consultation with Colonel Potter I deemed the object of the expedition had been gained in giving the enemy a severe lesson, and that it would be better to return to Washington rather than to go on to Pactolus, particularly as it would take some hours to make the bridges strong enough for the passage of the cavalry and artillery. I therefore ordered the infantry to recross, and returned to Washington, bringing the dead and wounded.
The battle lasted forty-five minutes, and the troops arrived at Washington at 8.30 p. m., having made a march of 18 miles in the heat of the day. During the march we constantly heard the Picket throwing shells a long way way on our left.
Our force consisted of eight companies of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment (Company D, Captain Prince, and Company C, Lieutenant Bell commanding, having been left at Washington), numbering about 430 men; two 12-pounder howitzers of the marine Artillery, Lieutenant W. B. Avery, manned by 12 men each, and Company I, of the Third New York Cavalry, Captain Jocknick, numbering 40 men.
The enemy's force must have been quite equal to our own to judge from the firing. From what information I could gain I estimated it at 450 infantry and 70 cavalry, under command of Colonel Singeltary, of the Forty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, now acting brigadier-general.
We have learned that information of our approach was conveyed to Colonel Singeltary by a man living on the road, so that he was bale to concentrate all of his force upon us. His position was a very superior one, which could easily have been defended against us by a small body had we not had artillery.
Our loss, considering the length of the action and the small number engaged, was severe, there having been in the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts 3 men killed, 3 mortally wounded, who have since died, 1 lieutenant and 1 man severely wounded, 1 captain and 3 men slightly wounded. In the Marine Artillery there was 1 man killed, 1 severely and 1 slightly wounded. The cavalry suffered no loss, as they were not able from the nature of the ground to be brought into action.
The enemy's loss must have been heavy, as we found 5 dead bodies and saw a large quantity of blood in every direction. Since the action I have heard rumors of a very large loss on their side, including the death of Colonel Singeltary, but I cannot trace them to any reliable source.
I regret to say that the wound of Lieutenant Horatio D. Jarvis, of Company A, is quite severe. He had been skillfully conducting the advance during the day, and I felt heavily the loss of so capable and energetic an officer. In the beginning of the affair Captain William F. Redding, of Company A, received a buck-shot in right wrist, but without leaving the field continued attending to his duties with his usual promptitude.
I desire to mention with the highest commendation the conduct of Lieutenant William B. Every, of the Marine Artillery, Colonel Howard. Placed in the midst of the hottest of the fire, he managed his battery with the greatest coolness and skill and contributed much to the success of the day. As I have said above, I think that but for his battery and the determination with which it was worked the enemy with a moderate amount of courage could have maintained their position. His men also deserve high praise for their courage and zeal. Of my own officers I am proud to say that they displayed the same and courage that have distinguished them heretofore.