"?the mingled roar of the musketry, and heavy lumbering of the artillery, seemed to rend the whole heavens?"
At this railroad cut on June 23, 1864, 3,500 Union cavalrymen commanded by Gen. James H. Wilson fought a Confederate cavalry force of 2,000 under Gen. W.H. Fitzhugh Lee. The savage, 9-hour battle was the first major engagement of the Wilson-Kautz Raid, a Union cavalry expedition intended to destroy railroads supplying Confederate forces besieged at Petersburg.
1) 11:12:a.m. - Union Col. George Chapman's Brigade unexpectedly encounters Confederate Gen. James Dearing's Brigade near this railroad cut. The Confederates dismount and attack, forcing the Federals into a defensive position in the cut. Additional forces, including artillery, arrive and the fighting see-saws as both sides charge and countercharge. The heaviest fighting is on the left where the 62nd Georgia Cavalry forms the Confederate.
2) 1-2:p.m. - Union troops (8th New York and 1st Vermont) drive back the North Carolina companies of the Dearing Brigade and momentarily capture McGregor's guns. Moments later, Gen. Rufus Barringer's Brigade (1st, 2nd and 5th North Carolina) arrives, dismounts and recaptures the guns, forcing the Federals back into the railroad cut. Fighting continues, but the battle becomes a stalemate.
3) About 7 p.m. - In a final effort, mounted Confederate cavalry attempts to flank the Union position but are driven off by troopers of the 1st Connecticut Cavalry. Sniping and skirmishing continue until about midnight.
4) About 3 a.m., June 24 - Gen. Wilson withdraws from the field along present day Rts. 603 and 626, to reunite his division with that of Gen. Kautz near Meherrin, Virginia. The Confederates claim victory, but the Union force will continue its mission to disrupt and destroy the Confederate railroads.
Casualties, including killed, wounded and missing:
Confederate - between 60 and 100.
Union - about 75.