Nance's shop, and thence across toward Charles City Court-House, so as to extend my left and keep a lookout toward Forge Bridge, by which route I was liable to be attacked in flank and rear by Stoneman, should he endeavor to form a junction by land with McClellan. I found Evelington Heights easily gained. A squadron in possession vacated without much hesitation, retreating up the road, the only route by which it could reach Westover, owing to the impassability of Herring Creek below Roland's Mill.
Colonel Martin was sent around farther to the left and the howitzer brought into action in the river road to fire upon the enemy's camp below. Judging from the great commotion and excitement caused below it must have had considerable effect.
We soon had prisoners from various corps and divisions, and from their statements, as well as those of citizens, I learned that the enemy's main body was there, but much reduced and demoralized. I kept the commanding general apprised of my movements, and I soon learned from him that Longstreet and Jackson were en route to my support. I held the ground from about 9 a.m. till 2 p.m., when the enemy had contrived to get one battery into position on this side the creek. The fire was, however, kept up until a body of infantry was found approaching by our right flank. I had no apprehension, however, as I felt sure Longstreet was near by, and although Pelham reported but two rounds of ammunition left, I held out, knowing how important it was to hold the ground till Longstreet arrived.
The enemy's infantry advanced and the battery kept up its fire. I just then learned that Longstreet had taken the wrong road and was then at Nance's shop, 6 or 7 miles off. Pelham fired his last round, and the sharpshooters, strongly posted in the skirt of woods bordering the plateau, exhausted every cartridge, but hat at last to retire; not, however, without teaching many a foeman the bitter lesson of death.
My command had been so cut off from sources of supply and so constantly engaged with the enemy that the abundant supply which it began, with on June 26 was entirely exhausted. I kept pickets at Bradley's store that night, and remained with my command on the west side of the creek near Phillips' farm. General Longstreet came up late in the evening; he had been led by his guide out of his proper route.
The next day, July 4, General Jackson's command drove in the enemy's advanced pickets. I pointed out the position of the enemy, now occupying, apparently in force,the plateau from which I shelled their camp the day before, and showed him the routes by which the plateau could be reached to the left, and submitted my plan for dispossessing the enemy and attacking his camp. This was subsequently laid before the commanding general. The enemy's position had been well reconnoitered by Blackford, of the Engineers, the day before from a close view, and farther on this day (July 4), demonstrating that his position was strong, difficult to reach except with rifle cannon, and completely flanked by gunboats; all which were powerful arguments, and no doubt had their due weight with the commanding general against renewing an attack thus far of unbroken success against a stronghold where the enemy had been re-enforced beyond a doubt. The operations of my own extended farther to the left, except one regiment (Cobb Legion Cavalry) which was directed to follow up the enemy's rear on the river road, and First North Carolina Cavalry, which remained in reserve near Phillips' farm.
The remainder of July 4 and 5 were spent in reconnoitering and watching the river.