Report of Lieutenant Colonel Josiah B. Park, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, of skirmish (May 18) near Kingston, Ga.
May 21, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with verbal order of the colonel commanding brigade, I reported to General Garrard, with Companies L, F. M, K, E, H, and B, numbering 284 men and 17 officers, at Woodland, about seven miles northwest of Kingston, Ga., at about 1 p. m. on 18th instant. The general directed me to proceed toward Kingston, ascertain what was there, and, if not meeting resistance too strong, to go into the place, sending Captain Kennedy, assistant adjutant-general, to direct me. I moved out with my command immediately, and after leaving our pickets three-quarters of a mile, came upon the enemy’s pickets. We drove them rapidly about two and a half miles, when we came to a road turning directly to the right; the enemy taking both roads, and being uncertain which led to Kingston, I left Company M to guard the one turning to the right, and proceeded with the balance of the command on the road straight forward. The Third Battalion, under Major Grant, was then about 300 yards in advance, Companies H and B deployed as skirmishers. Upon advancing, they immediately engaged the enemy, in vastly superior numbers, and almost without a moment’s notice I found myself outflanked and nearly surrounded. I directed Companies F and L, under Major Robbins, to charge a line of the enemy advancing rapidly on my left, which they did in gallant style, driving them over the hill. At the same time I withdrew the Third Battalion, forming into line about 200 yards to the rear. Major Robbins fell back a few yards and reformed, received the enemy again, and drove them back a second time, receiving a severe wound in the left arm, which rendered him incapable of retaining further command. Now the fighting became fierce and desperate, charge after charge received, and as often repulsed. I found it impossible to hold a given line longer than to deliver a single volley. In this manner we fought our way back five miles, contending with a brigade on our flanks and rear, and much of the time completely surrounded.
My casualties are: 3 officers wounded and 1 captured; enlisted men, killed, 3; wounded, 9; captured, 9; aggregate, 25. 34 horses killed, wounded, and missing. The enemy’s loss must have been severe; 5 were seen to fall at a single volley, and 7 others were seen to fall within a few yards of our lines. Colonel Earle, Second Alabama Cavalry, fell within a short distance of Colonel Wilder’s line.
It was impossible to note the gallantry of one officer more than another; all did their duty nobly, continually cheering on their men and restraining them from falling back in confusion.
I rejoined the command about 6 p. m.
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Fourth Michigan Cavalry.
Captain R. BURNS,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigadier, Second Cavalry Div.