Fifty-first Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts kept up an incessant fire upon the rebels, who now had withdrawn their artillery and had commenced to retire in good order. The Sixth New Hampshire had steadily advanced in line to the left of the road, and when within about 200 yards poured in a most deadly volley, which completely demoralized the enemy and finished the battle. Our men were so completely fagged out by the intense heat and their long march that we could not pursue them. The men rested under arms in line of battle until about 10 o'clock p. m., when I ordered a return to our boats, having accomplished the principal object of the expedition, conveying the idea that the entire Burnside expedition was marching upon Norfolk.
Owing to the want of transportation I was compelled to leave some 16 of our most severely wounded men. Assistant Surgeon Warren, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, was left with the men. I sent a flag of truce the next day to ask that they might be returned to us, Commodore Rowan kindly volunteering to attend to it. We took only a few prisoners, some 10 or 15, most of whom belonged to the Third Georgia Regiment.
The Ninth New York suffered most severely, owing to their premature charge, our total loss in killed and wounded being about 90, some 60 belonging to that regiment.*
The officers and men of the several regiments all behaved with their usual gallantry and many are worthy of particular mention, and I presume the brigade and regimental commanders will do justice to their respective commands. I will forward their reports as soon as received.
The return march was made in perfect order, and few if any stragglers left behind. Considering that during the advance the weather was intensely hot and that on the return a severe rain rendered the roads very muddy, and that a portion of the command had to march 45 miles and the other 35 and fight a battle in the mean time, and that all this was accomplished in less than twenty-four hours, I think that the commanding general has every reason to be satisfied with his command.
I desire to return my thanks to Commodore Rowan and the officers and men under him for their untiring energy in disembarking and re-embarking my command, and also to Lieutenant Flusser for the gallant manner in which he assisted us by proceeding up the river and driving the enemy out of the woods along the banks. Colonel Hawkins, commanding the First [Fourth] Brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, commanding Second, both displayed conspicuous courage, as did also the regimental commanders. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark commanded the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Major Schall the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Lieutenant-Colonel Kimball the Ninth New York, Colonel Fairchild the Eighty-ninth New York, and Lieutenant-Colonel Griffin the Sixth New Hampshire. Captain Fearing, aide-de-camp to General Burnside, accompanied me as volunteer aide, and rendered efficient and gallant service; also Captain Ritchie, commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenants Gordon and Breed, of the Signal Corps. My own aides, Lieutenants Reno and Morris, behaved with their usual gallantry. As soon as the brigade and regimental reports are furnished I will forward them, together with a complete list of killed and wounded.
The enemy's loss was considerable, but they succeeded in carrying off most of their wounded. Several, however, were left on the field, one of who was a captain of the Third Georgia Regiment. The color-bearer of the Third Georgia Regiment was shot down by the Twenty-
* But see Addenda following.