Charleston Light Dragoons
Co. K 4th Regt. So. Ca. Cavalry
Butler's Brigade Hampton's Division
Thank God for His proserving mercy that I am spared to write you. Since my arrival out here I have been in one continuous state of excitement. Being in Butler's Brigade has been the worse position and command the 4th Regt. could have been placed; he is a brave and dashing General but very reckless. On the 30th May we were thrown against the Enemy two miles from the Central Road, we fought them for some four hours when it was discovered to be the left wing of Grant's Army. We were ordered to face back after being worsted with as overwhelming force, the Regiment suffered very much, my Company was badly cut up losing some of our best officers and men. Much to be regretted the no doubt death of Dr. Jas. W. Ohear who was much beloved by all who knew him, and of our privates. Frank Middleton supposed to be killed. "Alex" Robertson killed as he was going into Battle. Arthur Robinson and Sergeant Miles, also, and many missing no doubt captured. It was an awful fight and dreadful to think of. I was fortunate on that day to be a Horse holder. Was not in the fight but under the Sheltering. No one can imagine what the war is unless being here. It appears to have just begun with me. On Monday June 1st we were thrown again against the Enimy at Cold (Cool he has it) Harbor. Butler threw his Brigade in now knowing what force he had to contend with. We fought desperately but they were using us up fast; after fighting for some hours we were ordered to retreat then came the worse. many got shot while retreating. I myself was almost overcome. I could hardly breathe and Bullets flying and cutting close around me and then the distance so long before we could get to our Horses. I thought at one time to secrete (?) myself from the Bullets and let them take me
Items in () inserted by my relative who typed a draft from the original letter.
The action discussed is Haw’s Shop, one of the first and toughest actions in Northern Virginia for the Charleston Light Dragoons or Company K of the Fourth South Carolina Cavalry. The losses were heavy for the Dragoons and the deaths of most of the named are well covered in Edward Well’s little book the Charleston Light Dragoons, pages 42-47. Great fun was made of the dress of the new unit up from Charleston prior to the engagement, but they did well, and were quickly accepted by the old time troopers. Well's speaks of the horse holders in the history of the dragoons.
Dr. J.W. O’hear – This is a probably a copy error, Lt. J.W. O’Hear was detached and killed in action at Haw’s Shop. – Listed on Monument at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S.C. – Junior Second Lieutenant at time of muster into Confederate Service, March, !863 –O’Hear, J.W., Killed in Action, 5/28/64, Haw’s Shop, Second Lieutenant, Company K, Fourth South Carolina, Listed in the Roll of Honor (K)
Frank Middleton – Private F.K. Middleton – Listed on Monument at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S.C. – Private at time of muster into Confederate Service. – Middleton, Francis K., Killed in Action, 5/30/64, Haw’s Shop, Virginia, Private Company K, Fourth South Carolina, Buried Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S.C., Listed in the Roll of Honor (K)
Alex Robertson - Private Alexander Robertson Jr. – Listed on Monument at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleson, S.C. – Private at time of muster into Confederate Service. -
Arthur Robinson – Private at time of muster into Confederate Service- Robinson, Arthur, Killed in Action, 5/28/64, Haw’s Shop, Virginia, Corporal, Company K, Second South Carolina Cavalry, 2nd P.C., Charleston, S.C., Roll of Honor (K).
Sergeant Miles – J.A. Miles Second Corporal at time of Muster into Confederate Service – J. Allen Miles, Killed in Action, 5/28/64, Haw’s Shop Virginia, Sergeant, Company K, Second South Carolina Cavalry, Roll of Honor (K)- Probably buried Magnolia Cemetery Charleston. This is not confirmed.
E.C. Holland was private at the time of the units muster into Confederate Service. For more information on the fight at Haw’s Shop and the Confederate Service of the Charleston Light Dragoons, See Edward Well’s book The Charleston Light Dragoons and his book Hampton and his Cavalry in 1864. Also see Butler’s Brigade by Boylston.
Thank the donor of this letter.
To go to the Fourth South Carolina Cavalry Page