Today in History:

1085 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I


No. 7. Report of Colonel Percy Wyndham, First New Jersey Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, THIRD DIV., CAVALRY CORPS, Zanesville Church, Va., May 4, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with orders, I proceeded from Thompson's Cross-Roads at 3 a.m. yesterday, May 3, with two regiments of my command, numbering about 400 men, in the direction of James River. Some 15 miles from the cross roads, I came to Byrd's Creek, and destroyed the bridge after crossing. At this point I met two squadrons of the enemy's cavalry, which my advance guard drove toward Columbia. They there crossed the James River on the bridge that I afterward destroyed. I then went to Columbia, and destroyed large quantities of the enemy's stores, consisting of quartermaster's and commissary stores; also a large quantity of medical stores marked "Medical Purveyor, Richmond, Va." In the James River Canal, which passes through Columbia, I destroyed three canal-boats, two of them loaded with commissary stores and the other with forage. I burned at this place four bridges crossing the canal. I attempted to destroy the aqueduct crossing the canal at this place, but failed to accomplish my purpose on account of not having sufficient time and the proper materials, as it is an immense structure, and would require a large amount of labor and at least forty-eight hours' time to accomplish it. From Columbia I went in the direction of Cedar Point, destroying the large and elegant bridge crossing the James River to Elk Island. At and near this place I completed my work of destruction by destroying the canal in four different and distinct places; also chopping to pieces the locks and gates of the canal in the vicinity, rendering the canal irreparable and impracticable for a long time at least. On the march to and from the river I captured some 140 horses and mules. I should have gone to Appomattox Station for the purpose of destroying the railroad bridge at that point, but owing to the limited time allowed me for the expedition [as it required at least four days from the time I started], and having reliable information of General Lee's advance with a force of cavalry and artillery. I thought it expedient to retire to the cross roads, which I did without meeting with any interruption whatever on the way. My information subsequently proved correct, as the enemy's cavalry and artillery were found to be in pursuit. I arrived at Thompson's Cross Roads, went into camp at about 8 o'clock in the evening of the same day, May 3, having accomplished a distance of over 50 miles in sixteen hours, fulfilling every mission, and returning with my command in as good order as could be desired, and ready for any emergency that may be required of it.

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

Colonel, Commanding Second Brigadier, Third Div., Cavalry Corps.

Lieutenant Colonel A. J. ALEXANDER,

Asst. Adjt. General, Cavalry Corps.

No. 8. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Hasbrouck Davis, Twelfth Illinois Cavalry.

GLOUCESTER POINT, VA., May 10, 1863.

GENERAL: In compliance with your request, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry