War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0667 Chapter XXIII. RECONNAISSANCE TOWARD HANOVER C. H.

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[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH PROVISIONAL ARMY CORPS,

Cold Harbor, Va., May 24, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded. Under the circumstances I approved of the of the course pursued by Colonel Tyler. Since his return Colonel Warren, Fifth New York, and Captain Weeden, Rhode island Battery, have joined the command stationed at Old Church.

F. J. PORTER,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Numbers 2. Report of Colonel Richard H. Rush,

Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

CAMP AT OLD CHURCH,

May 24, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to your orders verbally given at the foot of the hill near Dr. Brokenbrough's, on the Hanover Court-House road, I proceeded in the direction of the Court-House with two companies of my regiment and an advance guard of 40 men, in all about 125 men. When I first left Hanovertown I rose a hill, passed through thick wood for three-quarters of a mile, and then emerged on an open cultivated meadow extending below and in front of us for nearly 2 1/2 miles, perfectly level, with hedges and trees in various lines. When we first descended from the wood into the meadow the road was much concealed by the trees on each side, but very soon we found ourselves in full view from the whole plain. With the previous information that we had received before I left your command to make this reconnaissance in regard to the strength of the enemy at Hanover Court-House and on the road previous to getting there I had to feel my way with great care.

At the point marked A on the sketch herewith forwarded I ascertained from the negroes that news of the approach of your whole column had been brought half an hour before, and that "old master" had at once gone down to the road and informed a rebel picket of 15 men (mounted), who was left at an angle of the road and sent off at full speed toward the wood as we appeared half a mile off. I sent 15 men in pursuit, following with 20 more at 200 yards, and we soon reached the wood. Word was here brought me from the front that the rebels, about 10 to 15, had just emerged again from this wood and were passing over an open space again on the other side. As soon as i got to this open space i halted my 20 men. and heard again from the front that in leaving the wood where I then was the rebels had been increased to from 35 to 50, who had passed rapidly over this open space of about 500 yards, where they were halted and some 12 to 20 of them dismounted, all fronting us, and as I heard there was a strong infantry picket soon to be met. I assumed this must be the place, as the cavalry at once halted in the wood, the edge of which on each side gave a dense cover to infantry that entirely commanded the road. My advance party of 15 having informed me of this state of things, and as we were then nearly 4 miles from Hanover Court-House, I deemed it of no use to attack this picket, as I had every chance of losing many men, and, at