HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, RESERVE CORPS,
Camp, near New Kent Court-House, Va., May 8, 1862.
MAJOR: The following are matters of interest connected with the engagement yesterday in the vicinity of Eltham's Landing:
On the 6th instant, at 12 m., I received intelligence that a portion of the enemy's fleet had anchored off West Point and was preparing to land troops. Observing the boats carefully, I thought they might contain from twelve to sixteen regiments. The landing commenced very soon after they anchored, and light troops were thrown out to scour the woods; these were not interfered with. The major-general commanding the Reserve Corps rode out and personally examined the ground and approaches and observed the fleet. Upon that he directed a change of position of the First Division, which was accordingly made, the troops bivouacking in order of battle. During the night I ascertained that artillery was being landed, perhaps one battery and several regiments, supposed to be one brigade.
Early on the 7th the major-general directed me to attack the enemy, who was extending his line of pickets, and drive his advance back to the cover of his gunboats, to prevent any interference with the march of the main column. Accordingly, I directed Brigadier-General Hood, commanding the Texas Brigade, to advance on the Brick House and Barhamsville road and attack, while Colonel Hampton, commanding Second Brigade, should detach the Legion infantry, and the Nineteenth Georgia to skirmish on our right, the Third Brigade being in reserve. they had hardly entered the timber when fire was opened. The woods were very dense and extensive. From the moment of entering, the enemy, though several time re-enforced, were steadily driven back by these brave troops. Two attempts were made to flank us in force-one on our left, repulsed with great vigor by the First Texas, directed in person by General Hood, and one on the right, beaten back by Colonel Hampton himself with the Legion infantry. The appearance of Brigadier General S. R. Anderson, with the Tennessee Brigade, sent forward by the major-general in support of our left, rendered that flank secure. The line-composed of the three Texas regiments (First, Fourth, and Fifth) under Brigadier-General Hood, and the Legion infantry, about 450 strong, under Lieutenant-Colonel Griffin, but personally directed by Colonel Hampton, the whole supported by General Anderson on the left and the Third Brigade on the right-had driven the enemy fairy before it for over 1 1/2 miles through a very dense forest, in which it was impossible to see over 30 or 40 yards. The coherence, discipline, and bravery of the troops were conspicuous. The fire of the enemy was heavy, but very high, which accounts for our small loss. That of my troops was deliberate and reserved, for, though engaged for four hours, they did not expend over 7 or 8 rounds.
At 12 m. the enemy were driven under the cover of their gunboats, which opened at random on the timber, but with no effect. Large numbers of their dead and wounded were left on the ground over which they were driven. While in this position one more effort was made by the enemy on our right, but speedily repulsed. I then ordered up Major Lee, with two rifled pieces, and Captain Reilly, with two Parrott (Manassas) guns, to occupy a bluff on the river and attempt to reach their transports. The battery was supported by the Sixth North Carolina, Colonel Pender, which had been posted all the morning in advance on our extreme right. The battery opened, but