State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A New Look- II

 As I said yesterday, I have discovered that the Richmond Examiner reevaluated its opinion of the Confederated defeat at Charles City Court House, some two weeks after its original scathing article. . .

Evidence, lately place in our hands, proves satisfactorily that in a paragraph of this paper, relating to the capture of Confederate Cavalry at Charles City Court House, the Reporter did injustice to some who performed their duty and only surrendered when overwhelmed by superior numbers. The number of our men captured was only eighty-three, whilst the force that surrounded them is acknowledged by the Yankees themselves to have been five hundred cavalry, supported by ten companies of infantry.
The facts of the case are briefly these: Part of three companies of the Thirty-second Virginia cavalry battalion were stationed at Charles City Court House, Captain Hamlet, Company H, being at Bush Hill, quarter of a mile distant. Their couriers were at the Forge bridge, seven miles distant. The pickets of the Holcombe Legion were stationed several miles east, on the road to Williamsburg. At 3 o'clock Sunday morning, December 13th, the pickets of the Legion were driven in and made their way to Bottom's bridge, their headquarters, without informing the couriers of the Thirty-second battalion of the approach of the enemy. The Yankees then advanced to Forge bridge, where they surprised the couriers and took them prisoners. They then rode rapidly to Charles City Court House, reaching there about 7 a.m., a portion riding straight up to the Court House, and the others going in quest of Captain HAMLET, at Bush Hill. Captain HAMLET and his men saw the Yankees, but believed them to be some of our own cavalry sent to relieve them from picket, and as such cheered them as they rode up. When the mistake was discovered they had been completely surrounded, and it was too late for resistance. Lieutenant F.S. BALLARD, commanding Captain A.J. RODGERS' company, had his men, twenty-five in number, out for morning drill and inspection on foot when he discovered the Yankees, some two hundred in number, not more than two hundred and fifty yards distant. He immediately withdrew his men into the old tavern and a building near by, and waited the approach of the enemy. When the Yankees got within fifty yards of the buildings he opened on them with his carbines and kept off until every cartridge was expended. The enemy then charged into the buildings and overpowered our small force.
The enemy lost four men killed and ten wounded. Our casualties were Lieutenant BALLARD and a private, whose name we have not obtained, wounded.
At the time of the approach of the Yankees, Captain RODGERS, commanding the battalion, being ignorant of their coming, had just started to Richmond under orders, and happened to ride back to the Court House just as the Yankees arrived, and was taken prisoner. He and Lieutenant BALLARD were sent back to Richmond by the last flag of truce boat. The men and some of the officers are still held prisoners at Fort Norfolk.
This disaster seems wholly due to the failure of the pickets who were first driven in to give information of the fact to Captain RODGERS' pickets or couriers at Forge Bridge.

-The Daily Examiner(Richmond) January 1, 1864

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