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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1865 Report
Appendix C

Official Reports

XXVI. REPORT OF MAJOR WILLIAM G. CUMMINGS,
FIRST VERMONT REGIMENT CAVALRY

Headquarters 1st Vermont Cavalry
Camp in the Field, Jan. 28th, 1865.

Peter T. Washburn,
Adjutant and Inspector General.

Sir:--I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements and engagements of the First Vermont Cavalry.

on the 22d day of October, 1864, the officers and men whose term of service had expired, started for Vermont, leaving some four hundred men and three officers, myself in command, encamped on the old battle field of Cedar Creek, where we remained until the army of the Shenandoah fell back, Nov. 10th, and took up a new line near Kearnstown, Va. Our division had the right of the line, encamping at the junction of the Middle road with the Romney Pike. Just as we had got in camp I received orders to proceed with the regiment and establish a picket line in front of the Division, from Newtown to Faucet's Gap, some three miles in extent, which was done at once. About noon on the 11th, we were attacked by the enemy's cavalry, coming in on the middle road, and forced back, until the brigade came to our support, when a heavy skirmish ensued, lasting until the enemy fell back, sometime after dark. We pursued them, capturing several prisoners, but on returning towards camp, I was ordered to take up the old picket line, as I was the only officer acquainted with it.

We were attacked a little after day,next morning, by Rosser's Cavalry, again, but held the line, until about 11 a. m., when the Division came up, and we were drawn in to join the charge, which we carried some two miles, to be run back, in turn, to the old position. The skirmishing was quite heavy until near night, with now and then a charge; but just before dark the 1st Division came up, and we drove the enemy from the field.

We joined the pursuit, the next morning, as far as Cedar Cree; but as the enemy had fallen back up the valley, we returned to camp. Our loss on the 11th was one killed, and three wounded, and four killed, thirteen wounded and three missing on the 12th. The regiment never fought better, though some two hundred and fifty (250) of its members were recruits just from the State, and had never seen a day's drill. The officer, capt. Chandler and Lieut. Mitchell, acquitted themselves with great gallantry. We missed the colors, (taken to the STate by the men discharged,) to rally the regiment on, more in this engagement than at any time since, on account of the small number of officers present.

On the 19th we marched with the corps on a reconnoisance up the valley, as far as Mt. Jackson, but finding the enemy in force at Rood's HIll, we withdrew, our regiment covering the rear. The enemy pursued some distance and in the skirmish we had two men wounded and one captured. We returned to camp the 23d, where we remained until the 7th of December, when we moved with the division to Moorefield, va., to intercept Ross on his return from capturing New Creek; but though we made fifty miles in sixteen hours, Rosser had already passed, and we returned to camp on the 11th, without an engagement. On the 18th, our Division mad a reconnoisance up the valley, camping the second night at Lacy's Springs. Just before day on the 20th, a brigade of rebel cavalry charged into camp; surprising the pickets of the 1st N. H., they were upon the 8th N. Y. before the 8th was aware of the presence of an enemy. Our regiment moved at once towards the firing, and after a short skirmish made a charge, capturing some thirty prisoners, without losing a man. We returned to camp the 22nd, and built winter quarters near Winchester, Va., where we remained doing out-post duty, until the opening of the spring campaign.

I am, General, very respectfully,

Your ob't serv't.,

W. G. CUMMINGS,
Maj. comd'g 1st Vt. Cav.