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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Sixth New York Cavalry- Along the Chickahominy 1864

June 1st- Returned to Cold Harbor before daylight and reoccupied the works before the enemy knew we had evacuated them, immediately throwing up a line of breastworks. Daybreak found us still holding our barricaded position of the previous night, and brought us the information that we were confronting parts of Lee's and Butler's cavalry, and Hoke's and Kershaw's divisions of infantry. Devin's brigade formed, with Custer's brigade on the right. At 6 a.m. the enemy made a sudden attack on the right, which the Michigan boys met right gallantly, their seven shooters doing effective work, while the batteries in the rear did great execution; the fight lasted about an hour, when the enemy fell back, leaving more than a hundred of their dead and wounded on the field. After that, sharpshooting was kept up until about ten o'clock, when the Sixth Corps arrived and relieved us, and continued the fighting The cavalry then moved toward the Chickahominy and covered the left of the infantry line till Hancock arrived at 2 p.m., when it moved to Prospect Church and went into bivouac. The infantry soon became heavily engaged and the roar of artillery and musketry was continuous until long after dark, and was kept up, at intervals, the greater part of the night.
 June 2d- At 7 a.m. took the road to Dispatch Station. Halted for several hours in support of Gregg who was fighting on the infantry's left. Then resumed the march to Bottom's Bridge which we found in possession of the enemy. The Sixth New York in the advance came up with a force of the enemy and after considerable skirmishing drove them across the bridge. As the regiment approached the bridge to reconnoitre it was greeted with a few shells from the enemy's fortifications beyond the Chickahominy, one of which killed three horses and took off a man's foot (Aaron Byington Company I). At 4 p.m. the regiment went on picket, holding the bridge all night, the division encamping a mile to the rear. It rained very hard all night.
June 3d- Still raining. All quiet except that the rebel sharpshooters were busy. Regiment was relieved at 10 am by the Seventeenth Pennsylvania and fell back but remained within gunshot of the bridge.
June 4th- At 5 a.m. left Bottom's Bridge and marched to the right wing of the army and encamped at Hall's Shop a short distance to the rear near Old Church. Rain in afternoon.
June 5th- Marched to Studley, the birthplace and residence of Patrick Henry near Totopotomoy Creek. Rain.
June 6th- Beveille at 2.30 a.m. At sunrise marched to Little Page's Ford on the Pamunky River near Hanovertown and bivouacked on Ruffin's farm. Major Ruffin was the rebel who fired the first shot on the old flag at Sumter.

-History of the Sixth New York Cavalry: (Second Ira Harris Guard) Second Brigade -- First Division -- Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865
 Compiled by Hillman Allyn Hall, William B. Besley, Gilbert Guion Wood
 Blanchard Press, 1908      

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