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4th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Posted in 4th Penn Cav, Regimental Histories on May 12, 2009 by dccaughey

“On the 16th of March, the division was hurried out in light marching order, and proceeded to Morrisville, Va., and encamped there for the night.  They then started early the next morning, and marched to the Rappahannock, at Kelley’s Ford.  Here we found the enemy opposite ready to dispute our passage of the river and the ford.  Below the surface of the water they had placed wires, fallen trees, etc., to obstruct our progress.  But, after a short fight and most gallant charge, by the First Rhode Island cavalry, under Col. Chamberlin, of the First Maine cavalry, the enemy were routed, the crossing effected, and all the rebels in the works on the opposite side captured – consisting of 75 prisoners.  This was not accomplished, though, without considerable loss to the charging party, as they advanced under very adverse circumstances, the ford being small and narrow.  Col. Chamberlin was very seriously wounded, and his life was despaired of for a long time.  The division then crossed the river 1800 strong, Gen. Averill in command.  They were soon met by Gen. Stuart’s and Gen. Fitz Hugh Lee’s rebel cavalry.  We fought very desperately all day, making several fierce charges, one of which our regiment made singly, routing the enemy and driving him in the direction of Culpeper.  This engagementcalled into play only the cavalry forces of the two armies.  It was the first collision, on a large scale, of the mounted forces of the two armies in Virginia, and the first time in which the rebel cavalry had been successfully met and defeated by inferior numbers.  This reconnaissance in force was made under orders from Gen. Hooker, to discover what movements the enemy were about making.  The regiment suffered pretty severely in this engagement, the company losing Corp. Thomas Connor, his father, a fellow-soldier, also being present at the time.  We condoled with him on our common loss.  As a cavalry-man he was wild and daring.”

 Source:  Hyndman, William.  History of a Cavalry Company.  Philadelphia: Jas. B. Rodgers Co., 1870.  Pages 87-88.