Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lieutenant Copley Amory

Copley Amory, was born in Massachusetts and was appointed from Massachusetts.

Second Lieutenant 4th., cavalry, August 5, 1861.
First Lieutenant, October 17, 1862.
Resigned December 15, 1863.

No. 3. Report of Lieutenant Copley Amory, Fourth U. S. Cavalry.

HDQRS. SQUADRON FOURTH U. S. CAVALRY, Camp near Sedalia, Mo., December 29, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by Companies B, C, D, of the Fourth Regular Cavalry, under my command, at the action on the Black water River, at Milford, on the 19th December. I had reported with my three companies to General Jeff. C. Davis, and had left the town of Knobnoster some 3 miles behind us, when I heard the advance guard driving in the enemy's pickets about 1 mile from Blackwater River towards Knobnoster. My command had the head of the column,and,ordering it to take the gallop, we soon came up with General Davis, who gave the following order: "There they are; give it to them, boys." Immediately forming fours and then platoons, we charged across the prairie towards the timber, supposing the enemy to be there encamped, but observing no signs of them, I broke by fours, and riding at a sharp gallop soon passed through the mile of woods intervening between the prairie and the bridge.

On arriving at the open space before the river we observed a body of men on the opposite side. Having satisfied myself that they were the enemy defending the brigade, I sheltered my men as much as possible and ordered them to dismount. At this time and until after the crossing of the brigade the three companies were in the following order: 1st, my own, B; 2nd, Lieutenant Gordon's, D; 3rd, Company C, under Sergeant Neff. After giving them two volleys the enemy showed of confusion, and I gave the order to charge. My company (B), closely followed by the other two companies (D and C), gallantly dashed across the bridge. The enemy, terrified by the suddenness and boldness of the charge, broke end fled in two directions, one party taking the road to the right, closely pursued by my company (B), and the other party by the road to the left, followed by Lieutenant Gordon with D and C companies.

The party followed by Lieutenant Gordon led him directly to their camp, which neither of us had before seen. Immediately upon observing the enemy Lieutenant Gordon dismounted his men and delivered two volleys, which the enemy returned, wounding 8 men of Company D and one of Company C. And here I would state that the coolness and intrepidity of Lieutenant Gordon, whose courage was the theme of all present, were closely imitated by the two companies with him.

Before this, having concluded it useless to keep up the pursuit and having discovered the whereabouts of the main of the enemy, I had wheeled my company to go to the assistance of Lieutenant Gordon. On arriving on the ground I found that one of the companies of the First Iowa Cavalry had broken and were in confusion. I ordered them to hat, but could not stop them. Having extricated the companies I turned to find General Davis, but could not see him anywhere. Meeting with Major Torrence, of the Iowa cavalry, I asked where General Davis was to be found, but he could give me no information. I then said, "You are next in rank; why don't you take command and do something?" His reply was, "I am," but I received no order from him.

I then withdrew the three companies and formed them in line of battle opposite the enemy's camp, the five companies of Iowa cavalry forming on our left and about 200 yards in rear. At this point a flag of truce appeared, and setting out again in search of General Davis I found him on the left of our line. Pointing out to him the flag, I asked permission to go and meet it. He ordered me to do so. On coming up with the bearer of the flat I inquired of him what he desired. He informed me that he belonged to the Confederate Army, and wished to know what flag we fought under.

Having driven him the desired information he returned to his camp, while I reported to General Davis. The general then asked my opinion as to the feasibility of charging on the enemy's camp, and I gave it as my opinion that it would be madness to charge them through prairie-grass breast-high to a horse and then through thick timber, the enemy being posted behind trees, and evidently outnumbering us four to one, but that if he would order us to dismount and fight on foot something might be done. At any rate we were willing and ready to make the trial. After a few moments I received an order to take position half a mile on our right, for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the enemy. We did so, and remained there until the surrender, which soon followed.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Second Lieutenant, Fourth Cav., Commanding Squadron Fourth U. S. Cav.

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