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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 514 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

line of march after he had encamped, so as not to interrupt his progress, placed myself on his left flank, near Ashland.

It is proper to remark here that the commanding general had, on the occasion of my late expedition to the Pamunkey, imparted to me his design of bringing Jackson down upon the enemy's right flank and rear, and directed that I should examine the country with reference to its practicability for such a move. I therefore had studied the features of the country very thoroughly, and knew exactly how to conform my movements to Jackson's route. As that part of my former mission was confidential I made to mention of it in my former report, but it is not, I presume, out of place to remark here that the information obtained then and reported to him verbally convinced the commanding general that the enemy had no defensive works with reference to attack from that direction, the right bank of the Totopotomoy being unoccupied; that this forces were not disposed so as successfully to meet such an attack, and that the natural features of the country were favorable to such a descent.

General Jackson was placed in possession of all these facts. Having bivouacked near Ashland for the night, on the morning of the 26th -the Jeff. Davis Legion and Fourth Virginia Cavalry having joined me here from an advanced position of observation on South Anna, which effectually screened Jackson's movements from the enemy - my command swept down upon Jackson's left. Extending its observations as far as the Pamunkey River road, passing Taliaferro's Mill, where the enemy had a strong picket, which field at our approach, I reached General Jackson's line of march at the cross-roads at Dr. Shelton's in advance of his column. From Taliaferro's Mill to this point there was constant skirmishing between the enemy's pickets and my advance guard, Colonel Lee's (Company D, sharpshooters) First Cavalry, displaying the same courage and address which has already distinguished it on many occasions, killing and wounding several of the enemy without suffering any loss.

At Dr. Shelton's I awaited the arrival of General Jackson, sending a squadron in advance (Captain Irving, First Virginia Cavalry) to seize and hold the bridge at the Totopotomoy. The enemy, anticipating us, has torn up bridge and held the opposite bank and obstructed the road, without, however, making and determined stand. Captain W. W. Blacford, Corps of Engineers, assigned to duty with my command, set about repairing the bridge, and in half an hour, with the details furnished him, the bridge was ready.

Passing Pole Green Church, General Jackson's march led directly toward the crossing of Beaver Dam Creek, opposite Richardson's. Reaching that point, he bivouacked for the night and I disposed my command on both his flanks and rear, with five squadrons on picket, looking well toward Cold Harbor and Old Church. About sundown the enemy made his appearance near Jackson's flank, on the Old Church road, but a few rounds of shell put him to flight, and my pickets on that road were not disturbed during the night.

The next morning, General Jackson moving directly across Beaver Dam, I took a circuitous route to turn that stream, turning down, first, the Old Church road, both aiming for Old Cold Harbor, and directing my march so as to cover his left flank, he having formed at Beaver Dam a junction with the divisions which marched by way of Mechanicsville.

All day we were skirmishing with, killing and capturing, small detachments of the enemy's cavalry, mostly the Lancers, Colonel Rush.


Page 514 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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