David.Gettman November 11th, 2008
ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
On May 4, 1864, the Army of the Potomac moved against Lee by the left flank in order to force him to abandon his trenches along Mine Run. Sheridan’s 10,000 cavalry was divided so that Gregg’s and Wilson’s divisions preceded the Second and Fifth Corps, while Torbert’s division, of which the Second Cavalry formed a part, remained in the rear of the army to protect the trains.
The regiment crossed the river at Ely’s Ford May 4, 1864, and moved toward Gordonsville. From now until the 7th it was guarding the trains as the army moved south. On this date the army advanced toward Spottsylvania Court House, while the trains moved to Piney Branch Church, which was found occupied by the enemy. The Reserve Brigade was placed on Spottsylvania Road and was supported on its left by Gregg’s division. After some severe fighting, especially in Merritt’s front, the Confederates gave way and were pursued nearly to Spottsylvania Court House.
After the regiment came in contact with the enemy May 8, it was found that he was in great strength. In the severe fighting which followed, the men exhausted their rifle ammunition without being able to renew the supply. From this time until relieved by the Fifth Corps about 8:00 a.m., they amused themselves by firing at the Rebels with their pistols.
After considerable protest as to the way Meade was using his cavalry, Sheridan was given permission to break loose from the army and defeat Stuart. After assembling at Aldrich’s, Sheridan started with the cavalry corps May 9 on the raid around Richmond. With 10,000 cavalrymen in a column thirteen miles long, he succeeded in passing around Lee’s army without being discovered. Sometime later in the day he was overtaken by Stuart’s cavalry, who attacked the rear guard which was Davies’ brigade. Refusing to stop the main body for this combat, Sheridan moved on across the Ny, Po, and Ta Rivers and encamped that night at Anderson’s Ford on the North Anna, with the Second Cavalry as a part of Merritt’s division on the south side of the river and the other two divisions on the north side. Soon after halting here Custer’s brigade was detached to the railroad a short distance ahead and proceeded to tear up that line for several miles, destroyed an enormous amount of property, and released 375 Union prisoners. Continue Reading »