Battle of Chamberlain Run

    In Their Own Words
    Battle of Chamberlain Run
    March 31, 1865
    1st N.C. Cavalry
    General W.H. Cheek
    Raleigh News-Observer-Chronicle
    Wednesday, January 3, 1894
    A Graphic Letter of the War
    We copy from the Henderson Gold Leaf, the following as showing at once the death rate of the war 
    and on what slender threads the story of state history hangs.  Eighty men killed and wounded in a 
    single skeleton regiment in a small cavalry fight.  And told only in a stray family letter.
    Among the eighty were, besides Major McLeod, a dozen or more from Mecklenburg.  Who can give 
    their names?  And who can tell the full story of the bloody fight at Chamberlain Run on March 31, 
    A few days ago, in looking over a lot of old papers and letters for the purpose of getting some 
    Confederate stamps for a friend, General W.H. Cheek found among others one which we asked 
    permission to publish.  It was a letter written to his wife immediately after the battle of Chamberlain 
    Run, about one mile west of Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia, in which engagement the First North 
    Carolina Cavalry acquitted themselves with such conspicuous gallantry.  The Battle of Five Forks at 
    the head of the run, was fought the next day by Pickett’s Division.  
    John and Als, mentioned in the letter, were our townsmen John T. Jones, brother of Mrs. Cheek, and 
    Als. Cheek, now living in Kentucky, brother of the writer.  The letter is brief and characteristic 
    of many written home from the field of action in those trying times, but it contains much.  It is well 
    to occasionally refresh our memories and call to mind the heroic deeds of the gallant North Carolina 
    soldiers by bringing to light such letters as these:
    1st N.C. Cavalry
    April 1, 1865
    My Dear Alice:
    We had a terrible fight yesterday.  I lost eighty men in my regiment.  Colonel Cowles was severely 
    wounded, Major McLeod slightly, Captain Dewey killed, Captain Coleman killed.  Thirteen other officers 
    were wounded, several of whom will die.  John and Als were not hurt.  Nearly all the brim of my hat was 
    shot off.  My horse (the one I lately bought) was shot twice and killed.  
    My regiment fought more gallantly than I ever knew it before.  We waded a creek waist deep, 75 yards 
    wide, under heavy fire and drove the enemy from an entrenched position.  Will give you full particulars 
    when I have more time.  
    General Lee complimented us in the highest terms.  The 13th Virginia was on my left and after the fight 
    gave me three of the most enthusiastic cheers.  Boots and saddles sounded.  
    Goodbye, darling.  Send word to ma that Als and I escaped unhurt.
    Your devoted
    Transcribed by Christine Spencer, September 2008

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