May 26, 1914
Where Gen. C. A. Reed Lost His Arm Just 50 Years Ago
Reminiscences of Gen. C. A. Reed of Anderson, S. C., of the battle of Hawes’ Shop, Va., which was fought on the 28th of May, 1864,and was declared by Gen. Wade Hampton of the southern army and Gen. Sheridan of the union forces, as the most “severe cavalry fighting of the war. The engagement lasted from about 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the union forces losing about three to our one killed and wounded,”says Gen. Reed. Following is the sketch he has prepared.
Having left camp on May 27th on a scouting expedition under charge of Lieut. Hinson of Co. B, 7th S. C. Cavalry, and after proceeding a few miles we arrived at a forked road where our commander divided the squad of men, he taking the remaining four under charge of Sergeant Lawton, out the other road with orders to meet him at Old Church, several miles away. Our party camped the night in an oak grove and during the still hours of the night could hear bugles, sounding in the distance and what appeared to be tramping of horses and men.
We slept but little, and at early dawn, started on our way, in direction of the noises heard on the previous night. We had not proceeded more than two miles when we [were] warned by a woman, whose home we were passing, that we had better not go on, as there was accompany of “Yankee Cavalry,” in the woods just ahead. We did not see them however, and started on our way, but had not gone far until a number of soldiers appeared in the road ahead and ordered us to surrender.
As we were not inclined to be captured we quickly turned our horses and left at full speed, and it appeared as if fifty guns were fired at us and we could hear the “zip” of the bullets, but luckily none of us were hit. We discovered where Gen. Wickham’s cavalry brigade was in camp a few miles away.
We reported what had occurred and immediately the bugle call was sounded and quickly a force of cavalry was on the march to meet the enemy and soon Wickham’s and Rosser’s brigades were advancing to battle.
The 4th S. C. Cavalry was also advanced and our little party realizing that we could not obey orders and meet Lieut. Hinson at Old Church unless we whipped the Yankees out of our way, decided to go into the fight with Capt. J.C. Calhoun’s company of the 4th Regiment, which we did and our forces pressed Sheridan’s Cavalry back for two miles, when they were supported by Grant’s infantry, and there we halted, and the firing was intense.
My gun, a breech loader, had got hot from frequent firing and after my last shot as I was reloading the gun by inserting a cartridge in the chamber, I was struck by a minie ball, which went through my left wrist severing the artery and entered the palm of my right hand, going through about four inches of the wrist joint, which wound rendered necessary the amputation of my right hand, thus severing my connection with my comrades and friends and ending my active war experience.
The last day of our state reunion, the 28th of May, will be the 50th anniversary of this battle.
[Note: C. A. Reed was a private in the 7th SC Cavalry. Not sure where the probably honorary title of General comes from.]
[Transcribed by: Sharon Strout]