Union cavalrymen, under General Thomas Devin, advanced across this wooded ground twice on April 1, 1865. In the morning they tested the strength of the Southerners' defenses north of here along White Oak Road. The Union soldiers were thrown back by intense Confederate rifle and cannon fire.
Waiting for the Union infantry assault on the east end of the Confederate line, these dismounted troopers advanced at the explosion of rifle fire at 4:15pm. The trees provided cover from Confederate fire as their seven-shot Spencer repeating carbines magnified their numbers.
"We again moved toward, firing slowly from behind the trees," recounted E.M. Johnson, 2nd New York Cavalry. Roger Hannaford, 2nd Ohio Cavalry, said, "While dashing forward...I dropped behind a big pine. Never did I hug the ground closer: the musketry was deadly & terrific, yet it seemed as nothing to the grape and canister that swept thro' the woods, just skimming the ground."
(background) An image of dismounted cavalrymen in action.
(lower right) Union Brigadier General Thomas Devin, Cavalry Commander 1st Division, Army of the Shenandoah.