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Monday, June 16, 2014

Action at Long Bridge- June 12, 1864


Map of the vicinity of Richmond, Va., and part of the Peninsula- Gilmer

 The map above gives an overview of the area comprising Bottom's Bridge, Riddell's Shop, Nance's Shop, and Long Bridge.


HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
Moodys House, June 12, 1864- 2.45 p.m.

Major-General HUMPHREYS, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Major Roebling has just returned from a reconnaissance below. The Long Bridge is a bad place to force a passage. It is at present picketed by a small force of the Second North Carolina; the men on picket think it is cavalry, judging from their uniform. They talk to each other. Deserters from points above are from Ransoms brigade, they say. The Second North Carolina Infantry is in Ramseur's brigade, Ewell's corps. The approach to Long Bridge is on this side, over a narrow neck, with a swamp on each side. About 3 miles below is a good ford, it is said, at Pollards. The enemy has no pickets below Long Bridge, so that Colonel Chapman, with the cavalry brigade, had better cross at least a part of his command there, and come up and open the Long Bridge crossing. I will suggest it to him. I have started the pontoon train out now, as they can go all the way under cover. Unless the enemy bothers us at the crossing we shall be well out of the way of everybody. The distance from Long Bridge to Jones' Bridge is reported by the cavalry to be greater than indicated on the map. It is said to be about 9 miles.

            G.K. WARREN,
        Major-General, Commanding.


The Major Roebling spoken of here is Washington A. Roebling of Brooklyn Bridge fame.  


LONG BRIDGE, June 12, 1864- 10 p.m.
Major-General HUMPHREYs:
General Wilson has crossed over some men, and they are commencing to lay the bridge. Ayres' division is bivouacked, waiting for the cavalry to get out of the way. Crawford is massing. I shall close the corps all up at this point, so as to keep the road clear behind me. The enemy fired a little.
    Respectfully,

                G.K. WARREN,
                    Major-General.






HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
    Near Long Bridge, June 12, 1864- 11.15 p.m.

Maj. Gen. A.A. HUMPHREYS,
          Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: After a sharp resistance, in which we lost several men, the advance of Chapman's brigade, two regiments, succeeded in passing both branches of the Chickahominy on logs and drifts, and driving the enemy from his rifle-pits, and are now well out on the other side, covering the construction of the bridges. As there is an island across which the road runs, with bad approaches, the bridges will probably not be done before midnight. Our advance crossed about 9 p.m. We will clear the way for the infantry as soon as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                     J.H. WILSON,
  Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.






From the report of Colonel George H. Chapman, Third Indiana Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade.
.  .  .
June 4 and 5 passed without movement or event of importance. On the 5th the Twenty-second New York joined the brigade. On the 6th moved to Bottom's Bridge and relieved the Second Cavalry Division doing picket duty from left of infantry to Jones' Bridge on the Chickahominy, the left of infantry resting at railroad bridge. The brigade continued in the performance of this duty until the 12th of June, without anything occurring on the line except a little firing between the pickets. I caused the crossing to be made defensible by constructing breast-works under cover of the night, and having succeeded in doing this the enemy ceased to fire upon my pickets. On the 9th the First New Hampshire Cavalry joined the brigade.
At dark on the 12th of June, in pursuance of orders directing a general movement of the army, I moved my command to Long Bridge, on the Chickahominy. Finding the bridge destroyed and the stream not fordable, I dismounted the Twenty-second New York and Third Indiana. The first named command was mainly crossed on a log a short distance above the bridge, and, making their way with much difficultly and considerable delay through the swamp, succeeded in crossing the second branch of the stream as they had crossed the first, on logs, and joined the brigade on the south bank of the river or swamp. In the mean time a pontoon-boat having been launched into the first branch of the stream, the Third Indiana were hastily crossed over under fire from a small force of the enemy, who occupied a rifle-pit on the south bank of the second branch of the stream. These were soon driven back, and the Third Indiana crossed line of battle, with skirmishers thrown well to the front. Owing to the difficulties to be overcome considerable time was consumed in laying the pontoon bridges, and it was after midnight when my command was entirely over. The command then moved forward to White Oak Swamp, the advance, skirmishing with a small body of the enemy's cavalry, who fell back across the swamp. At this point we found the enemy prepared to make resistance to our farther advance, with a battery in position, from which they opened fire. Lieutenant Fitzhugh's battery, then serving with this brigade, was ordered into position and a lively artillery duel ensued, in which one of the sections of our battery suffered considerably in men and horses.* “
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

GEO. H. CHAPMAN,
             Colonel Third Indiana Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.

Captain LOUIS SIEBERT,
    Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Cavalry Division

According to the records the Twenty-second New York Cavalry suffered three wounded at the bridge, and three killed, two wounded and one missing the next day.


Brevet Major General George H. Chapman

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