) and in the beginning stage of the Appomattox Campaign near the conclusion of the American Civil War. A mobile task force of combined infantry, artillery and cavalry from the Union Army commanded by Major General Philip Sheridan defeated a Confederate States Army combined task force from the Army of Northern Virginia commanded by Major General George E. Pickett. The Union force inflicted over 1,000 casualties on the Confederates and took between 2,400 and 4,000 prisoners while seizing Five Forks, the key to control of the South Side Railroad (sometimes shown as Southside Railroad), a vital Confederate supply line to, and retreat line from, Petersburg. On the night of the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House at about 10:00 p.m., V Corps infantry began to arrive near the battlefield to reinforce Sheridan's cavalry. This threat caused Pickett to retreat about 6 miles to a modestly fortified line about 1.7 miles in length approximately half on either side of the junction of White Oak Road, Scott Road and Dinwiddie Court House Road at Five Forks. Pickett's orders from General Robert E.
Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, were to defend Five Forks "at all hazards" (costs) because of its strategic importance as the key to a supply line and evacuation route. At Five Forks at the beginning of the Union attack about 1:00 p.m., Sheridan hit the front and right flank of the Confederate line with small arms fire from mostly dismounted cavalry troopers of Brigadier General Thomas Devin's and Brigadier General (Brevet Major General) George Armstrong Custer's divisions from mostly wooded positions just outside the Confederate breastworks. This fire pinned down the Confederates while the massed V Corps of infantry, commanded by Major General Gouverneur K. Warren, after about two hours to organize, attacked the Confederate left flank. With Sheridan fretting about the amount of remaining daylight and his cavalry possibly running out of ammunition, the V Corps attacked about 4:15 p.m. Pickett and cavalry commander Major General Fitzhugh Lee were having a late shad bake lunch about 1.5 miles north of the main Confederate line along White Oak Road in part because they thought Sheridan was unlikely to be organized for an attack that late in the day. An acoustic shadow in the thick woods and heavy, humid atmospheric conditions prevented them from hearing the opening stage of the battle. Pickett and Lee had not told any of the next ranking officers of their absence and that those subordinates, in particular Major General W. H. F. "Rooney" Lee, were temporarily in charge. Because of bad information and lack of reconnaissance, two of the Union divisions in the infantry attack did not hit the short Confederate left flank which was about 800 yards (730 m) west of its supposed location, but their movement by chance helped them to roll up the Confederate line by coming at it from the end and rear. The first division in the attack under Brigadier General Romeyn B. Ayres alone overran the short right angled line on the left side of the Confederate main line. Sheridan's personal leadership helped encourage and focus the men. Brigadier General Charles Griffin's division recovered from overshooting the Confederate left and helped roll up additional improvised Confederate defense lines. Brigadier General (Brevet Major General) Samuel Crawford's division swept across north of the main battle but then closed off Ford's Road, swept down to Five Forks and helped disperse the last line of Confederate infantry resistance. The Union cavalry was somewhat less successful as much of the Confederate cavalry escaped while much of the Confederate infantry became casualties or prisoners. Due to more apparent than real lack of speed, enthusiasm and leadership, as well as some past grudges and a personality conflict, Sheridan unfairly relieved Warren of command of V Corps when the successful battle concluded. The Union Army held Five Forks and the road to the South Side Railroad at the end of the battle. Grant ordered an attack all along the line at Petersburg for the next day. Pickett's loss at Five Forks along with the Union breakthrough of the defenses of Petersburg the next day at the Third Battle of Petersburg forced General Lee to abandon his entrenchments and fortifications around Petersburg and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, and to begin the retreat that led to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. March 13, 1865 George Armstrong Custer brevetted Brigadier General for gallant and meritorious service at Five Forks
The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, was one of the last battles of the American Civil War. It was the final engagement of Confederate Army general Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Lee, having abandoned the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, after the ten-month Siege of Petersburg, retreated west, hoping to join his army with the Confederate forces in North Carolina. Union forces pursued and cut off the Confederate's retreat at the village of Appomattox Court House. Lee launched an attack to break through the Union force to his front, assuming the Union force consisted entirely of cavalry. When he realized that the cavalry was backed up by two corps of Union infantry, he had no choice but to surrender. The signing of the surrender documents occurred in the parlor of the house owned by Wilmer McLean on the afternoon of April 9. On April 12, a formal ceremony marked the disbandment of the Army of Northern Virginia and the parole of its officers and men, effectively ending the war in Virginia. This event triggered a series of surrenders across the South, signaling the end of the war. March 13, 1865 George Armstrong Custer brevetted Major General for gallant and meritorious service during the campaign ending with the surrender of Leeâ€™s Army of Northern Virgina
The following are comments are from Andrew Pray, a Sergeant in Adelbert’s Company D of the 7th Regiment during the Battle of Appomattox.
Andrew Pray Sergeant Co. “D”
Early on the morning of April 9th, 1865, when we started on the advance there were just five of Co. "D" present for duty, four Sergeants and one Corporal. The Corporal held the horses and the Sergeants went to the front to fight on foot. We drove the Rebel skirmishers back over a long hill and the four of us then stopped in the point of a flatiron shaped piece of timber and lay in fence corners surrounding it. The Rebel lines began to advance and we were so busily engaged trying to keep them out of our neck of the woods that we did not notice they were getting around to our left and rear and into the woods. The first we knew the woods was full of them. They commenced firing at us from the flank, then we began to look for the rest of our skirmish line, but they were all gone, so we struck out across an open field to our right and rear. It was about half a mile back to the top of the hill and running up hill was not easy work for a dismounted Cavalryman. The Rebel skirmish line that was in front of us was advancing and those in the woods pecking at us from our right, but running up hill was helping us out, as they were all shooting low. The minnie balls and gravel were flying around our feet and as Charlie Holmes said as he and I were making our best time side by side, "Sandy, this makes a fellow pick up his feet mighty quick, don't it." George Ferris and Al. Shotwell were better on foot or had better wind than Holmes and I, for they reached the top of the hill first, but they did not have to wait long for us. When we got to the top of the hill we saw our Infantry coming out of the woods. We moved over towards them out of range of the Rebel line that came to the top of the hill, but when they saw our Infantry advancing, turned about and went back. We waited until our Infantry came up when we went back to the top of the hill with them. Shotwell and I retired to the shade of a tree to rest, thinking we would see an Infantry battle. George Ferris (Adelbert bought a pair of suspenders from George Ferris for 75 cents) and Holmes went back with the skirmishers to get a little revenge for the run they had given them, but we were all disappointed, as the skirmishers had not reached the foot of the hill when the flag of truce came out and there was a happy time along the whole line. We then went over to our right to our command and horses.