railroad trains captured. Our loss amounted to 53 killed, 344 wounded and missing.*
The force encountered and defeated was General Branch's division of North Carolina and Georgia troops, supposed to have been some 9,000 strong. Their camp at Hanover Court-House was taken and destroyed.
Having reason to believe that General Anderson, with a strong force, was still at Ashland, I ordered General Sykes' division of regulars to move on the 28th from New Bridge toward Hanover
Court-House, to be in position to support General Porter. They reached a point within 3 miles of Hanover Court-House, and remained there until the evening of the 29th, when they returned to their original camp.
On the 28th General Stoneman's command of cavalry, horse artillery, and two regiments of infantry were also placed under General Porter's orders.
On the same day I visited Hanover Court-House, whence I sent the following dispatch:
HANOVER COURT-HOUSE, May 28-2 p.m.
Porter's action of yesterday was truly a glorious victory. Too much credit cannot be given to his magnificent and its accomplished leader. The rout of the rebels was complete - not a defeat, but a complete rout. Prisoners are constantly coming in; two companies have this moment arrived, with excellent arms.
There is no doubt that the enemy are concentrating everything on Richmond. I will do not best to cut off Jackson, but am doubtful whether I can.
It is the policy and duty of the Government to send me by water all the well-drilled troops available. I am confident that Washington is in no danger. Engines and cars in large number have been sent up to bring down Jackson's command. I may not be able to cut them off, but will try. We have cut all but the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad. The real issue is in the battle about to be fought in front of Richmond. All our available troops should be collected here-not raw regiment, but the well-drilled troops. It cannot be ignored that a desperate battle is before us. If any regiments of good troops remain unemployed it will be in irreparable fault committed.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
Having ascertained the state of affairs, instructions were given for the operations of the following day.
On the 28th a party under Major Williams, Sixth U. S. Cavalry, destroyed the common-road bridges over the Pamunkey and the Virginia Central Railroad bridge over the South Anna.
On the 29th he destroyed the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad Bridge over the South Anna and the turnpike bridge over the same stream.
On the same day, and mainly to cover the movement of Major Williams, General Emory moved a column of cavalry toward Ashland from Hanover Court-House. The advance of this column under Captain Chambliss, Fifth U. S. Cavalry, entered Ashland, driving out a party of the enemy, destroyed the railroad bridge over Stony Creek, and broke up the railroad and telegraphed.
Another column of all arms, under Colonel Warren, was sent on the same day by the direct road to Ashland, and entered it shortly after General Emory's column had retired, capturing a small party there.
General Stoneman on the same day moved on Ashland by Peake's Station, covering well the movements of the other columns.
*But see revised statement, p.685.