Near this spot, at dawn on March 17, 1863, Brig. Gen. William W. Averill and his 2,100-man division closed on Kelly's Ford. Included in Averill's column was 22 year-old Sgt. Truman Reeves of Orwell, Ohio. Alerted to the Federals' approach, 130 Confederates sheltered by a mill-race held the bluecoats at bay for two hours. Finally, the Buckeyes, close on the heels of a detachment of the 1st Rhode Island, gained the west bank.
The 7-foot depth of the ford and Averill's innate caution slowed his advance. It was noon before he reached Wheatley's Farm. There he was challenged by 30 Virginia horsemen. Abandoning the fight for the stone wall bounding Wheatley's lane, the Confederates retreated, reforming north of Carter's Run. The Federals followed, taking position in the edge of the woods 1,000 yards away. Both sides unlimbered artillery. The 6th Ohio was thrown out as skirmishers. Until 5:30 there was charge and counter charge across the intervening field.
Satisfied that he had stirred up a hornets' nest Averill broke off the engagement, re-crossed the Rappahannock and returned to his camp. Sergeant Reeves continued to ride with the 6th Ohio Cavalry until seriously wounded in the battle of Haw's Shop on May 28, 1864, when shot in the upper left arm. His arm was amputated and after several months' recuperation in a military hospital, he was medically discharged in early January 1865. A decade later Reeves, now married, moved to southern California where he became a successful businessman. In 1897, he was elected as a Republican to the first of two four-year terms as California State Treasurer.
Text by Edwin C. Bearss; Plaque Erected in Honor of Sergeant Truman Reeves by His Descendants, Roy and Nacy Muchlberger.