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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 810 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

to move up the swamp and find a pathway (which my guide informed me was about half a mile distant), cross over, if possible, and reconnoiter the enemy's position, and give me a speedy report of his observation. I also ordered Colonel Doles, whose regiment (the Fourth Georgia) was in advance, to send down a strong party below the road and attempt a crossing, which I learned from the guide was practicable about three-fourths of a mile below the bridge. In the mean time I had advanced my line of skirmishers upon to the margin of the swamp, here about half a mile wide, driving the enemy's pickets before us. In this advance we captured two of the enemy's pickets, who informed me that the main body of the enemy had left their camp on the opposite side of the swamp (north fork), and were in rapid retreat toward White Oak Bridge (across the main swamp), then about 6 miles distant.

Lieutenant Luckie having returned, and the result of his reconnaissance confirming the prisoner's statement, I ordered the column forward, and, driving the pickets and rear guard of the enemy before us, we rushed across the broken bridge, and, ascending a hill on the opposite side, found ourselves in the deserted camp of the enemy. Here we captured several prisoners and a large quantity of small-arms, tents, camp equipage, commissary and quartermaster's stores, which in their haste the enemy had failed to destroy. We also captured a large number of intrenching tools and a very considerable quantity of medical stores. Leaving a small guard here to take charge of the prisoners and to protect the public property in the camp I passed on, and for three hours my march lay through a succession of the enemy's camp, in all of which immense quantities of small-arms were found, with considerable amounts of commissary and quartermaster's stores. All along the route of the fleeing foe was strewed with guns, knapsacks, cartridge boxes, clothing, and ammunition. Moving rapidly forward I captured quite a large number of prisoners, but owing to some misunderstanding of orders they were moved off to Richmond in the evening without proper lists having been retained. I am, consequently, unable to give you the exact numbers.

At 2.30 p.m. I reached White Oak Bridge, when I met General Jackson, who, with his command, had just arrived. I reported to him for orders, and he instructed me to move along up the swamp and, if possible, effect a crossing, the enemy being in large force and obstinately disputing the passage over White Oak Bridge. In obedience to these instructions I retraced my steps for about 1 mile, when, through the assistance of my guide, I discovered a crossing over the swamp, which had evidently been used by a portion of the enemy's forces. I threw forward Captain Greer's company (C), of the Third Georgia Regiment, and Captain Armistead's company (C),* of the First Louisiana Regiment, as skirmishers on the right and left of the road, respectively, and moved my column on. Accompanying my line of skirmishers, I soon discovered that the enemy, after crossing, had destroyed the bridge, and had completely blockaded the road through the swamp by felling trees in and across it. Pushing the skirmishers through the creek and over the net-work of fallen timber I soon encountered the pickets of the enemy, posted in the margin of the swamp and protected by a rail fence and ditch in front. My line of skirmishers steadily advanced, and, driving the enemy's pickets from their position, took possession of it. From this point I was enabled to make a good reconnaissance of the enemy's position and force. I ascertained that the road debouched

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*Under command of Lieutenant J. A. Lamkin, of Company H, same regiment.

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Page 810 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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