Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Wrong Turn On The Road

As Confederate General Robert E Lee began his retreat from Petersburg, Virginia, cavalry clashed with each other on April 3rd 1865 at the Battle of Namozine Church.

Confederate Cavalry performing as a rear guard for Robert E Lee’s retreating columns, blocked roads, slowing the pursuing Union Cavalry.  These units bought enough time for Confederate Major General Bushrod Johnson’s Division to get past the Namozine Church; however he took the wrong road, finding himself stuck at a bridge on the Deep Creek that was under water from flooding.  Confederate Major General WHF Rooney Lee sent a brigade of North Carolina cavalry to secure the road around the Namozine Church, so Johnson could move his troops back down the road and take the other route.

At about 9am on April 3rd 1865 one of General George Custer’s brigades under the command of Colonel William Wells attacked the deploying North Carolinians.  Thomas Custer, the brother of General Custer, jumped his horse over barricades put up by the Confederates, and captured 3 officers, 11 enlisted and the battle flag of the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry.  In an unsuccessful counter attack Confederate Brigadier General Rufus Barringer and Rooney Lee’s adjutant general Major JD Ferguson were captured.  When Johnson’s division arrived at the crossroads they were able to push Custer’s men from the field, and opened the way for the Confederate infantry to march on to Amelia Court House.

There were about 95 Union cavalry killed and wounded during the battle.  The Confederates reported only the 15 wounded in Johnson’s division, but there were about 350 captured by Custer’s cavalry.

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